Electromagnetic Fields Are Form of Environmental Pollution A Critical Challenge For the Nursing Profession
An Interview with Catherine Dodd PhD
Catherine Dodd PhD, RN FAAN is a nurse with extensive policy experience championing environmental health issues. She is former Chief of Staff for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Deputy Chief of Staff for Health and Human Services to San Francisco Mayor (now California Governor Newsom) and was former Director Region IX USDHHS under President Clinton.
Dodd recently co-authored a Chapter on Electromagnetic Fields with Theodora Scarato, EHT Executive Director in the Textbook of Environmental Health in Nursing of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.
“My career has been devoted to ensuring equal access to quality person centered care. I have expertise in well-being, environmental health, social determinants of health, mindful leadership, happiness, healing circles, and end of life/palliative care. I also have expertise in public policy, health benefits design, coordinated care and health care administration.”
Dodd is a Board Member of Commonweal and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare. She is Advisor to Families Advocating for Chemical and Toxic Safety FACTS, State Federal Policy Consultant, Sonoma Safe Ag Safe Schools SASS and Member of the Nurses for America Core Committee.
The wireless revolution and the expansion of the internet of things is rapidly increasing our exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs) now considered a new form of environmental pollution (Russell, 2018, Bandara & Carpenter, 2018). Health and medical professionals recommend that we reduce these EMF exposures because of a growing body of research that documents adverse biological effects from low level exposures (Miller, 2019).
As with other environmental toxins, the developing fetus is particularly sensitive to exposure during critical developmental windows. Although more research needs to be done to fully understand the risk during windows of vulnerability, research on pregnant women has linked prenatal cell phone radiation exposure to oxidative stress and DNA damage in cord blood (Bektas et al., 2021); increased risk for miscarriage (Mahmoudabadi et al., 2015), lower birth weight (Lu et al., 2017), fetal growth impacts (Boileau et al., 2020), and preterm birth (Tsarna et al., 2019); as well as emotional/behavioral problems (Divan et al., 2012, Sudan et al., 2016) and hyperactivity (Birks et al., 2017) in their children. Animal studies have linked prenatal wireless exposure to DNA damage (Smith-Roe et al., 2020), brain damage (Tan et al., 2017), memory problems (Shahin et al., 2018) and hyperactivity (Aldad et al., 2012).
A Kaiser Foundation Research Institute team took measurements of the magnetic field ELF-EMF exposure of pregnant women and followed their pregnancies and subsequent birth and health of their children over time. They published a series of studies documenting links between higher prenatal magnetic field exposure (ELF-EMF) and miscarriage (Li et al., 2017) as well as ADHD (Li et al., 2020), obesity (Li et al., 2012), and asthma (Li et al., 2011) in children exposed prenatally.