Electromagnetism and Life

By Robert O. Becker

Paperback : 9780873955614, 211 pages, June 1982
Hardcover : 9780873955607, 211 pages, June 1982


The environment is now thoroughly polluted by man-made sources of electromagnetic radiation with frequencies and magnitudes never before present. Man's activities have probably changed the earth's electromagnetic background to a greater degree than they have changed any other natural physical attribute of the earth. The evidence now indicates that the present abnormal electromagnetic environment constitutes a significant health risk.

There are also positive aspects of the relationship between electromagnetism and life. Clinical uses of electromagnetic energy are increasing and promise to expand into important areas in the near future. This book synthesizes the various aspects of the role of electricity in biology.


"The book deals with a subject that has long been highly controversial, with the majority maintaining, as the authors indicate, that no adverse effects of the weaker electromagnetic fields were known. And yet, with the increasingly demonstrated natural roles of such fields in physiology and behavior, it has become evident that, with more knowledge, these fields can be manipulated for either good or evil. I am delighted to see a work prepared be an internationally recognized pioneer, along with a working colleague, on demonstrable effects of such fields. No one else in the United States is more qualified to evaluate the abundant medical research information that is available, particularly the voluminous Russian literature. Modern technology has been advancing so rapidly that adequate opportunity for cautionary investigations of the biological effects of the accompanying electromagnetic fields has been unavailable. Now, belatedly, scientists and the public must be told that the diverse electromagnetic advances have not come free; they are mixed blessings. And while science and industry vigorously promote the benefits of their products, far too little attention has been devoted to side-effects that are, not only often less than beneficial, but even harmful. Becker and Marino are generously performing an important public service. In a sense they are doing for electromagnetic pollution what Carson's Silent Spring did for the chemical. As the authors point out, public impatience is forcing a continuing role of man, and indeed all life, to serve as guinea pigs in a steadily ongoing experiment. It is critical that observations and experiments be always conducted and competently and objectively appraised. This requires knowledge such as this book provides. " — Frank A. Brown