[…] Americans were reluctant to turn them on or off for fear of getting shocks” (Brodeur, 1977, p. 1)
. This alone indicates just how much things have changed over the course of the past hundred plus years.
Radiotelephony /radiotelegraphy (long distance radio transmissions) didn’t become a reality until the years preceding WWI, and static proved problematic for many years. According to Brodeur, “in 1945 there were only 6 television stations in the country,” while, when he published The Zapping of America in 1997, “there [were] almost 1,000 of them transmitting at either very high or ultrahigh frequencies [….] [Morever,] at the end of the [Second World ] War, there were [only] 930 radio stations […] [while in 1997] there [were nearly 8,000 AM and FM stations” (Brodeur, 1997, 7). Today, there are far more stations—both radio and cable. Additionally, satellite radio, internet radio, streaming video and television, and wireless devices and communication abound.
Since the invention of electricity at the end of the nineteenth century, electrical radiation, the manufacture and use of electronic products, and the toxic chemicals and radiation produced by the disposal of these products have increased at a more and more rapid rate (for a discussion of the toxins and radiation from the disposal of electronics see: Grossman, 2007). Over the course of the last hundred years, and particularly, perhaps, over the course of the last few decades, electricity has evolved into a potential threat to our health and to the health of the flora and fauna around us.