Tuesday, May 15, 2007


If people working in close proximity to electrical installations suffer no ill effects from it, what ground is there to be worried about electricity pylons near your home?

Popular summary:

ELECTROMAGNETIC fields (EMF) such as surround electrical power supplies and appliances have been thought to increase the risk of leukaemia, brain and breast cancers. But a study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine concludes that these do not pose a hazard to electricity supply workers. Researchers examined the health and employment of more than 28,224 workers at 99 electricity companies in Denmark between 1968 and 2002. Depending on their role, employees were classified into three levels of exposure to EMF - background, medium and high. The data was then linked to the Danish Cancer Registry (where all new cases of cancer in the country have been recorded since 1942). There was no evidence of an increased risk of leukaemia, brain or breast cancers among workers exposed to any level of EMF.

Journal abstract:

Risk For Leukaemia And Brain And Breast Cancer Among Danish Utility Workers - A Second Follow-Up

By Christoffer Johansen et al.

Objective: To update a study of risks for leukaemia, brain cancer and breast cancer in a Danish nationwide, population-based cohort of utility employees.

Methods: We applied a multivariate statistical model including information on age, duration of employment, date of first employment and level of occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Results: We observed no increased risk for these cancers among 28 224 individuals with more than 3 months of employment in whom cancer had not been diagnosed before first employment.

Conclusion: Our results do not support the hypothesis of an association between occupational exposure to magnetic fields in the electric utility industry and risks for leukaemia, brain cancer and breast cancer.


It is really unforgiveable that so many medical research reports are politically correct to the extent that they fail to consider socio-economic status as a confounding factor. The journal abstract below would appear to show a strong SES effect:

Hospital injury rates in relation to socioeconomic status and working conditions

By A d'Errico et l.

Objectives: To describe the risk of work injury by socioeconomic status (SES) in hospital workers, and to assess whether SES gradient in injury risk is explained by differences in psychosocial, ergonomic or organisational factors at work.

Methods: Workforce rosters and Occupational Safety and Health Administration injury logs for a 5-year period were obtained from two hospitals in Massachusetts. Job titles were classified into five SES strata on the basis of educational requirements and responsibilities: administrators, professionals, semiprofessionals, skilled and semiskilled workers. 13 selected psychosocial, ergonomic and organisational exposures were assigned to the hospital jobs through the national O*NET database. Rates of injury were analysed as frequency records using the Poisson regression, with job title as the unit of analysis. The risk of injury was modelled using SES alone, each exposure variable alone and then each exposure variable in combination with SES.

Results: An overall annual injury rate of 7.2 per 100 full-time workers was estimated for the two hospitals combined. All SES strata except professionals showed a significant excess risk of injury compared with the highest SES category (administrators); the risk was highest among semiskilled workers (RR 5.3, p<0.001), followed by nurses (RR 3.7, p<0.001), semiprofessionals (RR 2.9, p = 0.006) and skilled workers (RR 2.6, p = 0.01). The risk of injury was significantly associated with each exposure considered except pause frequency. When workplace exposures were introduced in the regression model together with SES, four remained significant predictors of the risk of injury (decision latitude, supervisor support, force exertion and temperature extremes), whereas the RR related to SES was strongly reduced in all strata, except professionals.

Conclusions: A strong gradient in the risk of injury by SES was reported in a sample population of hospital workers, which was greatly attenuated by adjusting for psychosocial and ergonomic workplace exposures, indicating that a large proportion of that gradient can be explained by differences in working conditions.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.



Anonymous said...

2) The majority of longevity research has shown a linkage between restricted calorie diets and long life--which may or may not be tied to weight... The Okinawan populations are the primary example and inspiration for this research. I have never seen research on "slim" versus "middling" weights. Usually, scientists define their terms less arbitrarily. But, actually, if you are talking about "middling " weight, that wouldn't be obesity. Obesity is not a few extra pounds. It starts at 20% excess body weight (overweight--used to be obese) and anything above 30% is obese (an extra 47 lbs on someone who is healthiest at 150. So, the epidemic (and I don't like that word b/c it isn't a disease) isn't about longevity or people with a few extra pounds around the middle. Obesity (not middling weight) takes years, decades off peoples' lives.

3) The jury is out on the calorie issue. KIKO is just not workable. There is a tremendous amount of research on how sugars and fats are processed in the body depending on what things they are ingested with and what kinds they are. For instance, the sugar in an apple is much less concentrated that table sugar and is ingested with fiber.

4). A Big Mac is not simply the things you list. Even McDs has had to fess up to a large number of additives and also unintentional additives (check out the meat-packing industry in this country...). If you ate a piece of meat from a wild animal, it would contain the chemical products in the McDs burger. Same with the bread etc.

5) Actually, what we need is sodium, something that was relatively hard to come by in the past in large amounts. Salt is sodium chloride. And, too much of it can be very harmful--just like too little sodium can be harmful. How many average Americans lose a lot of sodium sweating--so few people exercise and most people use AC in hot weather. Inuit, (not Eskimos) and other Arctic populations living traditional lifestyles eat a ton of protein (some fat but mostly protein) from fish and seal. They are also highly active throughout the day--sometimes needing twice as much the average calorie intake due to high energy expenditure. Fat with exercise is fine. Roasts cooked at home don't really have huge amounts of fat unless you get a cheap cut or back.

7). The component of obesity attributable to genetics is about 1%. A new study on a particular gene showed an influence of 20% (but this gene is very rare and wouldn't explain the majority of cases today. What is not readily changeable is metabolism--excessive weight causes an epigenetic change in the body that uses calories more efficiently (e.g., makes it good at storing fat and resistant to losing it) but that is behaviorally induced by weight gain and retention.

8). All fats are good, like anything in moderation. Margarine isn't food though. It is a chemical compound.

jonjayray said...

I approved the above unreferenced assertions for publication more out of amusements than anything else.

His concluding assertion shows that he is just another food nut.

ALL foods are chemicals. Margarine is a food primarily derived from animal fat.