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Some Fundamental Aspects of Biological Effects of Extremely Low Frequency (ELF)

  • W. Ross Adey
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 49)

Abstract

Environmental ELF fields in the spectrum below 100 Hz are an intrinsic aspect of the normal terrestrial environment. The entire gamut of terrestrial organisms from bacteria to man have evolved in this unceasing barrage of electromagnetic activity. Coupling of fields at these frequencies to tissues will be weak in comparison with radio or microwave fields having the same electric gradients in air, whether the tissues be in the near field of man-made devices, with direct capacitive coupling, or in the far field of propagating ELF disturbances, such as the Schumann resonances that encircle the earth as true Maxwellian radiation. Thus, the expected levels of induced components of environmental fields in the tissues of man exposed to a 10 kV/m power line field at 50 or 60 Hz would be in the range of 1.0 mV/cm. In assessing possible biological effects, the level of this induced gradient in extracellular fluid must be equated with the possibilities of direct modification of cell membrane potentials, where these membrane potentials are vastly greater, typically of the order of 105 V/cm. Since this clear disparity in gradients between the components of imposed fields and the membrane potential has been long known, it has been assumed that interactions were extremely unlikely.

Keywords

Plasma Oscillation Electric Organ Electric Organ Discharge Schumann Resonance Weak Electric Field 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Ross Adey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Veterans Administration HospitalLoma LindaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Physiology and SurgeryLoma Linda University, School of MedicineLoma LindaUSA

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