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The location is convenient. The neighbors are great.
But your dream home is located near some high voltage power lines, and now you’re wondering if that “dream” is more like a nightmare…
Should you move? Should you buy? Does it even really matter?
I hope to answer your questions today as we analyze the minimum safe distance your home (or any building) should be from power lines.
Why Distance Matters: Leukemia & Power Lines
If your home is located near power lines, there are some health risks you should be aware of. Several studies have proven that living in close proximity to power lines exposes you to dangerous electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
This radiation affects bodily functions such as your immune system, sleeping cycles, hormonal production, and stress levels.
More than that, you become prone to various conditions like constant headaches, body fatigue, skin diseases, and increases anxiety.
In the worst cases, exposure can cause complex, life-threatening illnesses like breast cancer, blood disease, and even birth defects.
Apart from these, research has also found there may be a link to leukemia and being near power lines. This argument has long been debated, and the results have been varying ever since.
And to be honest, findings are still inconsistent.
(But don’t confuse that with my personal belief…I’m 110% confident in the connection…but I’m here to present the facts, not just my opinion).
However, scientists can confirm that STAYING in close proximity to power lines (meaning not just the occasional visit nearby) can increase your risk of developing leukemia.
One of the most significant studies was conducted by Gerald Draper, the director of Oxford University’s childhood cancer research group.
He led research on children whose homes were near power grids to see if the location had an effect on their health.
Findings revealed that the kids who lived 200 meters from power lines had a 69% higher risk of leukemia. On the other hand, those who were at least 600 meters away only had a 23% risk.
That’s a roughly 10% drop per 100 meters…pretty significant if you ask me and indicates that distance DOES matter.
Because of this possibility, some scientists warn people to stay out of areas with power lines that emit strong EMFs.
So if it’s too late to move to another location, then you might want safe proof your home as a precaution.
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.
Overhead Power Lines: Distance Guidelines
The difficulty with assessing your safety from power lines is that you can’t determine the danger by just a look.
To measure the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that is affecting your home, you will need a gaussmeter. This device is used to test the strength of the magnetic field around your residential area.
But how do you know if your area needs EMR testing?
Simple, just refer to these guidelines to check if your home is:
- Attached with solar panels
- 500 feet away from a transformer box
- 500 feet away from an electrical substation
- Within a mile from power lines that are connected to high metal towers
- On the side of the street where power lines are located (both under and above ground)
Living Near Power Lines: Property Value
Health concerns are one thing to worry about, but it’s not the only problem you may face.
Having your home in close proximity to power lines can cause complications related to your property value.
Knowing you’re facing high risk, you might want to sell your house and move somewhere safer.
This is an option, of course, but it won’t be so easy. That’s because a property’s value can lower by 30% if it’s located near power lines.
The worst part is, this financial problem comes with a moral dilemma, too.
Apart from being forced to reduce the price of your house just so you can sell it, you also have to think about how you are putting someone else’s family in a risky situation.
If your potential buyers are unaware of the dangers that come with power lines nearby, your situation becomes even more stressful.
Sure, you can get away with it because of the government’s outdated exposure safety standards. But can you really live with the fact that you are passing the problem to someone else?
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a safe distance to live from power lines?
Power lines from big metal towers emit the highest voltage creating the strongest magnetic fields. The safe distance from these power lines would be at least 700 feet. If you are using a gaussmeter, make sure that the reading shows 0.5 milligauss or less.
Is living near high tension wires dangerous?
Yes. Residing near high tension wires exposes you to dangerous EMFs which can cause several health conditions especially after a long time.
Do large power lines give off radiation?
Yes. Power lines can give off artificial and strong electromagnetic radiation. This type of radiation is identified as low frequency and non-ionizing.