What is a safe distance to live from power lines?

How Far Does EMF Radiation From Power Lines Travel?

The radiation from power lines are categorized as

The radiation from power lines are categorized as MF radiation (Magnetic Field radiation) and these waves can travel short or long distances depending on the number of volts involved.

With expensive and sensitive equipment you can measure the magnetic fields from distances longer than the 700 feet we mentioned above (213 meters) but you shouldn’t be worried about the radiation that falls outside this distance. The effect wears quickly off when you distance yourself to the source of EMF so distance is always the best solution if you cannot turn the signal of (or block it).

When you are outside the 700 feet (213 meters) distance, the radiation level from the magnetic field will typically be less than 0.5 mG.

However, if you are hypersensitive to EMF, you might need to get the levels even lower. You will probably have to reduce the radiation to around 0.1 mG which is possible when you use more complicated means of protections. Such as:

  • EMF protective paint on your walls (especially the bedroom)
  • Transparent protection film on the windows

But be aware that these are quite expensive and radical ways to protect yourself.

Before you focus on external factors, such as high-voltage power line radiation, you should always start by focusing on the devices and Wi-Fi signals in your house. These are much easier to control and turn off.

So even though the high voltage power lines look really alarming, you should start by focusing on your phone, tablets, laptops, wifis, etc. These signals will travel much shorter than the EMS from the powerlines. But they are more important because they are closer to your body so they can do more damage.

We always want to shield the bedroom in our houses the most. This is because when the body is in rest mode during the night we need to be able to rest as much as possible. This is vital for all the basic functions and the body. When we sleep at night, the body will regenerate itself and we should give it the best possible conditions to do so.

All of us are constantly being exposed to EMF’s in our cities and even the suburbs. So it’s really important to create a safe and radiation-free environment in our bedrooms in order for our bodies to get the rest it needs.

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What Is A Safe Distance From A High Voltage Powerline?

The answer to this is tough because there have been no official guidelines distributed by governmental agencies as there have been for cellphone radiation limits. Some guidelines have been given by groups like OSHA for minimum distances to stay away from powerlines, however, my interpretation of these is more to mitigate electrocution risk then magnetic radiation exposure.

Those minimum distances are outlined below.

FPL Power Line Voltages                 OSHA Minimum Approach Distance* (OSHA 1926.1408 Table A)
0 to 50kV10 feet
Over 50kV to 200kV15 feet
Over 200kV to 350kV20 feet
Over 350kV to 500kV25 feet
Over 500kV to 750kV35 feet

However, you can see that these distances are not at all substantial, and certainly, do not reflect distances from a powerline that people should live.

So, let’s look at one other diagram that is widely referenced. It shows potential health effects from living near a high voltage power line. It outlines specific potential issues associated with various distances, take a look:

Now, these are certainly not guaranteed outcomes b

Now, these are certainly not guaranteed outcomes but are issues that have been associated.

Based on this chart, and based on a high voltage powerline structure rated at 765 kilovolts (kV), you should be at least 250 meters away. However, remember when it comes to any type of EMF radiation, including magnetic radiation from a powerline, the more distance, the safer.

In fact, the level of protection that distance gives you is exponential due to the inverse square law of physics. This law essentially states that as you double your distance from a source of radiation, you quarter your exposure to it.

Another factor you need to consider is the “step down” power distribution that occurs in electrical grids. Meaning that the magnetic field radiation emitted from the lines will be greatest near the generating station and its substations, and lower at the end, which would be the powerlines near your home.

So, if you happen to live near a power generating station, your exposure would likely be much greater then living near a simple power line.

Alright, now that we understand why living near to, or next to, a power line can be dangerous and have talked about what a safe distance is, let’s talk about how we can protect ourselves.

What is an Acceptable Amount of EMF Radiation?

 

 

Regardless of how hard you work to protect yourself and your house from electromagnetic radiation, you will probably never eliminate it completely in today’s world. 

The BioInitiative Report, a holistic report, and collection of studies on the hazards of electromagnetic radiation suggests 0.5 to 1 mG as the maximum safe amount for places where you normally live and reside (trust me, this is difficult to achieve). 

However, you should note that even this limit may be enough to lead to symptoms if you are particularly sensitive to EMF (EHS – Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity).

 

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Do power lines decrease the value of a property?

Since the science cannot provide a link between li

Since the science cannot provide a link between living near to power lines and ill-health, the real issue is down to emotions – and it is this that affects the price of a property close to a power line.

That’s because for someone selling a property close to powerlines, they may find there are fewer people willing to buy, so the house price may be reduced to reflect this.

Various surveys put this price reduction at between 2% and 9%.

Potential homebuyers can check the concentration of the electromagnetic fields and also where underground electricity cables are for a substation before they buy what could be their dream home.

My House Has EMR Problems Does That Create A Problem When I Sell?

This is one of those areas that can be both a moral and a financial dilemma.

A moral dilemma because you know that the house has a dangerous level of EMR.

Even with an EMR level well below the maximum exposure standard you know that someone living in the house long enough is at risk of disease.

This is a financial dilemma because more and more people are realizing that there can be a hidden danger living in a house close to power lines.

These houses are getting to be harder to sell and they do not bring the same price as an identical house away from power lines.

The sad part is this dilemma is not your fault and it is not the fault of the prospective purchaser of the house.

Nevertheless it puts you in the position of having to decide what strategy to take that will leave you at peace with your conscience.

Some people might brush off this problem and say it is a Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware situation.

Legally they would be correct.

The house falls within the legal maximum exposure standard.

Other people would not be able to live with themselves if they learned that someone who bought the house later developed a serious disease from living in it.

Some might compensate for this knowledge by selling the house at a lower price because of its proximity to power lines and knowing the EMR level could cause problems in the future.

How you respond to this problem, if it is the situation you are in, is not for me to dictate.

What About Transformers?

Transformers are electrical machines that are responsible for transferring electricity among circuits with different voltage levels while ensuring no change in frequency. 

They also help boost efficiency and maintain the safety of power systems. 

However, despite their function, they can actually pose as much danger as power lines.

Living near a transformer can also make you vulnerable to being exposed to high EMR levels. 

The reason behind this is that wires from transformers carry out more electricity. More than that, transformers also tend to boost power, making the radiation stronger. 

Being in close proximity to transformers, especially during long periods, can expose you to low-frequency magnetic fields. 

When looking at a home that you plan to purchase, I would definitely take into account whether or not it’s located near electrical transformers.

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The Problem with Government’s Maximum Exposure Standards

The government is responsible for setting exposure standards to ensure citizens are safe from strong EMFs associated with power lines. 

Most of the countries have set their standard for safe exposure at 1000 milligauss. 

However, this regulation was put into effect before technological advancements occurred. 

Modern technology has changed the way electromagnetic radiation acts, which means safety levels have changed.

The problem is the government has not updated the maximum safe exposure standards despite rising concerns about its effect on people’s health. 

In fact, despite the limit of 1000 milligauss, regulations have been very slack regarding companies who don’t observe this standard. 

For decades, the government has allowed regular power lines to be placed close to residential areas because they are following the results of outdated research, which doesn’t consider recent links of power lines to newfound diseases.

Even though many people want the government to take the blame, the truth is they probably won’t. 

Admitting this mistake would not only reveal their carelessness, but a chain reaction of consequences would follow. 

Lawsuits that would stem from such an admission would cripple the economy due to the number of uninhabitable houses it would result in.

Health Risks of Electrical Fields

Despite ample public discourse about the health risks of electrical and magnetic fields, little to no conclusive evidence exists that these are harmful in quantities resulting from exposures to everyday sources, including properly installed high-tension wires in residential and commercial environments.

In electric fields that are many powers of ten stronger than those that usually exist beneath run-of-the-mill power lines, people who touch a large metal object, such as a bus, might experience a transient shock. Otherwise, no health effects have been reported. The same is true of magnetic fields, although some studies have identified small changes in cellular calcium levels, hormone production and cell growth.

There are people who claim to be affected by a condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, but concrete evidence of negative effects still hasn’t been found in research. Symptoms of EHS range from nausea and rashes to muscle aches. The World Health Organization noted in 2005 that research has been unable to replicate symptoms in individuals with EHS; in multiple studies, the subjects were unable to detect electromagnetic fields with any more accuracy than subjects who did not have EHS. Yet in 2015, a literature review in “Reviews on Environmental Health” described mixed results, with some of the reviewed studies finding no link and others finding minute biological changes after exposure.

Does Living Next to Power Lines Cause Cancer?

First, power lines give off very strong EMF radiation and what we know is that electromagnetic radiation from power lines has been associated with childhood cancers, glioma and other brain tumors, and much more. 

This is a subject that has long been studied and validated and that we do not talk about enough. 

In the late 1970s, two researchers named Wertheimer and Leeper examined children in different areas and compared several factors. Ultimately, they found that in Colorado 1976-1977, an excess of electrical wiring patterns was observed near the homes of children with cancer, indicating high levels of current flow compared to control home children.

The result was strongest in children who had lived in the same location their entire lives and it seemed to be dose-dependent. It didn’t seem to be a neighborhood artifact, family structure, social class, or street congestion. 

 

They found that children who lived near power lines for most of their lives were three times more likely to get cancer. In the 1980s, D.A. Savitz deduced that nearly 15% of all childhood cancers are most likely due to high exposure to electromagnetic radiation from overhead lines. 

 

According to a study in the British Medical Journal, there is a link between childhood leukemia and the proximity of the birth address to power lines. Ultimately, they inferred that children born in close proximity to power lines are twice as likely to get leukemia.

How much do power lines decrease value?

How much power lines decrease the value of a home varies, but many studies have been done on this issue and can give you a ballpark idea of what to expect. 

A 2018 study from the Journal of Real Estate Research found that vacant lots near high-voltage power lines sell for 44.9% less than equivalent lots that aren’t located near power lines. If you take a step back, a lot that is located within 1,000 feet of transmission lines tends to sell for 17.9% less. 

Other studies confirm similar numbers, but of course a home value is determined by many factors. 

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How Far From Power Lines Is Safe To Live?

This type of EMF can travel very far compared to other EMF sources such as routers, Bluetooth, smart meters, etc. So it’s really important to identify these transmission lines and make sure to block the radiation if you are staying too close to them.

But just how far should you get in order to avoid getting too much radiation?

It’s a tough question to answer.

You will find several examples of power lines that emit enough radiation to reach more than 700 feet (213 meters) but at this distance, you should expect the radiation level to have decreased significantly and be no more than around 0.5 mG.

This is below what we normally aim for as a limit for daily ELF radiation in our homes. Several specialists in the EMF space will tell you that 1 mG is a good number to aim for in your home. But if you are extra sensitive to make magnetic fields you will probably need to get as low as 0.1 mG.

Some people respond more to magnetic fields such as these we find around power lines and if you know you are sensitive to this stuff you probably need to get further away than 700 feet (213 meters).

The only right thing to do here is to either consult a professional Building Biologist. There are several hundreds of these people in North America so you should be able to find someone in your area. You can also start by doing your own readings on the radiation with an EMF meter.

If you are sensitive to this stuff or if you suspect that you are, you definitely need to own an EMF meter. We will come back to what an EMF meter is further down in the article.

How far away from power lines should you live?

Under the current laws, you will need to live at least 50 metres away from a power line as living within 50 metres is considered to be a safety risk.

And if you don’t see the power lines or substation on your home inspection, it is likely that a surveyor’s report will highlight the proximity of the lines or substation which may cause an issue with the mortgage provider.

For peace of mind, you can hire someone to carry out EMF readings – they will need a gaussmeter which will highlight that the EMF substantially reduces before the 50 metres threshold and continues falling the further away the reading is taken. The National Grid offers this service.

Acknowledgements

C.M.C. was also partially supported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (grant P30 CA16042). The Italy1 study was conducted by the National Cancer Institute of Milan, in collaboration with Health Local Unit (ASL) of Varese Province and of Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA—Varese Province). The main collaborators were Crosignani P., Borgini A., Bertoldi M., Codazzi T., Bianchi N., Rovelli A. and Porro E. The Norwegian study was conducted by the Cancer Registry of Norway and supported by the Research Council of Norway. The UK study was supported by Children with Cancer UK; see original paper for other acknowledgements. The Tasmanian study was partly supported by the David Collins Leukaemia Foundation, the Clifford Craig Medical Research Trust and the Royal Hobart Hospital Medical Research Foundation. Acknowledgements go to Ray Lowenthal, Konrad Jamrozik, Anne Piaszczyk and Jean Panton. The Brazilian study was conducted under the EMF Project-SP, P&D project, with resources allocated by the Brazilian Association for Electromagnetic Compatibility (ABRICEM), and performed at the University of São Paulo School of Public Health. Italy2 was supported by the non-profit Associazione Sostegno Oncologia Ematologia Pediatrica (ASOEP). This work was supported by the Electric Power Research Institute.

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Related Questions

What is a safe distance from Cell Towers?

A German study found people living within 400 meters (1312 feet) of a Cell Tower had 3 times as many new cancers as those living further away. http://www.emf-health.com/articles-celltower.htm

Based on this study I’d want to live more than a quarter mile (1320) feet from a Cell Tower.

Cell towers transmit radio frequency (RF) energy.

This is different from EMF (EMR) but it too can cause health problems.

Do solar panels give off EMF (EMR)?

Electricity generated by solar panels is usually low voltage DC electricity that does not generate much EMF (EMR).

But off grid solar power plants have an inverter which changes the DC electricity to AC electricity of the 120 volt variety to power electrical light and appliances.

In the process of converting DC to AC electricity some inverters create DE or dirty electricity which is a form of EMF.

The Sunny Boy Inverters made in Germany and the SMA label inverters are reported to cause less DE and therefore less EMF (EMR) than other brands.

You might want to get an EMF (EMR) reading on a gaussmeter before offering on an off grid home.

Some people very sensitive to EMF may not be able to live off grid with any level of comfort.

Just like they might not be able to live within the usual distances of power lines that give reduced EMF levels.

Are all Gaussmeters reliable?

No, not all gaussmeters give reliable information.

Some only measure a narrow band of EMF and miss significant amounts of EMF.

Some brands are more reliable than others.

Michael Neuert can help.

Quick Guide to Wifi Radiation Protection in Your Home or Office

Sep 12, 2019

Want to reduce your exposure to EMFs in the home? Follow this quick guide to WiFi radiation protection and take action today! Start reading

More Information:

National Cancer Institute: Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer World Health Organization: Radiation: Electromagnetic Fields

National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences: Electric & Magnetic Fields

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