Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization
No one is likely to question the fact that electricity is a necessity of modern life. But Samuel Milham, a doctor whose career has centered around public health, believes there is a dangerous downside to electricity, and he sets out to prove it in this fascinating, disconcerting book.
Milham focuses on the negative effects of “dirty electricity,” a term coined by utilities to represent “high frequency voltage transients”—electricity that “rides along on the sixty-cycle sine wave of alternating current (AC) power.” His premise is that humans are exposed to dirty electricity virtually anywhere there are electrified wires. More significantly, Milham believes that such exposure causes or significantly contributes to “diseases of modern civilization,” including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The author cites several scientific studies that seem to draw a strong link between electricity and various diseases. For example, his own 2008 study of a middle school in La Quinta, California, confirmed his hypothesis that “dirty electricity” is a carcinogen. According to Milham, the study demonstrated that exposure to dirty electricity had a “positive correlation to cancer incidence” among teachers. He also found that a number of former students had been diagnosed with cancer. In this updated second edition of his book, Milham includes additional studies from 2011 and 2012.
While Milham references scientific data throughout the text, Dirty Electricity is neither highly technical nor difficult to read. The author writes in the first person, and he does an excellent job of explaining the data and making observations in simple, clear language. At times, he delves into possibilities that are not conclusive, but he is careful to qualify these as his opinion. For instance, Milham discusses a potential cause of the incurable disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He theorizes that ALS “may be caused by exposures to electro-therapeutic devices and elevated EMF/RF environmental exposures.” While there is little proof validating the author’s claim, it raises intriguing questions that need to be answered.
There are times when Milham is acting as a lone voice; in fact, he mentions instances of skepticism he has faced over his years of studying the effects of dirty electricity and, more recently, the impact of EMFs (electromagnetic fields). Still a fervent believer, however, Milham shares examples of relatively easy and inexpensive ways in which dirty electricity could be reduced. He writes that “EMF diseases may be preventable by simple environmental manipulation,” but only “if society chooses to pay attention.” In the end, Samuel Milham’s Dirty Electricity is not just a book, it is a call to action.