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B Health Risks Living Near Power Lines

  1. May 13, 2018 #1
    Please give me some advice on a lot my wife and 2 kids are thinking on building our home on in SC. It will be located next to a large power line right of way. Its near a lake so we have those big metal towers. I'd say the nearest tower from my house will be like 50 to 75 yards. I took a Emf meter over to my future lot and got no H field reading where the home will be or around the yard. Of course when I walked up under the lines it started reading harmful. The device I measured it with measures electric field radiation and magnetic field emission. The electric field radiation part on the meter was going off and reading harmful. Is it? Please tell me the difference between electrical field radiation and magnetic field emission. I read e field will not harm you as there are e fields all around us all the time.I assume the electric field is going off cause we are near the lines is all.
    As Im sure you all know you can read all kind of various opinions on Emfs on the internet. I am getting no reading so I assume Im good. This living near power line debate is driving me nuts.

    We are so confused on this subject and dont want to harm ours or kids bodies over the years. We just need to set our minds at ease so we can enjoy this new house.

    thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 14, 2018 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    In the 1970s, there was much public discussion and fear about EMF fields and safety. There were also numerous scientific studies that showed no harmful effects.

    Unfortunately, people can get attention and wealth by promoting fear. Think of water fluoridation and Y2K as well known examples. (Here is a fun list of lesser known cases from history.) Although the fear peaks and fades, it never completely goes away. For example, even though the Y2K day came and went 18 years ago, Y2K fear lives on in modified form such as NYT best seller books like this.

    I believe that EMF meter you mention is an example. There is no defined level of 60 hertz EMF considered harmful, so any meter with the word harmful on the scale is just designed to scare you, and thus increase sales.

    For your purposes, there is no interesting difference between electric and magnetic fields.

    I can offer many technical arguments, but they won't be persuasive unless you are an engineer. So, what is the best evidence for a non-scientist that you should not fear the nearby power lines? The answer is in the historical record. Since the 1880s, countless people live near power lines. But the statistics show that they, like all of us, are healthier and long-lived than ever before, and the trend towards health increases. If EMF was truly harmful, like smoking, the evidence would be incontrovertible and electricity would have been banned long ago. We would light our houses with oil lamps.

    I'm sure that you are an intelligent person. You can see that the idea that society sacrifices the health of people living next to the power line for the convenience of other people living a block away is merely a conspiracy theory.

    On physics forums, we discuss mainstream science. Normally, topics such as this one would not be permitted, because it's origin is not scientific. But we'll make an exception in this case for the benefit of the many people who live near power lines like you do.

    However, we do not want to re-open the door to public debate of this topic on PF, so this thread will be locked after the next post by russ_watters..
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2018
  4. May 14, 2018 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2018
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