Category Archives: Medical Illness Environmental Home Testing

EMF Testing Indoor Air Quality Radon Gas Testing: 214.912.4691 Dallas – Houston – Austin – Fort Worth

Powerline Home Safe Distance Cell Phone RF Surveys

Cell Tower Site on High Voltage Power Line near homes in residential area in North Dallas – EMF Testing and Surveys

EMF Testing / Magnetic Field Survey & Safe Distance Measurement Services

EMF testing for those concerned about living near powerlines and feeders is available for commercial clients and limited residential with reports that range from verbal to complete reports with photo documentation and graphics. We also provide consultation on viable strategies and products for EMF protection. We travel all over Texas and cities in adjacent states including Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

RF (Radio Frequency) Scans and Evaluations – Maximum Permissible Exposure (MPE)

We test RF energy for frequency and amplitude in order to find sources and evaluate safety with respect to FCC regulatory, compliance and precautionary guidelines, and to determine potential interference issues between wireless routers, cell phone repeaters / boosters, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems, and wireless microphone / audio / video data systems.

Magnetic / Electric / RF & EMF Shielding Consultations including proper grounding

If you have an issue with electromagnetic energy that is either a safety issue or causes equipment interference, we are fully qualified to assess, troubleshoot and make sound recommendations to fix or mitigate the situation.

Radon Gas Measurements & Surveys (Short / Long Term Testing)

With a background in radon and radiation safety, we are capable of evaluating and reporting on radon gas levels, how they compare with EPA standards and whether a mitigation solution is called for.

EMF Testing for Electrical Wiring Issues Indicated by Excessive EMF Fields

Whether you believe in the safety hazards of EMF or not, the most common source of high EMF fields inside the home is improper wiring which fails to conform to current NEC code. ScanTech can detect and direct repairs on electrical wiring that manifests as an abnormal magnetic field.

Preliminary Construction Surveys / Property Transfer Phase I Environmental Site Due Diligence Survey testing regarding Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) – EMF Consultation for Safety and potential EMI – Radon Testing for Multi-Family Dwellings and Commercial Buildings.

We are often called out to site before a structure or complex is erected in order to survey and communicate any possible issues and the potential impact of nearby power lines, substations, transformers, cell towers and other EMF/RF generating sources. We also make construction recommendations for minimizing electromagnetic field emissions for safety and electromagnetic Interference concerns with sensitive manufacturing and research equipment.

Indoor air quality testing for VOC levels regarding Certificate of Occupancy permits according to City of Dallas Green Ordinances. Also known as the 804.2 Post-Construction, Pre-Occupancy Baseline IAQ Testing which is a 4 hour test for 500 uG / m^3 or less of VOCs.

Magnetized & Radiation Contaminated Metals, Stone and Imported Products

ScanTech has been in the radiation survey business for over 10 years and is routinely called upon to investigate cases of suspected radioactive contamination and magnetized ferrous metals which can cause unusual issues. Our instrumentation includes several Geiger counters with capable of detecting Alpha and Beta particle emissions, X-Rays and includes specialized Gamma radiation scintillation detectors.

Weak Cell Phone Signal Reception Issues & Wireless LAN Problems / RFID Interference

Weak Cellular Phone (including 2G / 3G / 4G LTE) & Wireless Strength Measurements with consulting for correction / mitigation in commercial buildings, residential and multifamily properties with poor coverage, slow data rates and dropped calls for all major telecom and communications carriers including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T for smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc. Radio Frequency Identification system troubleshooting and interference issues investigated. We also perform FCC RF Compliance surveys for MPE (Maximum Permissible Exposure) including rooftop antenna installations.

Implanted Biomedical Device EMF / EMI Measurement Compliance Surveys and Testing for Patient Safety

Medical Device Compliance Testing (Pacemakers, Implantable Defibrillators, ICD’s etc. – Medtronics, St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, Mortara) for individuals returning to work or home after implant surgery to identify potential hazards from AC/DC Magnetic and Electric Fields, Microwaves, RF and general EMI (Electromagnetic Interference).

Hospital Infant Anti-Abduction Security Systems

ScanTech troubleshoots RFID integrated systems designed to protect neonatal care facilities that employ systems such as Hugs by Stanley Healthcare and MyChild by McRoberts Security Technologies.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Testing, Consulting And Evaluation for Commercial, Industrial and Biomedical Companies / Applications / Clients

We have the equipment to determine the sheet resistance of ESD flooring material and if anti-static grounding is working as well as the ability to identify troublesome materials and processes which can cause equipment malfunction and electric shock / fire / explosion hazards. We can also measure relative air ion counts, humidity and the direct DC static voltage on surfaces (positive or negative) up to 30,000 V to determine which objects in the environment may be damaging your static sensitive equipment.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Surveys to Determine Relative Air Cleanliness PM2.5 / PM10 / HEPA Filtration Efficiency / Formaldehyde / VOC / CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) / O2 Oxygen % Concentration & Contamination for Commercial Building and Industrial / Occupational Atmosphere Evaluations with expertise in Nanotoxicology and Medical Environmental Illness Testing

We have time based datalogging air laser analysis available to characterize particulate matter such as small particle contaminants (down to 0.5 microns such as bacteria) and large particle counts (2.5 um and larger) for potential pollen, dust and mold detection which are also known as RSPs. (Respirable Suspended Particles) We can also check for formaldehyde concentrations and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) levels from outgassing materials such as pressed wood flooring or glues and other binders.

Elevated CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels are indicative of Sick Building Syndrome and poor air exchange characteristics in a structure.

New nanomaterials on the market have raised concerns about the potential toxic effects of nanoparticles (such as carbon nanotubes, titanium dioxide, silver NPs, etc.) in particulate, aerosol, aqueous forms and their in-vivo effects.

Commercial, industrial, occupational health and limited residential applications.

OSHA Sound / Noise Level Surveys for Safety Audits

Sound (Commercial) & Industrial Safety field surveys and measurement including for acoustic OSHA sound and STC (Sound Transmission Class) noise levels / ordinances / testing (meeting ANSI & IEC Type 2 standards) to determine compliance and evaluate potential issues with excessive or disruptive noise.

Photometric Glare & Illumination (Lighting Level) Surveys for Safety, OSHA and City Ordinance Compliance

Photometric mapping to identify poor / insufficient / excessive illumination, security camera glare, ATM lighting security assessments, ADA lighting requirements / compliance, and privacy. Many cities have enacted ordinances which limit the amount of light emanating at the property line at night in foot candles. (fc) We can also measure lighting flicker rates which can cause headaches and other performance issues as well as evaluate possible disruption of circadian rhythms which lead to insomnia and lack of restful REM sleep.

Metallurgical Analysis & Consulting

Materials analysis for ferrous / non-ferrous metals / alloys. Tools and tool steel quality evaluations for carbon content. Also magnetic / RF / electric shielding capability, corrosion resistance, heat resistance, degree of temper, quench methods, elasticity, weathering, and electrical quality consulting. Metamaterial composite research for nanotechnology, biomedical, and exotic applications. (graphene, nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, nanodiamond, etc.) Radioactivity testing for scrap metal or other suspected products.

Formaldehyde: Indoor Air Quality Pollutant and Testing


Formaldehyde Testing Dallas – Fort Worth

ScanTech offers selective testing of indoor formaldehyde testing in both residential and commercial buildings in the Dallas – Ft. Worth region.

Formaldehyde (Chemical formula CH2O and also known as Methanal) is a colorless, water soluble gas at room temperature with a pungent, irritating odor at less than 1 part per million. (1 ppm – and detectable as low as 0.83 ppm) It is an inexpensive chemical with excellent bonding properties produced in high volume throughout the world. A major use is in the fabrication of urea-formaldehyde (UF) resins used primarily as adhesives when making plywood, particleboard and fiberboard. In the 1970’s it was a component of UF foam insulation in sidewalls until it was banned in 1982 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission because they found levels as high as 4 ppm. (but the ban was later overturned)

Due to it’s very low boiling point of -19 Celsius, formaldehyde is technically a VVOC (Very Volatile Organic Compound) and has very strong chemical and photo-chemical reactivity. It is commercially available as formalin which contains 38% formaldehyde and 6% – 15 % methanol.

Many common household cleaning agents contain formaldehyde and other sources include cigarette smoke and the combustion byproducts of gas / wood stoves and unvented space heaters such as kerosene heaters. It can also be found in paper products such as facial tissues, paper towels and grocery bags.

In general, emission or outgassing rates of formaldehyde increase with temperature, humidity, wood moisture content and decreased formaldehyde in the air. (due to passive diffusion) Generally, some remediation can be found by decreasing humidity and temperature, sealing materials with vinyl wallpaper or non-permeable paint and increasing ventilation. (air exchange rates)

Plywood is composed of several thin sheets of wood glued together with UF copolymeric resin which originally had a high HCHO to urea ratio of 1.5 to 1 to ensure adequate chemical cross-linking of all primary and secondary amino groups. Because the excess HCHO outgasses significantly and subsequently caused health complaints, this ratio was reduced to 1.05 to 1. Particleboard (compressed wood shavings mixed with UF resins at high temperatures) can emit formaldehyde continuously for comparatively long times; from several months to several years. Medium density fiberboard (MDF) was found to be the highest emitter of formaldehyde. Elevated levels are more likely to be found in newer homes with pressed wood materials such as flooring lumber mixed with the UF resin.

UF wood adhesives have excellent bonding performance, but are somewhat chemically unstable and release monomeric formaldehyde due to hydrolysis of the methyol end groups and sometimes the methylene bridges themselves. This means that hydrolytic decomposition and outgassing of HCHO is dependent on moisture levels, so UF-bonded wood products are primarily for indoor use where humidity levels are typically controlled.

Emissions do tend to decrease with time as the materials out-gas, age and cure. It is also used in the production of urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. (UFFI)

While there are several other sources of formaldehyde such as wood and forest fires, cigarette smoke, motor vehicle combustion, and decomposition of methane by sunlight and oxygen, etc. indoor levels are generally higher than outdoor levels. (10 – 20 parts per billion or 0.010 ppm – 0.020 ppm but may reach levels of 50 ppb in areas with significant photochemistry / smog )

Formaldehyde Molecule

Formaldehyde Molecule

Formaldehyde is also produced in the human body in small amounts as it is a metabolic byproduct of drinking alcohol (ethanol) among other chemical pathways. But the amount is relatively small and rapidly broken down into formic acid.

Individual sensitivity to formaldehyde varies, but from 10 – 20 % of the population appears to be highly sensitive to relatively low concentrations. This may be a result of TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compound) synergy with other pollutants. The principle symptoms experienced are irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, dry facial skin and asthma like symptoms. (difficulty breathing, constriction of the bronchial tubes) Higher concentrations may even lead to headaches, fatigue, insomnia, nausea, unnatural thirst, menstrual irregularities, epistaxis, (nosebleed) coughing, chest / abdominal pain, and rapid heartbeat. (tachycardia)

Allergic dermatitis may occur from skin contact. There are also neurological-like symptoms in some, (including depression) with the chance of potential sensitization and even upper respiratory system cancers. There is some controversy about the cancer causing / carcinogenic effects with some evidence showing that risk only substantially increases at very high exposure levels such as in occupations which deal directly with formaldehyde such as embalmers and anatomists. But formaldehyde has been shown to be genotoxic in cell cultures which causes damage through DNA cross-linking, single strand breaks and chromosome aberrations which indicate that HCHO is mutagenic as well.

Regardless in testing, levels as low as 0.25 ppm (which is below the detectable odor threshold) significant eye and throat discomfort increases in frequency. Chronic bronchitis and asthma are more prevalent in children in homes with HCHO levels in the 0.06 – 0.12 ppm with a 22% decrement between the two values.

Testing Particulate Matter and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Respirable Suspended Particles (RSP) are particles or fibers in the air that are small enough to be inhaled. Particles can exist in a number of states including solids, liquids, a combination of the two. Particulate matter that is either inherently organic life (such as viruses or bacteria) or are given off by biological life (such as mold spores, pieces of fungi, pollen, plant fibers, etc.) are what is known as bioaerosols.

There is another class of compounds which are chemicals released by biological organisms known as Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds or MVOCs. These are typically low molecular weight chemicals which have a high vapor pressure so they tend to remain in the air long enough to be detected and/or breathed in. Often they are responsible for odors that result from bacterial / toxic black mold growth or other primary/secondary metabolic byproducts of microorganisms.

In general, particles of 10 um (microns) or greater in diameter will tend to get caught in the mucous membranes of the nose before they have a chance to settle in the lungs. But particles between 2.5 um and 10 um (known as PM10 which is short for Particulate Matter 10 um) can migrate to tissues of the upper respiratory tract where they can cause health issues depending on the nature and the concentration of the contamination. Particles smaller than 2.5 um (known as PM2.5) can actually penetrate the alveoli, or small air sacs of the lungs and enter the blood stream.

The particle counter used by ScanTech measures both small (0.5 – 2.5 um) and large (2.5 – 10 um) particles to warn of potential hazards in the air you breathe.

Particle Size Penetration Respiratory System

The smaller the particles, the deeper they penetrate into the respiratory system


Radon Gas Testing in Dallas / Fort Worth and Texas: More Critical For Home Safety Than You Think

Radon Gas Home Inspections in Dallas Texas    Radon Gas A Home Danger in Dallas

20,000+ Lung Cancer Deaths Annually in the United States

I had another radon gas inspection job in Garland recently and a remark by one of the interested parties got me to thinking. This was relayed by a third party, but I believe the statement was something along the lines of: “Texas homes do not have a radon problem” which I know to be patently false as I have found homes that tested beyond the EPA action limit of 4 picoCuries/liter including MINE. (I have measured 4.9 – 8.0 pCi/L in the Lake Highlands area which is equal to a pack of cigarettes a day) I have also personally been to several residences that had radon mitigation systems in place, and when they were turned off, the levels went back into the danger zone.

So how do myths and misinformation like this get perpetuated? Radon is a more common issue in other parts of the United States and tends to be more detectable in homes with basements, (as radon is heavier than air) but it is common enough in the North Texas region to be worth checking as a part of indoor air quality testing in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The number of homes in the Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties exceed the EPA action limit 5 – 10 % of the time which IS statistically significant; up to 1 out of 10 homes. Furthermore if you add in the number of homes which are marginal (2.0 – 3.9 picoCuries/Liter) as radon gas concentrations vary throughout the day, year, etc. then the number of potentially affected homes in North Texas is closer to 16 – 24 %.

Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a lower limit than the EPA with the mitigation safety limit set at 2.7 pCi/L versus the higher limit of 4.0 pCi/L by the Environmental Protection Agency. And there is NO SAFE LIMIT of radon gas, any amount is bad, but you can’t get away from it entirely as even outdoor levels are typically 0.3 pCi/L and average indoor is 1.1 – 1.3 pCi/L.

So how dangerous is radon gas? Here is a quick risk comparison by the EPA:

Radon Gas Risk Statistics

Radon Gas Risk Statistics

This graph shows only 15,000 deaths annually, (the lower number is because the stats are derived from 1986 data quoted by Environmental Science Technology Vol 24 pp. 774 – 1990)  but a more recent EPA report (2014) shows closer to an estimated 20,000+ lung cancer deaths annually due to radon – 2nd only to smoking in direct cause – which is actually higher than the fatalities caused by drunk driving in which a great deal of energy has been focused on in recent years.

The problem with radon gas is that it is invisible, silent, and much harder to track than the erratic, weaving driving patterns of an inebriated driver. Couple this with a mythologies like: “Texas homes don’t have radon” or “You need to have a basement for radon to be an issue” and this becomes a significantly overlooked risk and safety factor that is relatively easy to test for and not necessarily that expensive to correct.

How does radon gas do it’s damage? By the emission of inhaled alpha particles that get into the lungs and whose ionizing radiation damages cell DNA. This mechanism works by attacking DNA molecules within the cells to form free radical ions, or changes the molecules themselves into excited molecules that can form biochemical pathways to cancer.

Radon Gas Inhaled Lung Damage Alpha Radiation

Radon Lung Damage Alpha Radiation

So even if your home has no basement (very few residences in Texas do) then why be concerned? Because the gas can still seep in through cracks in the foundation or gaps in a pier and beam construction. (you don’t need a basement to have a radon issue)

Radon Gas Home Inspection in Dallas / Ft. Worth to find potentially unsafe levels of radioactivity due to these various sources of entry

Radon Gas Home Inspection in Dallas / Ft. Worth to find potentially unsafe levels of radioactivity due to these various sources of entry

The solution is to first retest to make sure that the radon levels are consistently high enough to warrant attention and if so, proper ventilation is designed and installed by a professional radon mitigator, and then the residence retested to make sure that the system is working. Incidentally, ScanTech does no mitigation as we consider it a potential conflict of interest.

But for a prospective homeowner who is interested in a property, it is important to get the radon checked as soon as possible once you are inside the option period. The reason why is because of the time delays in deploying the kits, waiting the 48 – 96 hours for the kits to develop, transit time to the lab and the radon lab processing / reporting time. This means a dead minimum of 4 days under IDEAL circumstances with rush fees and hand trucking the kits in to the lab. Otherwise, it can take up to over a week which can easily exceed the standard 10 day option period.

ScanTech does have the ability to check the radon levels with a special digital tester that can get results much more quickly (in as little as 1 – 2 days after deployment) with the same level of accuracy as the activated charcoal radon test kits described above and it is less expensive when comparing a return trip to retrieve the device and interpret the results versus a return trip for the charcoal kits.

The charcoal kit route is more feasible if the testing is not as time sensitive and/or the client is willing to either mail or hand carry the kits into the radon testing lab itself located in Dallas County.


RADON FAQ PAGE for Dallas / Fort Worth & Surrounding Counties

DNA Damage in the Cell and Mechanisms of Cancer: A Quick Overview Part I

EMF causes cancer. RF causes cancer. Smart meters cause cancer. Cell phones cause cancer.

Are these statements true and if so, how exactly do they work to cause malfunctions in cell replication? This is the science of etiology, or the causation mechanism of imbalance and disease including cancer.

Broken Chromosomes (at arrow points)

Broken Chromosomes (at arrow points)

First, we have to understand how cancer can arise. Since there are around 130 different types of cancer each with a different metabolic and chemical pathway, it is beyond the scope of this website to address them all in detail. But some underlying themes regarding all cancers are:

1) The abnormal growth and replication of a single damaged cancerous cell through several stages into a malignant tumor which (if untreated) may metastasize and spread throughout the body.

2) Cell damage leading to cancer comes from a variety and / or combination of factors including genetic predispositions and environmental factors.

3) Environmental factors account for most (90% +) of all cancers and include air pollution, ionizing radiation, (including radon gas) carcinogenic chemicals, bacteria, viruses, tobacco use, diet and a lack of exercise. (lifestyle) Your body and the cells within it are constantly repairing damage from these conditions. This in combination with genetic predispositions determine the “tipping point” at which a rogue cell escapes or overruns the body’s ability to halt a cancerous cell as illustrated below:

DNA Damage Mechanisms and Repair with regard to Cancer: An Overview

DNA Damage Mechanisms and Repair with regard to Cancer: An Overview

BTW, exogenous damage means “from outside” while endogenous damage comes from chemical processes generated by the body.

4) It can be impossible to tell exactly what caused a particular cancer, as most cancers have more than one possible instigating agent. But in some cases, certain causes are more likely than others.

Some Carcinogens and Linked Cancers

Some Carcinogens and Linked Cancers

A DNA adduct is a part of the DNA molecule which is covalently bonded with a carcinogenic molecule. Notice that there is more than one type of carcinogen that could be responsible for liver cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer. One carcinogen is found in Chinese herbs, while leukemia can also be induced by chemotherapy for other cancers. As this table illustrates, Western and Eastern medicine are not perfect.

The World Health Organization lists both ionizing radiation (such as UV or Ultraviolet Light) as being a carcinogen and NON-IONIZING radiation (which would include EMF, RF, Cell Phones, Smart Meters, Microwaves, etc.) as being a POSSIBLE carcinogen though the mechanism through which that could happen is not known or proven.

As an aside, the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation is that ionizing radiation is a photon/electromagnetic wave with enough energy to knock electrons off of an atom (typically in the outer valence shell) so that a charged particle called an “ion” is created. The line between the two types is typically found in wavelengths of radiation shorter than 400 nm (nanometers) or in frequency terms around 700 THz. (Terahertz) At the frequency ranges of ionizing radiation or higher, it is common to express the photon or electromagnetic wave in terms of energy, which at the aforementioned boundary is slightly over 3 eV. (electron Volts)

Ionization of an Atom by Displacement of an Electron from a Radiation Event

Ionization of an Atom by Displacement of an Electron from a Radiation Event

So back to the original question – could EMF cause damage to a cell in such a way that cancer can arise? To answer that, we have to look at actual DNA damage in more detail which will be featured in the next post.

DNA Damage in the Cell and Mechanisms of Cancer: A Quick Overview Part II

DNA can be damaged in many different ways through a variety of mechanisms, many of them from exogenous (external) causes, and some from endogenous (internal) factors. On average, this damage tallies out to 10,000 to over 1,000,000 molecular lesions per cell per day in the human body.

Fortunately, most of this damage is either automatically repaired on the DNA itself or the damage can set off a global response to prevent reproduction of the mutated/damaged cell. But occasionally the body’s systems do not catch the error in time (or the damage is repaired incorrectly) and the cell is allowed to multiply into a tumor – either benign or malignant cancer.

The forms of DNA damage can be classified by agent and the effect on the DNA strand itself.

Exogenous (External)

1) UV radiation from the sun which is technically a form of EMF, but it is electromagnetic radiation that is at a high enough frequency / energy level that it is crosses over into the ionizing radiation regime. UV-A radiation can lead to the formation of free radicals which cause indirect damage. UV-B radiation can crosslink adjacent thymine and cytosine bases and create thymine or pyrimidine dimers, which is known as direct damage.

2) Other forms of high energy radiation (X-Ray, Alpha, Beta, Gamma)

3) Viruses (also known as oncoviruses) are most common but certain bacteria and parasites can be responsible

4) Chemical carcinogens including from natural sources (such as plant toxins or asbestos) known as mutagens. Particularly aromatic compounds that can insert themselves between the planar nitrogenous bases of the DNA helix. (also known as intercalating agents)

5) Hydrolysis (cleaving of bonds by water)

6) Thermal disruption

7) Some studies show or suggest evidence of damage from certain Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) including both low frequency power lines and higher frequency RF (Radio Frequencies) including those in the microwave range which are used in cell phone / tower communication.

Endogenous (Internal)

1) Attack by Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) or Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) generated in the course of normal bodily functions which can form hydrogen peroxide and ammonia respectively. (both are toxic) The presence of these compounds come from oxidative deamination which form oxoacids in the liver.

Single Strand Breaks – a break in one of the two deoxyribose-phosphate backbone / strands in a DNA molecule

Double Strand Breaks – breaks in both of the two deoxyribose-phosphate backbone / strands in a DNA molecule

Examples of DNA Damage

Examples of DNA Damage

Point Mutation – A mutation that alters a single nitrogenous base. It can be either the substitution of one base for another, or the deletion / addition of a single base or small number of bases.

Base Substitution Mutation – The substitution of one base pair for another in DNA. Because of the degenerate nature of the genetic code, base substitution may or may not alter the amino acid encoded. If the new codon from the base substitution still results in the same intended amino acid, then the mutation is considered “silent”. But if it results in a different amino acid being produced, then it is termed a “missense mutation”  as the sense (bio-genetic intelligibility) of the codon produced after transcription of the mutant gene is altered. There are two categories: Transitions and Transversions. A transistion does not change the type of bases in the base pair as in a pyrimidine vs. a purine, but a transversion does. A variety of human genetic disorders (such as sickle cell anemia) are caused by base substitutions.

Nonsense Mutations – A special category of base substitution arises when a base is converted in such a way that the transcribed codon is converted to a stop codon. This stop codon results in premature termination of the translation and leads to a truncated (incomplete) protein.

Frameshift Defects – The addition or deletion of a single base has much more profound consquences than does the substitution of one base for another. Frameshift mutations alter the reading frame in the mRNA (messenger RNA) downstream of the mutation, which in turn will mean the majority of the protein will be altered. Frameshifts can also cause the same effect as Nonsense Mutations as 3 in 64 codons are stop codons which means there is a relatively high probability the protein coding will be prematurely stopped at the wrong point.

Triplet Repeat Expansion Mutations

DNA Damage & Repair Sample Table

DNA Damage & Repair Sample Table

DNA Damage Responses

DNA Damage Responses

Cancers, Diseases and Other Physical Illnesses Believed to Be Linked to EMF/RF Radiation

This is a list of the various conditions whose risk factors are believed to be correlated to EMFs (electromagnetic fields) from power lines, cell towers, cell phones, smart meters, microwaves and other electrical/electronic devices. This is not a confirmation or affirmation that any of these are necessarily true or to suggest hard safety level limits; but it is part of the continuing blog and educational journey of determining the true causation and effect relation.

Where applicable, I have put abbreviations and/or descriptions of these conditions as they traditionally appear in research literature for convenient reference to coming articles on the epidemiology of possibly EMF related diseases and conditions. Also the risk factors they are allegedly linked to are listed as well.


In the developed world, about 50% of all adult men and roughly 33% of all adult women develop cancer during their lifetime.

Cancer is generally described as an unwanted / unregulated growth of cells with malignancies having a potential to metastasize and invade other organ systems and tissues. Cancer types are organized by organ and cell type they originate from and by the morphological characteristics of the cancer cells themselves.

Carcinogenesis is a multi-stage process which may include genetic (alteration of DNA composition and structure) and epigenetic (alteration in gene expression without DNA alteration) changes. It is suggested that external stimulus such as certain types and levels of EMF/RF may contribute to the multi-stage cancer process by influencing epigenetic changes resulting in effects such as abnormal cell proliferation and differentiation, apoptosis or modified adaptive responses.


Leukemogenic factors are agents which are or believed to be related to promoting the development of leukemia.

Childhood Leukemia (CL) – Power lines  (rates are 4.5 per 100,000 developed world and 2.7 per 100,000 in developing countries) CL is a family of biologically heterogeneous neoplasms and represents the most common cancer in children with 30-50 new cases per million children developing worldwide annually.

subtypes include:

Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) – Represents 80% of all cases of CL in white populations aged 0-14 years but has a peak incidence between 2-5 years. Most common chromosomal aberrations in ALL are hyperdiploidy (35%) and the presence of the TEL-AML1 gene fusion. (25%)

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) – Represents 15 % of all cases and incidence rises with increasing age and has few causative agents, but include benzene, alkylator, topoisomerase II inhibitors and ionizing radiation (which includes radon gas in up to 13% – 25% of all cases estimated worldwide) which is of a wavelength far beyond that of power lines.

In general from birth, the incidence of leukemia rises to a peak of around 3 years of age, then declining briefly before steadily rising throughout life. This is unlike most cancers as it has a peak incidence early in life and a short latency.

Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia (AnLL) – In adults, benzene exposure is causally related. ( > 40 ppm cumulative exposure = >120 ppb annually over a 76 year lifetime)

Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – Limited evidence of benzene related exposure causality.

Multiple Myeloma – Limited evidence of benzene related exposure causality.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – Limited evidence of benzene related exposure causality.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)



Glioma  (a malignant form of brain cancer) – Allegedly linked to cell phones as it has a short latency and is fast growing.

Glioblastomas (most common form of brain cancer)


Meningioma (a diverse set of tumors in the meninges of the brain; usually benign) – Allegedly linked to cell phones though the Interphone study shows reverse causality.

Acoustic Neuroma or Vestibular Schwannomas (benign intracranial tumor, but can be dangerous) – Allegedly linked to cell phones



Breast Cancer

Lymphatic Cancers

Hematopoietic Cancers

Pituitary Gland Tumors

Uveal Melanoma (cancer of the eye)



Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) / Motor Neuron Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease


Myeloproliferative Disorders (MPDs)

Lymphoproliferative Disorders (LPDs)

Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI-EMF)

Epidemiology of EMF: The Science of Cancer Risk and EMF / RF Safety Levels

Epidemiology, or the study of disease patterns as they relate to a particular health hazard or set of potentially harmful hazards as applied to a range of biological effects, is a complex field in it’s own right.

When studying the epidemiology of EMF & RF fields as they apply to the incidence of childhood leukemia, brain cancer, Alzheimer’s and other dread conditions, it becomes even more complicated and controversial for a variety of reasons.

As a part of my ongoing consulting research with regard to the health impact of power lines and EMF, I continue studying epidemiology, biology, medical geology, probability and statistics in conjunction with and in the context of my electrical / biomedical engineering education and considerable technical experience in order to structure and ask the relevant questions to this topic.

So why is it so difficult to get a straight answer about whether EMF or RF radiation is harmful? And why can no one agree upon a set of EMF safety levels?

1) EMF and RF does not come in one simple flavor or dose like a known chemical or ionizing carcinogen / hazardous material does. For instance, benzene is a scientifically acknowledged carcinogen whose effects have been well studied, documented and most of all REPRODUCIBLE. Benzene comes in only one form, one structural formula of C6H6 with an aromatic ring structure. The amount presented to a test subject is a simple measure of volume vs. the mass of the test subject.

Not so for EMF as it can present at a variety of frequencies, waveform shapes, amplitudes and time weighted exposure levels. It is easy to feed a lab rat 1 gram of benzene a day to see the effects. You can subject it to an ionizing UV light at a specific frequency for a given amount of time. But because of the constant electromagnetic fluctuations that a human is subjected to in suburban / urban activities throughout a daily routine, you do not have a firm control over the independent EMF variable like you would with benzene or UV light.

It is essentially inhumane and technically impractical to keep a single person, let alone a number of control subjects substantial enough to warrant a valid study on EMF effects in a completely homogeneous magnetic or RF field for the length of time required to see any possible effects.

2) Which leads to the next issue:

A “zero EMF exposure” control group with which to compare to an “exposed group” virtually does not exist in our culture. So how do you make a true comparison between groups as in a valid epidemiological study? As one famous epidemiologist once pointed out, if everyone smoked, then lung cancer would be considered a genetic disease, not an environmental one.

3) Time lag between exposure and actual disease manifestation. Even with some carcinogenic habits like tobacco smoking, years or even decades can elapse between the event and any serious health effects depending on what you smoke, how often and genetic predispositions.

How do you keep a person in a uniform 1, 5 or 10 milliGauss field for that length of time? The cost involved would be enormous and it would essentially be a prison. Then you have to look at diet, the quality of air and water, and the probable lack of exercise given the confined space this would dictate.

So a true epidemiological study in the strictest tradition is virtually out of the question.

4) Even if you do see some apparent effect, how do you know it is the EMF and now some other agent that is responsible? Correlation is not causation, so if there is a true link between the electromagnetic fields from power lines and cancer, it is important to identify and understand the actual metabolic pathways and mechanisms by which this operates.

What if areas of greater EMF exposure happen to correlate with higher urban density? (which tends to be true as a higher population density also means that more electricity / current is used which will tend to produce higher magnetic fields) But is it the magnetic fields that are responsible, or the stress, pollution and other factors that come with inner city living?

5) And let’s say there is a correlation between exposure to EMF and RF fields and some health effects; (which I suspect there is at least something to it) at what level and for how long is this necessary for it to even be apparent within your lifetime? How does it compare with other risk factors that you might be more susceptible to?

I am not here to minimize concerns, but I will point out that there are a lot of environmental factors to consider when it comes to health (radon gas or indoor air quality for instance) and you should prioritize them in order of which is most likely to affect you.

6) It is a politically charged subject.

If exposure to EMF is indeed a major health issue, then this opens utility and power companies up to litigation which is impractical for the normal functioning of our modernized society. For what it is worth, they will never admit if it is a problem or not and for understandable reasons. They are in the power generation business, and they already have a lot of policies, procedures and regulations regarding the safe production and distribution of electricity. Electricity is potentially dangerous to their employees and customers, so they already have plenty to worry about in terms of conducted power, let alone radiated fields. Also, their strength is in power engineering and infrastructure, not playing doctor, or being bio-electromagnetic experts.

And for those who say the power and utility companies try to hide the truth about the effects of EMF to protect their bottom line, I will point to the opposite side of the spectrum where there are individuals who make a living by scamming and scaring the crap out of people by inventing / exaggerating concerns, amplifying fear and then selling some solution or gadget which does nothing but drain your wallets. The reason I consider this dangerous is because the misdirection of attention and distorting risk has the potential to create tunnel vision, and leaves people open to being blindsided by the real and present dangers that already exist.

Also, there are some electropollution extremists that have such ridiculously stringent standards for protection from EMF levels that they would essentially insist on society living in the dark ages without the electrical and communications infrastructure that contributes in many ways to our comfort and safety. What about the importance of lighting, 911 access, air conditioning and modern research and medical facilities? Or is the very real and measurable mortality rate of populations who live in 3rd World conditions where infectious disease and lack of potable water cause widespread death, shortened lifespans and a high infant / child mortality rate more desirable?

A large part of the problem is the lack of understanding about how electricity and electromagnetism works along with incomplete knowledge about basic biological processes.

Even modern biophysics does not have all of the answers about DNA replication, protein synthesis, etc. so this is not a criticism, just the fact that most people do not or cannot invest the time necessary to learn about these subjects (and keep up with current research) in enough detail enough to make an informed opinion / decision.

But I do, and my education is forever continuous because I believe in the right of a client to be able to have access to enough information to make a decision they can live with comfortably. Also, I want to get to the truth myself as I find the subject matter fascinating, and it leads me along a valuable process of discovery.

I hope these postings help to dispel the mythologies and ignorance which pervades the subjects of how our environment can or could influence the function of the human body.

What people typically know about electricity is that it is everywhere, the effects of lighting and powering motors can be seen, and it is absolutely lethal or dangerous if you do contact a sufficient voltage / amperage to stop your heart or cause other bodily harm.

Everyone knows that you should not climb a transmission tower and touch a wire, so there is already a built in fear or at least respect for what a sufficient amount of electrical power can do to your body. This association I feel is responsible for why so many people have a primal response which varies from uneasy to negative when observing an imposing 238 kilo-Volt primary feeder with tall metal towers looming over their backyard.

Whether You Believe in EMF / RF Health Effects or Not… The Killer in The Shadows

Over the many years of performing surveys and residential / commercial consultations, I encounter a wide range of attitudes towards powerlines, and cell phones. Some are extreme, believing that everything even remotely electronic is killing us just by looking at it. Others scoff that invisible waves can do any real damage to the human body. But most people are at least curious and ask me: “Is there anything to all of the alleged studies that point towards our increasingly electromagnetically saturated life that is harming us?”

I feel the answer is both and in the middle of the extremes, but there are secondary effects that many people do not consider. For one, excessive stress of any kind is a proven killer, so if someone has a perception strong enough that a transmission tower or their smart meter is physically damaging them, the connection between the emotion and the chemicals generated in your body as well as the resulting metabolic changes tend to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, cortisol is a hormone released by stress that also depresses the immune system. If you are chronically worried about something, your health is likelier to be impacted in a negative fashion. Also hypertension (high blood pressure) is definitively linked to stress and has been long denoted as the “silent killer”. Then there is the distraction factor; it is well known that those under extreme and / or prolonged stress are likelier to experience illnesses or accidents.

This is not saying that it is simply: “All in your head.” This diminishes concern to fantasy or delusion, whereas the physiological effects are real and can be empirically measured, regardless of the direct effects of the high voltage tower or cell phone repeater.

And what goes on in your head is very important as it directs your attitude, mood and where your attention is at a given moment.

Also, you should take into account the indirect dangers of our radiation emitting technology that have nothing to do with the EMF or RF itself. Consider the distraction of a cell phone while driving, or the sedation of sitting on the couch watching hour after hour of TV. How about spending hours a day on Facebook without having genuine face to face human interaction? It doesn’t take a genius to see where I am going with this.

Look at how it can potentially skew epidemiological studies. There is a factor called “confounders” which can mislead the directions of cause and effect. Are you aware that the original epidemiological study in 1979 by Ed Leeper and Nancy Wertheimer which suggested a link between childhood leukemia and high power lines did NOT actually involve EMF measurements? They simply drew conclusions based on “cancer clusters” and the diameter of the wire used to distribute electricity using the reasoning that a thicker wire carries more current and therefore the magnetic field is higher.

Knowing the actual physics of EMF reveals that this is a reckless and scientifically ignorant manner in which to gauge a potential cancer causing metric as there are many other factors which affect the actual net magnetic field as discussed in one of my previous posts. Poor critical thinking skills such as this is akin to linking the condition of a street sign with local crime. The sign itself does not have a direct bearing, but the social and demographic factors that the sign exists in may also give rise to conditions that affect crime rates.

Correlation is not causation.

Perhaps it escaped the original researchers that a higher density power lines also means you are closer to high population densities where you also have more traffic causing pollution, increased noise levels which can induce stress, industrial centers potentially releasing toxic chemicals into the air and so forth.

When you choose about where to live and what the risks are, you need to think holistically if you want to get an approximation of what falls into your acceptable definition of “safe”. Humans are predictive beings, but they are historically poor at realistic risk assessment. People worry about getting murdered or crashing in a plane when they are far more likely to die in a fall at home. So they buy a gun, or refuse to fly, but then try to paint on a roof while standing on the top step of a ladder which has a clear warning label.