Health Risks Associated with Living Near High-Voltage Power Lines

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I've never found any conclusive evidence suggesting that it does. Have there been any independant studies conducted?
 

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  • #2
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It's bogus nonsense. It was started by a reporter who misrepresented a paper she read and the article got published anyways. People belived it, and now its stuck in the publics mind.
 
  • #3
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The health risk issue has been argued back and forth for years. The only thing certain is that the EMF from high voltage power lines will light fluorescent tubes on the ground below.

http://www.doobybrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/electromagnetic-fluorescent-bulb-light.jpg [Broken]
 
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  • #4
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The health risk issue has been argued back and forth for years. The only thing certain is that the EMF from high voltage power lines will light fluorescent tubes on the ground below.

http://www.doobybrain.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/electromagnetic-fluorescent-bulb-light.jpg [Broken]
No, the certain thing is that it does nothing. The tubes are lighting up from the EMF field, that doesnt mean jack squat. (But sure does look cool!)
 
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  • #5
drankin
No, the certain thing is that it does nothing. The tubes are lighting up from the EMF field, that doesnt mean jack squat.
Sounds like free lighting to me. Would this be a way to conserve energy? Live under high voltage?
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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Magnetic Fields and Cancer in Children Residing Near Swedish High-voltage Power Lines
...When historical calculations were used as exposure assessment for childhood leukemia with cutoff points at 0.1 and 0.2 microtesla (µT), the estimated relative risk increased over the two exposure levels and was estimated at 2.7 (95% confidence interval (Cl) 1.0–6.3) for 0.2 µT and over; p for trend = 0.02. When the upper cutoff point was shifted to 0.3 µT, the relative risk was 3.8 (95% Cl 1.4–9.3); p for trend = 0.005. These results persisted when adjustment for potential confounding factors was made. For central nervous system tumor, lymphoma, and all childhood cancers combined, there was no support for an association.
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/138/7/467

Effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields from High-power Lines on Female Urinary Excretion of 6-Sulfatoxymelatonin
...After adjustment for other factors associated with low melatonin secretion, such as medication use or light exposure, nighttime concentration of 6-OHMS was similar in the two groups. When either 24-hour or sleep-time exposure to magnetic field or electric field measurements was used, no exposure-effect relation was evident. However, the trend of decreasing 6-OHMS concentration with age was more pronounced for women living near the lines, as was a lower 6-OHMS concentration in women with high body mass index. Chronic residential exposure to magnetic fields from high-power lines may accentuate the decrease in melatonin secretion observed in some vulnerable subgroups of the population.
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/154/7/601

Childhood cancer in relation to distance from high voltage power lines in England and Wales: a case-control study
Conclusions There is an association between childhood leukaemia and proximity of home address at birth to high voltage power lines, and the apparent risk extends to a greater distance than would have been expected from previous studies. About 4% of children in England and Wales live within 600 m of high voltage lines at birth. If the association is causal, about 1% of childhood leukaemia in England and Wales would be attributable to these lines, though this estimate has considerable statistical uncertainty. There is no accepted biological mechanism to explain the epidemiological results; indeed, the relation may be due to chance or confounding.
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/330/7503/1290

Magnetic Fields, leukemia, and central nervous system tumors in Swedish adults residing near high-voltage power lines
. For calculated magnetic field levels of 0.2 μT or more closest in time to diagnosis, we found an elevated relative risk (RR) for acute myeloid leukemia [RR = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.8-3.5] and chronic myeloid leukemia [RR = 1.7; 95% CI = 0.7-3.8]. Using cumulative exposure for the 15 years preceding diagnosis, we found relative risk estimates for acute and chronic myeloid leukemia of 2.3 (95% CI = 1.0-4.6) and 2.1 (95% CI = 0.9-4.7), respectively, for the highest exposure category. For chronic lymphatic leukemia and for central nervous system tumors, relative risk estimates were close to or below unity
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3702205

Magnetic fields and breast cancer in Swedish adults residing near high-voltage power lines
...For calculated magnetic field levels ≥0.2 microtesla (μT) closest in time before diagnosis, we estimated the relative risk to be 1.0 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.7-1.5] for women and 2.1 (95% CI = 0.3-14.1) for men. Women younger than 50 years of age at diagnosis had a relative risk of 1.8 (95% CI = 0.7-4.3). For women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, the relative risk was estimated at 1.6 (95% CI = 0.6-4.1), using the exposure cutoff point ≥0.1 μT. Among estrogen receptor-positive women younger than 50 years at diagnosis, the relative risk increased to 7.4 (95% CI = 1.0-178.1).
http://www.jstor.org/pss/3702709

Risk of childhood leukemia in areas passed by high power lines.
There has been an emerging concern about possible health risks posed by exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF). The incidence of childhood leukemia near high-power transmission lines has only rarely been investigated. A total of 67 cases of childhood leukemia (aged 0-14 years) were reported to the Cancer Registration Center in Taiwan between 1979 and 1988 from the five districts in the Taipei Metropolitan Area, where at least one elementary school campus is passed over by a high power transmission line (69-345 KV). The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of childhood leukemia in the five districts was found to be significantly elevated (SIR = 1.49, 95% confidence interval: 1.16-1.91). Younger children seemed more susceptible to EMF exposure as indicated by the fact that children aged 0-4 years in two of the five districts showed significantly elevated SIRs compared to older ones. The unusually high SIRs for children of age 5-9 and 10-14 years in one of these districts (SIR = 4.38 and 3.68 respectively) deserves further investigation.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8047676
 
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  • #7
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Sounds like free lighting to me. Would this be a way to conserve energy? Live under high voltage?
You could, but I wouldn't recommend it. If one of those were to fail and fall on your house, you and you family would be burned to a crisp.

Plus, no one would buy it because "Living under power lines causes cancer, you know"..same as masterbating makes you go blind.
 
  • #8
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  • #9
f95toli
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Getting cancer living under power lines is crapola crackpot science.
I don't think that is a fair assessment. I agree that that more studies are needed .
However, there are a few significant differences between this and people who are "allergic" to cell phones etc. One is that the fields we are talking about are actually quite strong (>0.1 uT) meaning it is at least possible that there might be an effect. Another difference is that the frequencies (50/60 Hz) are so low that the field will penetrate the whole body more or less uniformly.
Note that even serious studies are only seeing a small increase; and since leukemia is (fortunately) quite rare it is quite difficult to show conclusivly if there is a heightened risk; if there is it is definitely very low but I can see why it would make sense to avoid building houses in areas with high fields.

see e.g.
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/
 
  • #10
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I don't think that is a fair assessment. I agree that that more studies are needed .
However, there are a few significant differences between this and people who are "allergic" to cell phones etc. One is that the fields we are talking about are actually quite strong (>0.1 uT) meaning it is at least possible that there might be an effect. Another difference is that the frequencies (50/60 Hz) are so low that the field will penetrate the whole body more or less uniformly.
Note that even serious studies are only seeing a small increase; and since leukemia is (fortunately) quite rare it is quite difficult to show conclusivly if there is a heightened risk; if there is it is definitely very low but I can see why it would make sense to avoid building houses in areas with high fields.

see e.g.
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/emf/
I dont agree that more studies are needed. If the risk is very low, honestly, why do I care? I don't want to come off as smug, but in all honestly. If you dont have any strong evidence........

Im curious as to what is not 'fair' about what I posted?

Unfortunately, initial studies of the health effects of EMF did not provide
straightforward answers. The study of the possible health effects of EMF has been
particularly complex and results have been reviewed by expert scientific panels in
the United States and other countries
Really, then why the hell is NIH wasting my money on this phamplet of garbage?

Your link is the gift that keeps on giving

In 1999, at the conclusion of the EMF RAPID Program, the NIEHS reported to
the U.S. Congress that the overall scientific evidence for human health risk from
EMF exposure is weak. No consistent pattern of biological effects from exposure
to EMF had emerged from laboratory studies with animals or with cells.
Again, JUNK SCIENCE.

Then notice the nice use of the word "however" right after the line above

However, epidemiological studies (studies of disease incidence in human populations) had shown a fairly consistent pattern that associated potential EMF exposure with a
small increased risk for leukemia in children and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in
adults.
Really, a fairly consistent pattern? Then why the hell didnt the study show this?

Why dont we give money back to the F-22 and cancel money to these Bozos on this "research" - if you can call it that.
 
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  • #11
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I dont agree that more studies are needed. If the risk is very low, honestly, why do I care? I don't want to come off as smug, but in all honestly. If you dont have any strong evidence........
I would absolutely love to see you living under high voltage power lines. Nah don't worry, 110kV is as dangerous as a fluffy duck.
 
  • #12
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I would absolutely love to see you living under high voltage power lines. Nah don't worry, 110kV is as dangerous as a fluffy duck.
I would love it if you take the time to read what I posted. I just showed you why you can live under power lines. Did this fly over your head?
 
  • #13
Vanadium 50
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Here is the APS statement on this:

95.2 POWER LINE FIELDS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
(Adopted by Council on April 23, 1995)
(Reaffirmed by Council 15 April 2005)

Physicists are frequently asked to comment on the potential dangers of cancer from electromagnetic fields that emanate from common power lines and electrical appliances. While recognizing that the connection between power line fields and cancer is an area of continuing study by research workers in many disciplines in the United States and abroad, we believe that it is possible to make several observations based on the scientific evidence at this time. We also believe that, in the interest of making the best use of the finite resources available for environmental research and mitigation, it is important for professional organizations to comment on this issue.

The scientific literature and the reports of reviews by other panels show no consistent, significant link between cancer and power line fields. This literature includes epidemiological studies, research on biological systems, and analyses of theoretical interaction mechanisms. No plausible biophysical mechanisms for the systematic initiation or promotion of cancer by these power line fields have been identified. Furthermore, the preponderance of the epidemiological and biophysical/biological research findings have failed to substantiate those studies which have reported specific adverse health effects from exposure to such fields. While it is impossible to prove that no deleterious health effects occur from exposure to any environmental factor, it is necessary to demonstrate a consistent, significant, and causal relationship before one can conclude that such effects do occur. From this standpoint, the conjectures relating cancer to power line fields have not been scientifically substantiated.

These unsubstantiated claims, however, have generated fears of power lines in some communities, leading to expensive mitigation efforts, and, in some cases, to lengthy and divisive court proceedings. The costs of mitigation and litigation relating to the power line cancer connection have risen into the billions of dollars and threaten to go much higher. The diversion of these resources to eliminate a threat which has no persuasive scientific basis is disturbing to us. More serious environmental problems are neglected for lack of funding and public attention, and the burden of cost placed on the American public is incommensurate with the risk, if any.
When this was being debated, there were two studies that stuck in my mind (and maybe the APS web site has pointers to them). One was a meta-analysis, showing that yes, several studies showed a statistically significant correlation. About 10% of them showed up at the 90% confidence level, 5% at 95% and 2% at 98%. Of course, this is what one would expect from chance alone.

The other one was more interesting - the group was looking at cancer clusters and comparing them to a database of power line locations, and they thought they had a really striking correlation in one particular location. Only problem - the database was wrong and those power lines hadn't been built yet. So the correlation was actually with where the power lines were going to be.

So they looked into this a little more and discovered that the demographics for residents of houses near power lines is different than that of the surrounding communities: they tend to be poorer, have less health insurance, higher unemployment, and so forth. This was, in my mind, evidence that a correlation between power lines and health would not necessarily be causal: they might both be caused by a third effect (e.g. poverty).
 
  • #14
chroot
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Cyrus,

Please re-think the attitude you're displaying here. Your viewpoint is valid and appreciated, but we need you to be a little less antagonistic.

Also, purposefully misquoting people, as you did in post #8, is not acceptable. I'm going to add this to the guidelines for the site. Please do not do it again.

- Warren
 
  • #15
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Ok, thank you Warren.

Anywho. I will give you (Ivan) a nice link to Bob Park's website:

[1]http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN08/wn050208.html [Broken]

[2]http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN96/wn110196.html [Broken]

[3]http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN90/wn031690.html [Broken]

[4]http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/WN95/wn050595.html#2 [Broken]

Which it goes on to say on his website, and I quote

. APS ADOPTS STATEMENT ON "POWER LINE FIELDS AND PUBLIC HEALTH"!
The Council of the American Physical Society, by a vote of 29-1, declared that purported health effects of power line fields have not been scientifically substantiated, and the cost of mitigation and litigation "is incommensurate with the risk, if any." Since EMF was first linked to cancer in 1979, epidemiological evidence has grown ever fainter and proposed mechanisms more speculative. The Council action, taken at its 22 April meeting, was a result of several years of discussion and monitoring of the issue by the APS Panel on Public Affairs, and was endorsed by the leaders of the Biophysics Division of the Society. This is the strongest position on the EMF issue taken by a major scientific society.
You can ban be for being a Jerk (That I understand). Please, do not ban be for being a "crack pot" when I gave valid links.
 
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  • #16
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As I mentioned earlier the potential hazards of emf have been argued back and forth for years. EMF apparently does have an effect at the cellular and molecular levels.

Resting and grazing cattle and deer tend to align their body axes in the geomagnetic North-South direction. The mechanism(s) that underlie this behavior remain unknown. Here, we show that extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELFMFs) generated by high-voltage power lines disrupt alignment of the bodies of these animals with the geomagnetic field. Body orientation of cattle and roe deer was random on pastures under or near power lines. Moreover, cattle exposed to various magnetic fields directly beneath or in the vicinity of power lines trending in various magnetic directions exhibited distinct patterns of alignment. The disturbing effect of the ELFMFs on body alignment diminished with the distance from conductors. These findings constitute evidence for magnetic sensation in large mammals as well as evidence of an overt behavioral reaction to weak ELFMFs in vertebrates. The demonstrated reaction to weak ELFMFs implies effects at the cellular and molecular levels.
http://www.pnas.org/content/106/14/5708.abstract

Emphasis mine
 
  • #17
misgfool
So they looked into this a little more and discovered that the demographics for residents of houses near power lines is different than that of the surrounding communities: they tend to be poorer, have less health insurance, higher unemployment, and so forth. This was, in my mind, evidence that a correlation between power lines and health would not necessarily be causal: they might both be caused by a third effect (e.g. poverty).
I'll buy this, because there appears to be no epidemiological evidence to support significantly higher risk. But I wouldn't like to live near power lines especially in urban areas, near industrial hubs or coal fired power plants. Or at least until I did some calculations of the how the field might effect atmospheric pollution.
 
  • #18
Moonbear
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Keep in mind this is the same concept as is used in MRI. If MRIs were causing cancer, I think they'd be a lot less popular as a diagnostic tool.

There may be epidemiological validity to findings of higher rates of certain cancers among populations living near power lines, but that doesn't mean the power lines are the causation. Usually, because power lines are unsightly, they are undesirable locations for homes, and therefore the property values much lower near them. There are a lot of risk factors associated with low SES, including things like worse healthcare, more common tobacco and alcohol abuse, occupational exposures at blue collar jobs, more obesity, etc.
 
  • #19
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As I mentioned earlier the potential hazards of emf have been argued back and forth for years. EMF apparently does have an effect at the cellular and molecular levels.



http://www.pnas.org/content/106/14/5708.abstract

Emphasis mine
.................................... What does this mean. "Aruged back and forth". No, it hasnt. Its been discredited. The End. Stop painting a picture of something that it is not. No one is arguing back and forth. It's a matter of - "it does not exsist you have no evidence", followed by poor studies that all have "no clear link was found'' or "large statistical uncertainties" in their abstracts. Geeeeeeeeee, I wonder why.

Here, you can even use www.sciam.com

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the-current-under

No Adverse Health Effects Seen from Residential Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields
WASHINGTON -- No clear, convincing evidence exists to show that residential exposures to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are a threat to human health, a committee of the National Research Council has concluded in a new report. After examining more than 500 studies spanning 17 years of research, the committee said there is no conclusive evidence that electromagnetic fields play a role in the development of cancer, reproductive and developmental abnormalities, or learning and behavioral problems.

"The findings to date do not support claims that electromagnetic fields are harmful to a person's health," said committee chair Charles F. Stevens, professor and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif. "Research has not shown in any convincing way that electromagnetic fields common in homes can cause health problems, and extensive laboratory tests have not shown that EMFs can damage the cell in a way that is harmful to human health."
Can you please stop saying "its been argued back and forth". You are being dishonest by saying this over, and over again after its been shown to you otherwise.

This is junk science, and not one cent should go into it anymore.
 
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  • #20
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Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields disrupt magnetic alignment of ruminants
Abstract

Resting and grazing cattle and deer tend to align their body axes in the geomagnetic North-South direction. The mechanism(s) that underlie this behavior remain unknown...
I have never heard this asserted. Is this some kind of well known, undisputed phenomenon, you see in evidence in any herd of grazing ruminants, or is it more obscure?

A list of ruminants from wikipedia:
cattle, goats, sheep, giraffes, American Bison, European bison, yaks, water buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas, wildebeest, antelope, pronghorn, and nilgai.
 
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  • #21
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I have never heard this asserted. Is this some kind of well known, undisputed phenomenon, you's see in evidence in any herd of grazing ruminants, or is it more obscure?

A list of ruminants from wikipedia:
cattle, goats, sheep, giraffes, American Bison, European bison, yaks, water buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas, wildebeest, antelope, pronghorn, and nilgai.
The north south alignment of cattle and deer is a recently noticed phenomenon (we don't know everything about everything yet). This was never noticed from the ground for some reason? It was first noticed in satellite pictures of pasture areas once someone actually looked at them.

We demonstrate by means of simple, noninvasive methods (analysis of satellite images, field observations, and measuring “deer beds” in snow) that domestic cattle (n = 8,510 in 308 pastures) across the globe, and grazing and resting red and roe deer (n = 2,974 at 241 localities), align their body axes in roughly a north–south direction. Direct observations of roe deer revealed that animals orient their heads northward when grazing or resting. Amazingly, this ubiquitous phenomenon does not seem to have been noticed by herdsmen, ranchers, or hunters
http://www.pnas.org/content/105/36/13451.full

It had always been thought that cattle faced into the wind and or away from the sun


It was therefore a bit of a surprise when Sabin Begall from the University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany, and her colleagues from the Czech Republic reported that Google Maps show a previously undescribed tendency in cattle: they align their bodies predominantly north–south (or, as the head is not easily distinguishable in the satellite images, perhaps south–north). It is such a surprise, in fact, that other explanations – confounding factors such as wind or sun direction – immediately spring to mind. But, when the best possible account is taken of these by considering prevalent wind directions across the world and measuring sun direction from shadows, they don't explain the observed north–south alignment bias.
http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/212/1/iv
 
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  • #22
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Ok, so the cattle don't align north south. Is this affecting their health and giving them cancer? Obviously, not. So why did you bring this up?
 
  • #23
As I mentioned earlier the potential hazards of emf have been argued back and forth for years. EMF apparently does have an effect at the cellular and molecular levels.



http://www.pnas.org/content/106/14/5708.abstract

Emphasis mine
I'm not sure why this would really lead to the conclusion that there is likely a cellular effect. Or maybe I am misinterpreting "cellular effect" to mean that it actually has the ability to change cells.

Keep in mind this is the same concept as is used in MRI. If MRIs were causing cancer, I think they'd be a lot less popular as a diagnostic tool.
Aren't X-ray machines still rather popularly in use. Its safe because exposure is brief and minor. The same could be argued for MRIs so I wouldn't really use that as an argument myself.
 
  • #24
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Ok, so the cattle don't align north south. Is this affecting their health and giving them cancer? Obviously, not. So why did you bring this up?
Only to show that emf can effect an animal. OK so you explain how it effects the animals. No one else seems to know, but you in your infinite wisdom must explain it.:smile:

I did not say that emf causes cancer, but I do remember that neither did cigarettes during their first 20 year period of scientific study.
 
  • #25
misgfool
There may be epidemiological validity to findings of higher rates of certain cancers among populations living near power lines, but that doesn't mean the power lines are the causation. Usually, because power lines are unsightly, they are undesirable locations for homes, and therefore the property values much lower near them. There are a lot of risk factors associated with low SES, including things like worse healthcare, more common tobacco and alcohol abuse, occupational exposures at blue collar jobs, more obesity, etc.
Isn't it possible to find this out by comparing the results to the general population with same living conditions?
 

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