Friday, May 6, 2022

Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill? How Electricity and Magnetism Affect Our Health

Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill? by Brad Roth superimposed on Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.
Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill?
How Electricity and Magnetism Affect Our Health
by Brad Roth
Big News! This week Springer published my new book: Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill? How Electricity and Magnetism Affect Our Health. This book is different from Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology: it’s short (122 pages), uses no math, and is aimed at a general audience. Readers of this blog may find parts of the book familiar; over the last couple years I’ve written posts that served as first drafts of some sections. Below is an excerpt from the Introduction.
This book is about electric and magnetic fields, and their effect on your body. We will examine the use of magnets for pain relief, the risk of power line magnetic fields, the safety of cell phones, and the possibility that microwave weapons are responsible for the Havana syndrome. Many medical treatments are based on electromagnetism, including well established ones like heart pacemakers and neural prostheses, and more questionable ones such as bone healing, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and transcranial direct current stimulation. Innumerable books and articles have been written about each of these topics; my goal in this book is to examine them together, to get the big picture.

This book is not a research monograph. It presents no original discoveries and makes no attempt to be comprehensive. Moreover, it omits numerous details and technicalities that experts often argue about. It does, however, try to offer an overall view of the field that is accurate.

My target readers are nonscientists: journalists, politicians, teachers, students, and anyone who has heard about electric and magnetic fields interacting with biological tissue and wants to learn more. I use no mathematics, avoid jargon, and employ abbreviations only when repeating the same mouthful of words over and over again becomes tedious. I tried my best to make the book understandable to a wide audience….

Sometimes the effect of electric and magnetic fields is controversial. For any debate, I have tried to present both sides. Nevertheless, readers will soon catch on that I’m a skeptic. Each chapter title is a question, of which my answer is usually “probably not” or “no.”
Here is the Table of Contents.
  1. Introduction 
  2. Can Magnets Cure All Your Ills? 
  3. Can a 9-Volt Battery Make You Smarter? 
  4. Do Power Lines Cause Cancer? 
  5. Will Electrical Stimulation Help Your Aching Back? 
  6. Is Your Cell Phone Killing You? 
  7. Did 5G Cell Phone Radiation Cause Covid-19? 
  8. Did Cuba Attack America with Microwaves? 
  9. Is That Airport Security Scanner Dangerous? 
  10. Conclusion

Although Russ Hobbie is not a coauthor on my new book, readers familiar with IPMB will see his influence on each page. In one of our last email exchanges before he passed away, I sent Russ an early draft of the book and he claimed to love it (that may have been Russ being kind, as he always was).


Listen to me read the final chapter of Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill?


  1. Replies
    1. Like in So Simple and Beginning, I avoided equations in this general audience book (the only equations to be found are Maxwell's equations written on a tee shirt).

  2. Harriet Hall (the SkepDoc) reviewed my book "Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill?". She wrote "this book is an essential reference that would be a great addition to every skeptic’s bookshelf."

  3. See the reivew of "Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill?" in the September, 2022 issue of the American Journal of Physics.