Breast Cancer Another Suspect

Although most experts admit that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from appliances and powerlines have biological effects, the general consensus is that these fields do not cause disease. This belief is surprising, however, considering the ever-growing number of studies linking EMFs and illness. Now, recent investigations have revealed that low-level electromagnetic fields in homes can diminish or totally negate the effects of the widely prescribed anti-cancer drug tamoxifen, as well as the body’s own cancer-fighting hormone, melatonin.

Estrogen is needed for the growth of certain types of breast cancers. The drug tamoxifen is used to treat cancer because it can dock at a cancer cell’s estrogen receptor and block it, thereby starving the malignant cell of the estrogen it needs to proliferate. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that tamoxifen loses its ability to halt the spread of cancer cells grown in the test tube when a 12-milligauss electromagnetic field is applied.

The average magnetic field in U.S. homes is 2 milligauss or lower, but in a significant number of homes the level can reach 12 milligauss. People may also be exposed to fields of this magnitude from computers, electric razors, clock radios, computers or other appliances.

Melatonin, an antioxidant hormone naturally produced by the body, inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells. Research has shown that EMFs can also diminish or halt the body’s secretion of this substance, presumably lowering a woman’s resistance to breast cancer. In the presence of a 12-milligauss field, melatonin loses its cancer-fighting capacity just as tamoxifen does. Scientists also found that estrogen and testosterone, two hormones linked to cancer risk, are also affected by EMFs.

In light of these findings, some scientists hypothesize that the rise in the use of electric power, and the EMFs it generates, are partially responsible for the dramatic increases in breast cancer seen in the last 50 years.

[Editor: Just as home water filters are needed to protect us from inadequately treated water supplies, hand-held testing meters can warn us of high EMFs at home or at work caused by improper wiring or unsafe appliances.]  Based on information in: Microwave News, Nov/Dec 1997; Science News, 11-29-97 & 1-10-98

Excerpted from Spectrum Magazine

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