Dirty Electricity: A Growing Health Concern

Dirty Electricity refers to a fast-growing form of potentially harmful electrical energy that radiates into living environments from electrical wiring. This environmental toxin arises from electromagnetic interference (EMI) caused by plug-in electronics, computers, fluorescent lighting, modern appliances, battery chargers, smart meters and solar systems.

Recent science has shown dirty electricity to be bioactive (1,2), that is, it directly disturbs human biological systems.  Dirty electricity and other types of chaotic electrical energy (3) have been associated with auto-immune disease (1,4,5,6), neurological conditions (1,4,5,6), poor sleep (1,6), attentional disorders (1,4,5,6), anxiety (1,4,5,6), and dozens of chronic symptoms associated with inflammation (1,4,5,6).

Dirty electricity, and other types of electrical energy pollution, have been scientifically associated with:

Fatigue (1)

Irritability (1)

Mood (1)

Multiple Sclerosis (1)

Pain (1)

Sleep Issues (1)


ADHD (1)

Anxiety (1)

Asthma (1,4)

Cancer (1)

Concentration (1)

Depression (1)

Diabetes (3)

Dirty Electricity is both unusable and potentially harmful. Dirty electricity is a by-product of using modern electronics. It is not only unnecessary to power our homes and business, but actually can harm electronics and interfere with sound systems. It is also poses challenges to our health. It has been postulated that this potentially harmful energy radiates into living environments and couples to our bodies as an electrical charge. One crucial scientific study performed by Magda Havas, PhD (1), shows how removing dirty electricity from schools improves the learning environment.

There is increasing scientific evidence that these invisible spikes and surges radiating from electrical circuits are triggering an immune system response. In a key section from the BioInitiative Report (4), Olle Johansson, PhD shows how electrical fields trick the innate immune system into thinking the body is being attacked by a foreign invader like a virus or bacteria. Johansson observed a proliferation of mast cells, which react to various classes of radiation, in humans after electromagnetic exposures. Mast cells signal the release of inflammatory substances, which when chronically provoked, enter a repetitive loop. Chronic exposures to electrical fields like dirty electricity produce a chronic inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation eventually exhausts the adrenal glands and leads to fatigue, cognitive impacts, fuzzy thinking, irritability, anxiety and memory loss. Chronic electrical exposures trigger symptoms, which eerily mirror those experienced in dozens of autoimmune diseases.

Is dirty electricity dangerous?

Scientific evidence points to a connection between electrical energy and electromagnetic interference to a wide variety of physical, emotional, and cognitive health problems. There are now more than 6000 studies which link electromagnetic energy with biological effects, chronic conditions and disease (4,5).

Dirty electricity is one form of electrical energy, which is thought to trigger a single destructive molecule in the body called peroxynitrite. This molecule creates more than 100 biochemical disruptions and has been associated with more than 60 chronic diseases (9) affecting more than 170 million Americans. According to “The Root Cause in the Dramatic Rise of Chronic Disease” (10), forty of the fastest growing diseases and chronic conditions in the United States, which have all more than doubled since 1990, share high levels of peroxynitrite. In his landmark study, “Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects”  (11), Martin Pall, PhD of Washington State University shows how electrical energy triggers high levels of intracellular calcium ions, which in turn, causes releases of high levels of nitric oxide, which is a chief precursor to peroxynitrite.

The connection between electrical energy like that produced by dirty electricity (EMI) and the forty fastest diseases is outlined in “A New Era of Disease in America and what’s behind it.

Sam Milham, MD, who authored a powerful study on dirty electricity and cancer (2), has spent nearly thirty years researching the impact of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on health. In his book, Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization, Dr. Milham links dirty electricity to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, suicide and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Chain of Causation: How dirty electricity can lead to disease and chronic conditions. 

A consumer plugs an electronic device like a computer into an electrical outlet. The device, which runs on direct-current (DC) electricity must convert alternating current (AC) electricity, which is provided by the electric company, to DC to operate. By converting AC to DC electricity and stepping down the voltage from 120 volts to 12 volts, a measurable side-effect of wasted electrical energy is created in the form of electromagnetic interference (EMI).

A surge of electrical energy radiates into living environments in the form of voltage transients and spikes. Human exposures to this surge in voltage caused by Dirty electricity (EMI) lead to an activation of voltage-gated ion channels (VGCIC) at the cellular level, which creates unhealthy levels of intracellular calcium ions. Calcium itself can be toxic at the cellular level. But more critical: this rise in calcium ions triggers a rise in nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a critical precursor to peroxynitrite.

High levels of peroxynitrite create free radicals, damage proteins and lipids (critical fats), perforate both the blood brain barrier and stomach lining and decrease the production of critical neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Peroxynitrite also creates mitochondrial dysfunction, which undermines the primary energy center for all cells in the body. The result is impaired neurological function, organ dysfunction and profound fatigue.



(1)  Havas, M, Olstad, A. “Power quality affects teacher wellbeing and student behavior in three Minnesota Schools; Science Total Environment. 2008 Sep 1; 402 (2-3):157-62. Doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.04.046. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

(2)  Milham, S, Morgan L. “A New Electromagnetic Exposure Metric: High Frequency Voltage Transients Associated with Increased Cancer Incidence in Teachers in a California School” American Journal of Industrial Medicine (2008).

(3)  Chaotic Electrical Energy – non-sinusoidal, or non-continuous waveforms. (i.e. modulated wave forms, pulsed frequencies, alternating current (AC) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) also referred to as dirty electricity. There is evidence that the innate immune system perceives non-sinusoidal waveforms as foreign invaders. Dr. Olle Johansson’s section in the BioInitiative Report (4) points to the proliferation of mast cells triggered by modulated electromagnetic fields (EMF). The innate immune system then mounts an inflammatory response, which includes the release of cytokines and histamines.

(4)  Carpenter DO, Sage C, Behari J, Xu, Lai H, Blank M, Johansson O, Grigoriev Y, Salford L,  Carlberg et al CV, et al “BioInitiative 2012, A Rationale for Biologically-based Exposure Standards for Low-Intensity Electromagnetic Radiation”; http://www.bioinitiative.org/table-of-contents/

(5)  Glaser, ZR. “Bibliography of Reported Biological Phenomena (Effects) and Clinical Manifestations Attributed to Microwave and Radio-Frequency Radiation”; Naval Medical Research Institute, Oct 1971; http://www.magdahavas.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Navy_Radiowave_Brief.pdf

(6)  Lear, R. “A New Era of Disease in America and what’s behind it.” ResearchGate, Aug 2017 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319288113_A_New_Era_of_Chronic_Disease_in_America_and_what%27s_behind_it

(7)  Havas M. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: biological effects of dirty electricity with emphasis on diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Electromagn Biol Med 2006b; 25:259–68.

(8)  Havas M. Dirty electricity: an invisible pollutant in schools. Feature Article for Forum Magazine, OSSTF, Fall 2006; 2006a.

(9) Pacher P, Beckman J, Liaudet L. Nitric oxide and peroxynitrite in health and disease. Physiol Rev. 2007 Jan; 87(1):315-424. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248324/

(10) Lear, R. “Root Cause in the Dramatic Rise of Chronic Disease.” ResearchGate, Sept 2016 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303673576_The_Root_Cause_in_the_dramatic_rise_of_Chronic_Disease

(11) Pall, M. “Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects.” J Cell Mol Med. 2013 Aug; 17(8): 958–965. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780531/