Many people would wonder, when looking at homes near high voltage power lines, if those can be bad for you, or even cause cancer. Properties near transmission lines don’t sell well, sell cheaper and often come back on the market. Those looking to purchase and those living near high voltage power lines already, might ask themselves:
What is the safe distance for living near high voltage power lines?
How close is too close?
In our line of work we get asked this regularly… It comes mostly from people looking to purchase or rent a house near high voltage power lines. It seems, in my experience, that those who bought a house too close to power lines, made the decision a while back that it was safe and dare not go back on that decision and admit they were wrong.
How is health affected by high voltage power lines?
When electricity flows an electromagnetic field is created that kind of swirls around the source of the radiation like a whirl wind. Its strength depends on a number of factors, but how much and how strong the electricity is that flows through is significant. As you move further away from the source, the strength of the magnetic field would normally reduce. Magnetic fields can be larger than you think.
This electromagnetic radiation (EMR) cannot practically be shielded against. This type of electronic pollution is a very important one to investigate before committing to ANY property regardless if it is positioned near high voltage power lines or the ‘everyday’ street power lines running up and down most streets. The majority of homes are not affected by these electromagnetic fields by a serious degree, but a home being exposed is certainly not rare either.
‘The government wouldn’t allow you to live that close to transmission lines if it were dangerous’
The problem is that maximum exposure standards set or accepted by governments are typically based on outdated research. What is considered ‘legally safe exposure’ has been showing for years that there are clear links to health issues, fertility problems and cancer.
The strength of low frequency electromagnetic fields is expressed in milligauss (mG) or nanoTesla (nT) or other values. In most countries the maximum ‘safe’ exposure to electromagnetic fields is 1000mG. Have a look at the table below what peer reviewed research has found over the years:
|1000 mG||Many governments safe maximum|
|2 mG to 12 mG||Shown to block the hormone melatonin in its anti-cancer action (abstract)|
|4 mG||Consistently mentioned by various research to increase likelihood of childhood leukaemia (abstract)|
|1.6 mG||Double the chances of sperm abnormalities (abstract)|
|1 to 2 mG||Mortality rate in children with leukaemia shown to be up to 370% higher than children with leukaemia that are not exposed to 1 to 2 mG (abstract)|
Therefore, a reading of just 1 milligauss (1 mG) is the value you don’t want in your home. Depending on what instrument you use and the way it measures (a flat measurement or a weighted measurement), the values you don’t want to exceed varies depending on who you speak to, but often lays between 0.8 mG and 0.3 mG (80 nT to 30 nT).
Governments can’t go back on exposure limits to EMR, it would cripple the economy
Think about this: Governments and local building requirements have allowed buildings to be constructed close to power lines for so many years, and condoned the placement of high voltage power lines, as well as street power lines, very near existing homes. If the exposure standards were now to be lowered in light of research showing health effects, it is like admitting fault that everything they supported in the past was a big mistake. The lawsuits from such a move and the amount of homes that would then simply need to be declared uninhabitable would likely cripple an economy.
What is a safe distance for a home near high voltage power lines?
It is difficult to simply attach a ‘value’ to what a safe distance might be.
- If you had a figure and it was not conservative enough, you might end up buying or renting a home too close to high voltage power lines and your health or your quality of life (chronic complaints etc.) could be severely affected.
- If you had a figure and it was too conservative, you might find yourself walking away from a dream home that was perfectly ok to purchase.
Either way, giving you a ‘safe distance figure’ is not really helping you without realising the implications of it.
Measure EMR yourself before getting professional help, but help you will need to deal with the more common domestic radiation sources
The best solution is to measure EMF exposure on a property near ANY power lines and you can do this yourself initially. You may be shocked to find out how many homes are affected by this and that many of those homes are nowhere near those ‘big’ high voltage power lines.
Once you find a home where the values are under the 0.8mG or 0.3mG depending on the instrument method of measuring, it seems to be giving you the ‘green light’. The smart thing to do, is to then get a professional to do a pre-purchase inspection and reconfirm your good findings before buying or renting a property. Just like you wouldn’t think twice about organising a pest inspection or structural building inspection before buying a home.
The consultant can then also investigate for the more common radiation types we find in most homes (electric fields in the bedroom and radio frequency radiation from phone towers etc.), and explain what needs to be ‘updated’ to the property to create a healthier environment inside.
From my time as a real estate agent, in my opinion, you are better off not putting an offer subject to a home health/EMR pre-purchase inspection, but rather do it before you put the offer in. This way you ‘let sleeping dogs lie’ (the other potential buyers) and you can, when you are happy with the property, put an offer on the table that is not subject to this ‘weird’ request that vendors will be unfamiliar with. By doing this you don’t make your offer less attractive and reduce your chances it gets accepted. – Every home buying situation is different, so you have to make up your own mind on what the best strategy is for your situation.
Distances within which you should not fail to measure EMF radiation from power supply
As long as you are fully aware that these figures could be not conservative enough or may be too conservative, here are some distances within which you should definitely investigate the EMF exposure:
- High voltage power lines (transmission lines, aka the ‘walkers’) – anywhere within 1200m / ¾ of a mile.
(Some research shows increased cases of childhood leukaemia within these distances from power lines)
- Transformer box – 150 meter / 165 yards
- Electrical substation – 150 meter / 165 yards (article)
- Street power lines on ‘your’ side of the street (above or underground)
- Solar panels being present on the home
My health is affected from living near power lines, what can I do?
This a not a great situation to be in. You purchased a home, not knowing about electronic pollution and environmental health burdens, or perhaps you didn’t think this was a problem.
The thing to remember is that your sleep is your key regenerative time… the time when your body is supposed to fix itself. For this reason, the exposure during sleep time should be seen as the most important. Sometimes, the field of electromagnetic radiation from power lines wears off over a relatively short distance. It could be that a bedroom close to the source, is affected by unsupportive levels of EMR whilst the distance to another bedroom is just enough to reduce the levels of EMR to a level where you get a better restorative sleep in terms of electromagnetic fields. This is worth investigating and perhaps moving your bedroom.
If excessive EMR exposure from high voltage power lines can’t be avoided or removed, as often it can’t be, then moving yourself away from the home seems the only logical option. Everyone has to come to that decision themselves.
If moving bedroom or house is just not an option then you should reduce all other sources (the common ones) of radiation, in specifically the bedroom, to attempt to make the burden as little as possible. You will need a proper home assessment for low-level radiation and geopathic stress, and use verifiable solutions. This may still not produce a healthy bedroom, as there is still an elephant in the (bed)room, but it will help the body as much as is possible.
Selling a property near high voltage power lines can bring both a financial and moral dilemma
People are becoming more aware that properties near high voltage power lines, as well as mobile phone towers (article), are getting harder to sell unless the vendor is prepared to reduce the price. The other problem for those realising their health has been affected by something that is ‘perfectly legal’, is that by selling it, they are passing the problem to another family who are unaware.
Brushing off the situation as a ‘Buyer Beware’ situation doesn’t seem entirely justifiable, what do you think? (leave a comment below, please) Legally, I would imagine, you would be safe as the exposure standards legally allow for this exposure to people. It is a tough one… Perhaps offering a bargain price (compared to properties not near high voltage power lines) is a way to have peace with one’s conscience… I don’t envy you for being in this situation, if this applies to you.
To buy or not to buy near power lines… that was the question
The message I’m trying to get across here is to go and measure. High voltage power lines or tiny street power lines, electromagnetic fields should be taken seriously when considering committing to a property. Homes are plagued by electric fields and radio frequency radiation as well, but this can normally be addressed just nicely through a proper assessment and products that are well designed solutions.
If this article was of benefit, if you have personal experience or questions, then please leave a comment below.
Feature photo take in California, USA.