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  • Writer's pictureShane

Are You at Risk From Power Line Radiation? What You Need To Know

Updated: Nov 12, 2023

The video above was taken in Portland, OR

Understand How Power Line Radiation Works

Power line radiation is a type of electromagnetic field (EMF) created by high-voltage power transmission and distribution lines, electrical wires inside your house, and even household appliances or electronics. The major radiation types from these sources are alternating current (AC) electric and magnetic fields. The AC magnetic component is the best studied, and most detrimental to human health.

Physics tells us that when current flows along a wire, or power line, an electromagnetic field radiates out perpendicularly to the flow. Just like in the image below.

power line radiation field strength

this type of EMF radiation is extremely strong, and able to cut through virtually all modern building materials, even rock and soil, with ease.

What are the Health Effects from Power Line Radiation?

Long-term exposure to power line radiation can have various adverse health effects. These include an increased risk of developing cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, neurological problems such as headaches and fatigue, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, memory loss, depression and anxiety. Furthermore, pregnant women exposed to these EMFs may be at a higher risk of miscarriage or birth defects.

There have been numerous studies conducted on the potential long-term health effects of exposure to power line radiation. Here are some key findings from a few of these studies:

  1. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) conducted a large-scale study called the Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Project. This study noted a possible association between prolonged exposure to high levels of magnetic fields and childhood leukemia.

  2. A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that prolonged exposure to high levels of magnetic fields from power lines may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors.

  3. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a small but statistically significant association between exposure to magnetic fields from power lines and an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

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How to Test for Power Line Radiation

Assessing your risk of EMF radiation from power lines and other similar sources is important if you want to protect your health. One of the most important steps you can take is to understand how much exposure you are getting by measuring the magnetic field levels associated with them and comparing to the Building Biology Guidelines. You can purchase an EMF meter to measure the levels around you or hire a professional EMF consultant who has experience in this area. See the video above for more information.

Benefits of Professional EMF Testing

A professional EMF test of your home, a lot you are looking at building on, or a new home you're considering purchasing will help you understand if the power lines are far enough away to be safe for your family. This is extremely important as shielding from power line radiation can be extremely expensive.

Can I Shield Power Line Radiation?

There are active cancellation systems available, but they are extremely expensive and not always compatible with a given neighborhood. Applying shielding materials for the magnetic fields is unrealistic as you would have to cover every square inch of your home's exterior, including the windows, for only a minimal reduction in the radiation.

What's a Safe Distance from Power Lines?

There are a lot of variables here, and unfortunately, no cut-and-dry answers. Power lines come in all shapes and sizes, and carry different levels of current during different seasons and times of day. For example, if it is very cold or hot, more furnaces or air conditioning will be turned on, requiring more current to flow on the lines. As a result the radiation increases, as well as how far an unsafe level extends from the lines. Sometimes by as much as 50% more.

Testing the levels is the only real starting point. Check out the video above for a detailed demonstration of everything you need to know about testing power lines.

If you would like assistance assessing power line radiation, please get in touch:

Shane Reilly EMF Inspector

All the Best!

Shane Reilly


Certified by the Building Biology Institute

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