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The Invisible Disease: The Dangers of Environmental Illnesses Caused by Electromagnetic Fields and Chemical Emissions Paperback – August, 2004
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About the Author
Gunni Nordstrom is an investigative journalist in Sweden, the world-wide centre of the mobile phone industry, where much of the research on Environmental Illness has been carried out. She has published several books on health problems related to computer screens, Sjuk av bildskarm Tiden 1989, 9155034845, Faltslaget Tiden 1995, 9455040837, Moklaggning Hjalmarson and Hogstedt 2000, 9189080416.
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Is our environment safe?
The author is a Swedish investigative journalist. This book is a fluently readable translation of an extensive report by Nordström into a highly controversial but immensely important and hugely complicated subject.
The book is controversial because, as with so many medical conditions, what affects one person adversely may have no discernible influence at all on another. The effects of environmental xenobiotics (substances foreign to the body) are so elusive that it takes many years of study and the accumulation of masses of data before definitive conclusions can be reached. Furthermore, the adverse effects may be small but cumulative, and only become apparent as we grow older or fall victim to an infection that makes extra demands on the immune system.
A good parallel that will be familiar to readers is the situation concerning smoking and lung cancer: because many people smoked for much of their lives without getting cancer it was a long time before cause and effect were associated. Now we accept that even passive smoking has the potential to cause considerable damage to the respiratory, circulatory and immune systems, and especially to pregnant women and neonates.
This book focuses on the damage caused by VDUs and by electromagnetic radiation, especially from the microwaves used in home ovens and mobile phones. The literature treatment of these subjects is quite detailed, but few of the research papers cited were published in the main scientific journals - possibly in many cases because journal editors or reviewers were uncomfortable with the findings!
It is well that we should be aware of the adverse effects described here but, in our modern society, many of these (or other) pollutants we would have very great difficulty in avoiding. VDUs have now, to a large extent in the West, been replaced by LCD screens with desktop or laptop computers so these potential dangers have been minimized or eliminated. Controversy still rages over whether or not overhead power cables produce damaging effects - electricity companies and governments say no (as the author points out) but those who have to live near them often feel debilitated. The overall message is undoubtedly that we should avoid these hazards as far as possible.
There are some half-dozen pages of references at the end of the book (several in Swedish), a short glossary of technical terms, and an index of researchers whose work is discussed in the book but there is no subject index.
Unwittingly we have created an electrosmog made up of the fields emanating not only from the numerous electronic devices we suddenly find we cannot do without to the unseen, unsmelled, but increasingly sensed electropollution created by the radio-frequency radiation that makes our wireless, cordless and other magical communication toys work.
In fact, these fields have been making people sick since the early 80s--often those who worked in high-tech industries were the first to fall prey. But studies now project, looking at the increases in electrosensitivity in populations--a 2002 study in California found 3.2 percent of the population electrically sensitive--that by 2017 50% of the population will have the condition.
It's not pleasant. From the early symptoms above it can progress--if one does not practice avoidance--to all-over body pain, irregular heart rhythms, severe blood-pressure elevation and eventually collapse.
Gunni Nordstrom reported on this issue and believes the symptoms are brought on by the interaction between the fields and the chemicals emanating from electronic devices. This is a compelling, fascinating, and essential book for anyone attempting to get a grip on the astonishing things we manage to do to ourselves without giving it a thought--until it all goes terrible wrong.
Also read: books by Robert Becker and Blake Leavett for more solid information.
The same brominated fire retardant used in polyurethane and memory foam mattresses is used as a flame retardant in computers and television sets. The trouble with polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE's) is that they escape from the materials in which they are mixed and contaminate the air and environment and as we breathe and eat them, they build up in our bodies at alarming rates. While we spend 1/3rd of our time sleeping and definitely don't want to be poisoned by our mattresses (new ones are the worst), by far the most PBDE's are released by computer terminals and television sets.
Computers also emit Triphenyl phospate, which is extremely toxic. Gunni Nordstrom also discusses the extremely toxic effects of microwaves and cell phones. Gunni's is a well researched, informative read. Since my husband works in front a computer at least eight hours a day (even more hours if they have overtime) and suffers from severe migraines, feelings of nausea and food allergies the information was deeply concerning and most welcome.