The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life

The five-hundred-page book, The Invisible Rainbow: A History of Electricity and Life, explores the relationship between electricity and health. The author, Arthur Firstenberg, makes a connection between poor health and the rise of electricity, radio, TV, and cell phones.

Firstenberg tends to focus on the single factor electromagnetic frequency (EMF) as a cause of poor health. I believe that many of the health conditions which he attributes to EMF are really just the medicalization of everyday problems in life. He does, however, give some notable examples in the book of poor health that seem to come from the introduction of EMF. For example, Thomas Edison began experiencing extreme fatigue after doing experiments with electricity and the light bulb. The author also says that telegraph operators were well known to suffer from severe heart problems.

Firstenberg gives a few notable examples about EMF and the animal kingdom. He writes that the collapse of the bee population in recent years is related to EMF. He also points out that prior to cell phones homing pigeons had an easier time. In the past, at homing pigeon competitions, most of the birds would eventually make it home. Now, only about half do.

There are many interesting correlations between poor health and EMFs in the book. The author makes claims that seem a bit wild to me, but I’ve never explored this area of health, so I don’t know how much truth there may be in his claims.

As with everything there are opportunity costs. Putting my cell phone away from my body when not using it makes sense to me, but stopping using electricity altogether does not. It is an interesting book for further contemplation.

Below I’ve linked a discussion with the author of the book and a video about some of the potential harms of EMFs.

A discussion with Arthur Firstenberg
Potential Harms of EMFs

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