8 March 2003


"Dirty Power" is also referred to as "transients" or "noise" and similar terms. Clean power is when the electricity we use is solely in the form of a 60 Hz (Hz is Hertz equivalent to cycles per second) changing sinusoidal voltage and current without high frequency components. Dirty power refers to high frequency components riding on this sinusoidal wave. Dirty power is a component of the 60 Hz power to which, in our modern electrified world, we are all exposed.

The graph on the next page is an illustration of both "typical" power (the blue line is the 60 Hz power, including dirty power components - notice the jaggety lines on the top and bottom), and a picture of "dirty power" (the pink extremely variable line), which is actually the jaggety sections of the blue line magnified, and sans the 60 Hz power.

This picture of dirty power was taken from an oscilloscope in a classroom at Brighten School, Brighten, WI. It is typical of what is seen all over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

The cause of this dirty power comes from the myriad electrical gadgets and equipment we use. Recent changes in the technology have resulted in these gadgets and equipment not drawing their power needs continuously, as they did previously, but intermittently at a high frequency. Home light dimmer switches are but one example. Such "non-linear" drawing of power is reflected back onto the electrical power system. The gadgets our neighbors and we use generate such electrical "dirt" as do certain types of variable speed motors. The "dirt" is also generated by the electrical utilities when they switch their distribution from one circuit to another.

Thesis And Hypothesis
"Dirty" electrical power is the potential explanation for many health issues, in whole or in part, long associated with electrical power. If the "dirt" on the electrical power systems is removed, then associated health problems will improve.

Exposure to "dirty power" is potentially the greatest health issue in the industrialized world. And the elimination of this health risk may be simple, non-invasive, and extremely cost-effective.

The following diseases are most often found to have an association with electrical power exposure:

Brain tumors
ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease
Breast cancer
Prostate cancer
Heart disease

The possible health effects from dirty power exposure that I have recently become aware of in Wisconsin are consistent with the scientific literature on exposure to electromagnetic fields in general. However, because the electrical power in these venues is exaggeratedly dirty the health effects seem to be far more dramatic. Besides apparent highly elevated cancer rates there are numerous reports of:

Birth defects (children and dairy cows)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Type 1 diabetes (the reports are tantalizing, but not yet sufficient to draw definitive conclusions).
Heart issues

It seems that the people of Wisconsin just may be the canaries who are being affected by dirty power.

Supporting Scientific Evidence
There are already many peer-reviewed studies (and below is only a sample) that document the health effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields. Virtually all of the studies (documented below) linking health issues to electrical exposure were done assuming that "clean" electrical power was the only electrical exposure problem. Therefore it is unknown if dirty power, only recently discovered as a harm factor, existed when each of the following studies were conducted. It is my belief that if transients or dirty power had been considered in these studies, the results would have been even more dramatic. (See for instance the Hydro-Quebec study, below, that found results so alarming that the entire study was suppressed!)

I will begin with official findings from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NEIHS), and the World Health Organization's (WHO's), International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) finding of power frequency (60 Hz in North America; 50 Hz elsewhere) as a "possible human carcinogen". Next I will report findings funded by the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) or from Ontario Hydro, because EPRI and Ontario Hydro both have the largest possible vested interest in not finding an association. I will follow with reports of suppressed scientific information from the EPA and from Hydro-Quebec. Finally, I will provide a short1 bibliography of selected scientific papers.

NIEHS (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/emfrapid/html/EMF_DIR_RPT/Corec18fT.HTM )
"...exposure to power-line frequency ELF-EMF is a 'possible' human carcinogen."

IARC (http://monographs.iarc.fr/htdocs/announcements/vol80.htm )
"Overall, extremely low frequency magnetic fields were evaluated as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on the statistical association of higher level residential ELF [Extremely Low Frequency] magnetic fields and increased risk for childhood leukaemia"

EPRI has funded two papers: One shows a "statistically significant" association of brain cancer with EMF exposures the other shows near statistical significance (RR=1.9; 95% CI 0.9-5.1) for chronic lymphocytic leukemia with exposure to EMFs. They are:
1. Leeka Kheifets, et al.; Occupational Electric and Magnetic Field Exposure and Brain Cancer: A Meta-Analysis; Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Vol. 37, No. 12, December 1995, 1327-1340
2. David Savitz, Dana Loomis; Magnetic Field Exposure in Relation to Leukemia and Brain Cancer Mortality among Electric Utility Workers; American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 141, No. 2, 1995, 123-133

Ontario Hydro
Ontario found that exposure to the combination of electric and magnetic fields increased the risk ratio of leukemia to 11.2, a significant result (AB Miller, et al.; Leukemia following occupational exposure to 60-Hz electric and magnetic fields among Ontario electric utility workers; Am. J. Epidemiology 144: 150-160

Judith told you of a suppressed EPA document2 she learned about from seeing the video "Evaluation of Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields". This EPA report recommended that power frequency EMFs be declared a "probable human carcinogen" [underling is my emphasis]. Louis Slesin received a copy of this report and reported its recommendations in Microwave News (Microwave News, Vol. XVIII No. 1, Jan/Feb 1998). After the Microwave News report, the EPA made the Report public, except that the recommendations within the report had been removed.

You can order the censored version, "Evaluation of Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields" from the EPA. The report name is EPA/600/6-90/005B and its order number is 513 569-7562. Louis has the complete text of the censored recommendations. ...

In 1994, after researchers at McGill University published results (B Armstrong, et al.; Association between exposure to pulsed electromagnetic fields and cancer in electric utility workers in Quebec, Canada, and France; Am. J. Epidemiology. 140: 805-820) using pulsed EMFs, Hydro-Quebec refused to allow further analysis. Pulsed electromagnetic fields are composed of a wide range of high frequency transients (AKA dirt). This paper reported an odds ratio for lung cancer the most exposed workers of 16.6 (the study was adjusted for smoking and other confounders). Odds ratios of this size are almost unknown in epidemiology. Since November of 1994, no further data has been analyzed or otherwise made public from this massive set of data.

1I can provide extensive bibliographies upon request.
2 Discussed in video, "Beyond Coincidence, The Perils of Electrical Pollution, May 25, 2001, " 2001, Dave Stetzer, sent to you via Fed Ex.

Selected Bibliography
1. Milham, S. et al.; Historical evidence that residential electrification caused the emergence of the childhood leukemia peak; Medical Hypotheses, March 2001.3

2. Wertheimer, N. et al.; Electrical wiring configurations and childhood cancer; Am J Epidemiology. 1979; 109:273-284. This paper was the first link to childhood leukemia and electrical power. It is the seminal work that was followed by many others. Childhood leukemia data is the predominant reason for the NIEHS and IARC finding that EMFs are a "possible human carcinogen".

3. Wertheimer, N. et al.; Possible effects of electric blankets and heated waterbeds on fetal development; Bioelectromagnetics 186; 7:13-22.

4. DeGuire, L. et al.; Increased incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin in workers in a telecommunications industry; Br J Industrial Med 1988; 45:824-828.

5. McLaughlin, JK et al, Occupational risks for intracranial gliomas in Sweden; JNCI 1987; 78:253-257

6. Thomas, T. et al.; Brain tumor mortality among men with electrical and electronics jobs: a case-control study; JNCI 1987; 79:233-238.

7. Sobel, E. et al.; Elevated Risk of Alzheimer's Disease Among Workers with Likely [EMF} Exposure, Neurology, 47:1477-1481, December 1996.

8. Matanoski, G. et al.; Electromagnetic field exposure and breast cancer; Lancet 1991; 337;737

9. Davanipour et al.; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Occupational Exposures to [EMFs]; Bioelectromagnetics, 18:28-45, 1997

10. De-Kun Li et al; A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study of Personal Exposure to Magnetic Fields during Pregnancy and the Risk of Miscarriage; Epidemiology 2002;13:9-20
This paper found a 6-fold increase of miscarriages using maximum values of EMFs as compared to the normal time weight average.

11. Zhu, K et al.; Prostate cancer in relation to the use of electric blanket or heated water bed; Epidemiology. 1999 Jan;10(1):83-5.

12. Sastre, A. et al.; Nocturnal exposure to intermittent 60 Hz magnetic fields alters human cardiac rhythm; Bioelectromagnetics, Vol 19, Issue 2, 1998. Pages: 98-106
This paper is of particular interest as it suggests that EMFs alter heart rhythms in a manner that can induce heart attacks. As you will see in the Wisconsin information, heart problems are pervasive in areas with dirty power.

13. Savitz DA et al., Magnetic field exposure and cardiovascular disease mortality among electric utility workers. American Journal of Epidemiology 1999 Dec 1;150(11):1258-9.
Given the above mechanism combined with the results of this paper, it is not difficult to conclude that the heart problems seen in Wisconsin are correlated. A quote from the abstract, "Indices of magnetic field exposure were consistently related to mortality from arrhythmia and acute myocardial infarction, with mortality rate ratios of 1.5-3.3 in the uppermost categories."

There is almost no literature on radio frequency radiation (dirty power emits radio frequency radiation or RF) and cataracts, but there is some indication of problems with microwave radiation.
14. Cutz A., Effects of microwave radiation on the eye: the occupational health perspective; Lens Eye Toxic Research 1989;6(1-2):379-86
From the abstract: "The effect of long-term low-intensity microwave exposure on the human lens remains poorly understood. Several reports have implicated occupational microwave exposure as a factor in increasing the rate of lens aging and retinal injury in microwave workers."

15. Marha, K. et al. Electromagnetic Fields and the Life Environment; page 31 "In a number of cases, both unilateral and bilateral cataracts have been described."; San Francisco Press Inc. English Translation from the Czech, 1971.

3I have an electronic version of this paper in PDF format available upon request.

There are innumerable reports of this kind in the scientific literature. The big picture is that the reports are often "weak" in the epidemiological sense. That is the odds ratios or relative risks are in the 1.5 - 4.0 range. They are often not "statistically significant", meaning that there is <95% confidence that it is not chance finding. The most common reason for this lack of "significance" is that the study has insufficient size to make a finding at >95% confidence. Nevertheless, the evidence has such a preponderance of effect that the NIEHS and IARC made their official findings.

Over the years, there has been a debate over what is the correct measurement. Overwhelmingly, the measurement used has been either time-weighted average of the 60 Hz field (without any measurements of higher frequencies) or a surrogate for the 60 Hz fields, "wire codes" (how close is a case or control to electrical power wires of several different current carrying capacities). A few studies have looked at the electric field and a few have looked at peak values. Rarely, and to my knowledge, only animal studies have looked at "transient" or "intermittent" fields. To my knowledge, the only human study was the suppressed Hydro Quebec study.

What stuns me, as an electronic engineer, is how the dirty power information fits to basic electrical theory. The coupling of electric fields within our buildings to ourselves is proportional to frequency and decreases linearly with distance from the electrical wires. The coupling of electromagnetic fields is not related to frequency and drops off as the square of the distance from the source. If electric fields are the issue, then frequency is very important and distance from the source is of greater importance than for electromagnetic fields.

There have been some tantalizing hints from the animal studies. One that sticks in my mind was a utility funded large study of rats, double blind, exposed and non-exposed to PURE 60 Hz fields. All animals were followed through their entire life cycle, then autopsied upon their death. There was no difference between controls and exposed. Absolutely nothing! (Mandeville, R. et al.; Evaluation of the potential carcinogenicity of 60 Hz linear sinusoidal continuous-wave fields in Fischer F344 rats; The FASEB Journal, Vol. 11, November 1997 1127-1136 ).

Commenting at an NIEHS science symposium, Dr. Larry Anderson, a long time researcher in EMF health issues at Battelle labs said, "The more careful we are to make sure that the exposures are sinusoidal - with no transients - the less and less effects we see. It's almost blatant."

One animal study that shows effects with an intermittent (intermittency creates transients, AKA dirt) 50 Hz EMF exposure and no effects with clean 50 Hz exposures is Rannug, A. et al.; Intermittent 50 Hz magnetic field and skin tumor promotion in SENCAR mice; Carcinogenesis 1994 15: 153-157.

Specific Locations of Harm.

1. Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota
In 1992 the electrical harm that was already visited upon the folks in these three states was exacerbated by a rewiring decision of the local electrical power company. As a cost-cutting measure, the neutral wire on the power wires was connected by ground rod to the earth at every power pole causing the dirty power to flow directly through the ground, in structures built on the ground, and in living things on that ground. This unfortunate electrical wiring in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota has created venues of harm greatly exaggerated from other geographical areas.

2. Marin County, California: Perhaps Another Location of Dirty Power Harm
I am sending you a separate Power Point presentation concerning Marin County as a possible additional location of extreme electrical power harm. In brief, Marin County has an excess rate of a large set of cancers when compared to, for example, Alameda County, California. (In fact, Marin County, California has the highest rate of breast cancer in the world.) The statistical strength of this multiple cancer excess is very high. Additionally, Marin County has almost no pollution sources and Alameda County has many. Marin County is very wealthy (Median household money income, 1999 $71,306); Alameda County is less so (Median household money income, 1999 $55,946). Hypothesis: Marinites buy more electrical devices and buy them sooner, generating more dirty power, thus causing a higher cancer rate.

Possible Solution
The Graham-Stetzer filter has been designed to remove high frequency transients from the power lines within a building. Its effectiveness depends on how many are installed within a building. Scores of households in affected areas in Wisconsin and elsewhere are installing the filters. Testimonial information (see below) from those affected, even from doubters, bespeaks of dramatic health improvements.

The Graham-Stetzer filter is a simple device that looks like a small box that plugs directly into electrical outlets. It now costs $25 per filter but, if made in bulk, could easily cost a few dollars. Better yet, for under a dollar, it could be built into all electrical equipment to filter out transient electricity.

Excerpts of a letter written by Lloyd Morgan continued