Smelters & Air Pollution

Smelters & Air Pollution

Magda Havas began research on acid rain and metal pollution in 1975 and worked at the Smoking Hills in the Canadian arctic, in Ontario near the INCO and Falconbridge metal smelters, and at Hubbard Brook in New Hampshire. She was Science Advisor to the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain and her research (and that of others) helped bring in clean air legislation (Eastern Canadian Acid Rain Program) in 1985 that reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by 30% and lead to improvements in air and water quality and ultimately resulted in the recovery of lakes, which she also studied. Her paper “Red Herrings in Acid Rain Research” confronted the misconceptions that were being perpetrated about acid rain and its effects.

Electrosmog and Electrosensitivity

High Voltage Transmission Lines

Power Lines

Dr. Havas’s research since the 1990s  is concerned with the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution including radio frequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current. She works with diabetics as well as with individuals who have multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and those who are electrically hypersensitive. She also conducts research on sick building syndrome as it relates to power quality in schools.

University Course on Electrosmog and ElectroHyperSensitivity

Since the mid 1990s Dr. Havas has taught about electromagnetic pollution in several courses at Trent University  and has supervised Reading Courses and Honours Thesis Projects in this area.  One of the courses deals specifically with the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation.  This is one of the few courses available in North America at a senior undergraduate level critically examining the effects of non-ionizing radiation.

Science & Policy

Dr. Havas helped draft Resolution 15 that was passed by the International Association of Firefighters in August 2004 in Boston. She also helped draft a Ground Current Pollution Bill 143 that unanimously passed its second reading in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. This lead to amendments to the Distribution System Code introduced by the Ontario Energy Board to help mitigate ground current problems in rural Ontario.

Lectures, Expert Testimony, Science Advisor

She has given in excess of 360 presentations in more than 30 countries and at more than 24 universities/colleges on her research.  Many of these presentations are at medical and environmental conferences.  She also is invited to talk to public interests groups in North America and Europe.  Dr. Havas provides expert testimony on the health effects of electromagnetic pollution as they relate to occupational exposure, high voltage transmission lines, magnetic fields, and both cell phone and broadcast antennas.

Dr. Havas has been an advisor to several public interest groups and educational groups concerned with the health of the environment. She is currently science advisor on EMF-related issues to several non-profit organizations including: The Canadian Initiative to Stop Wireless Electric and Electromagnetic Pollution (WEEPInitiative); the Council on Wireless Technology Impacts (CWTI) and the EMR Policy Institute (EMRPI) in the US; HESE and the EM Radiation Research Trust (EMRRT) in the UK; International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) in the EU; and the Nationaal Platform Stralingsrisicos (NPS) in the Netherlands, to name a few.


Dr. Havas wrote, with Camilla Rees, Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution and has co-edited three books and has more than 180 publications that range from peer-reviewed scientific research to chapters in books to open letters and publications in the popular media.


Resent Publications include:  Healing with Light; Electromagnetic Hygiene; • Carcinogen effects of Non-Ionizing Radiation:  A Paradigm Shift; When Theory and Observation Collide:  Can non-ionizing radiation cause cancer?; The Role of Electromagnetic Pollution in Cancer Promotion; Dirty Electricity, Radiofrequency Radiation, Flicker, and Spectral Quality generated by Different types of Energy Efficient Lighting; Case Study: Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy Relieves Pleural Effusion Following Open Heart Surgery Pilot Study: Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMFT) Alleviates Symptoms of Osteoarthritis; The Role of Electrosmog and Electrotherapy in Diagnosing and Treating Diabetics with Electrical Hypersensitivity; Effects of Wi-Fi Radiation on Germination and Growth of Broccoli, Pea, Red Clover and Garden Cress Seedlings: A Partial Replication Study; Monitoring and remediation of on-farm and off-farm ground current measured as step potential on a Wisconsin dairy farm: A case study; Dirty Electricity within the Intermediate Frequency Range (IF) may be the Missing Link explaining the increase in Chronic Illness.

Studies on the Heart, Blood, and Autonomic Nervous System

Her earlier research, documents definitive evidence that radiation from a cordless phone, common in many homes, causes heart arrhythmia and tachycardia (rapid heart rate) and alters the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system similar to a “fight-or-flight” stress response.  It is the first study of its kind demonstrating such a dramatic and repeatable response to pulsed-microwave radiation at levels 0.5% of federal guidelines in both Canada and the U.S.  This double-blind, peer-reviewed study in the European Journal of Oncology LIbrary Vol 5 2010, is called “Provocation Study using Heart Rate Variability shows Radiation from 2.4 GHz Cordless Phone affects Autonomic Nervous System.”  It clearly shows that some individuals are hypersensitive to this radiation and react immediately and only during active provocation.  There is also evidence that exposure to Wi-Fi radiation causes blood to coagulate in some people, known as rouleau formation (Radiation from wireless technology affects the blood, the heart and the autonomic nervous system, Reviews on Environmental Health 28 (2-3), 75-84).

Studies on the Diabetes 

Dr. Havas has worked with diabetics and learned that those who are electrically hypersensitive have difficulty controlling their blood sugar when exposed to electromagnetic pollution.  They react to dirty electricity and require more insulin when exposed to this pollutant.  Filtering the home environment to decrease dirty electricity often results in reduced blood sugar and the need for less medication.

Studies on Multiple Schlerosis

It turns out  that some people with MS who are also sensitive to electromagnetic pollution have worse symptoms when they are exposed to dirty electricity or poor power quality.


B.Sc. Honors Biology, University of Toronto, 1971-1975
Ph.D. Department of Botany, University of Toronto, 1975-1980

Academic History

Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada

2016–present: Trent School of the Environment
2002–present: Member, Centre for Health Studies
1995–97 & 92–94: Board of Governors
1993–94: Member of Senate
1990–present: Cross Appointed to Biology Department
1989–present: Associate Professor, Environmental & Resource Studies

University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

1985–89: Cross Appointed to Faculty of Forestry,
1983–1988: NSERC University Research Fellow/Assistant Professor, Instititue of Environmental Studies

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

1981–83: NSERC NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, Section of Ecology & Systematics (with Professor Gene E. Likens)

Professional Roles


Advisor, HESE UK (2008-present)Advisor, International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS), European Union (2007-present)
EM Radiation Trust, UK (2007-present)
Nationaal Platform Stralingscrisico’s in the Netherlands (2007-present)
International Commission on Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS), European Union (2006-present)
Great Lakes Science Advisory Board Working Group on Emerging Issues, US/Canada International Joint Commission (1996-97)
Environmental Science Program for Tribhuvan University, Nepal (1995)
Forest Sub-Committee, US/Canada Scientific Committee on Acid Rain, Huntington Forest, NY, (1981)
Acid Rain Coalition, Joint US/Canadian Committee on Acid Rain (1980).
Co-organizer (with T.C. Hutchinson),
NATO Advanced Institute Workshop on Effects of Acidic Deposition on the Terrestrial Ecosystem, Toronto, (1978)


Advisor, WEEP-Initiative, (2005-present)
Reviewer, National Policy Research Awards (2002)
Associate Director, KEY Foundation (Knowledge of the Environment for Youth) (1993-98)
Editor, Environmental Newsletter (KEYnotes) sent to 17,000 educators across Canada (1991-93)
Director, KEY Foundation (Knowledge of the Environment for Youth) (1985-1993
Member, Science and Technology Advisory Committee,Canadian Broadcast Corporation ( CBC) (1988-90)
Coordinator, Twenty-Second Canadian Symposium on Water Pollution Research, University of Toronto, (1987)


Member, Environmental Appeal Board, Ministry of the Environment, Ontario (1988-90)


Judge, Science Fair, Trent University, Peterborough, ON.(1992, 1998, 2000)
Member, Co-ordinating Committee, Conference on Environmental Health and Alternative Medicine (1996)
Member, Mayor’s Committee on Sustainable Development, Peterborough, ON (1989-91)