What is a Safe Distance to Live from Power Lines?

How Far Does EMF Radiation From Power Lines Travel?

The radiation from power lines are categorized as

The radiation from power lines are categorized as MF radiation (Magnetic Field radiation) and these waves can travel short or long distances depending on the number of volts involved.

With expensive and sensitive equipment you can measure the magnetic fields from distances longer than the 700 feet we mentioned above (213 meters) but you shouldn’t be worried about the radiation that falls outside this distance. The effect wears quickly off when you distance yourself to the source of EMF so distance is always the best solution if you cannot turn the signal of (or block it).

When you are outside the 700 feet (213 meters) distance, the radiation level from the magnetic field will typically be less than 0.5 mG.

However, if you are hypersensitive to EMF, you might need to get the levels even lower. You will probably have to reduce the radiation to around 0.1 mG which is possible when you use more complicated means of protections. Such as:

  • EMF protective paint on your walls (especially the bedroom)
  • Transparent protection film on the windows

But be aware that these are quite expensive and radical ways to protect yourself.

Before you focus on external factors, such as high-voltage power line radiation, you should always start by focusing on the devices and Wi-Fi signals in your house. These are much easier to control and turn off.

So even though the high voltage power lines look really alarming, you should start by focusing on your phone, tablets, laptops, wifis, etc. These signals will travel much shorter than the EMS from the powerlines. But they are more important because they are closer to your body so they can do more damage.

We always want to shield the bedroom in our houses the most. This is because when the body is in rest mode during the night we need to be able to rest as much as possible. This is vital for all the basic functions and the body. When we sleep at night, the body will regenerate itself and we should give it the best possible conditions to do so.

All of us are constantly being exposed to EMF’s in our cities and even the suburbs. So it’s really important to create a safe and radiation-free environment in our bedrooms in order for our bodies to get the rest it needs.

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How Far From Power Lines Is Safe To Live?

This type of EMF can travel very far compared to other EMF sources such as routers, Bluetooth, smart meters, etc. So it’s really important to identify these transmission lines and make sure to block the radiation if you are staying too close to them.

But just how far should you get in order to avoid getting too much radiation?

It’s a tough question to answer.

You will find several examples of power lines that emit enough radiation to reach more than 700 feet (213 meters) but at this distance, you should expect the radiation level to have decreased significantly and be no more than around 0.5 mG.

This is below what we normally aim for as a limit for daily ELF radiation in our homes. Several specialists in the EMF space will tell you that 1 mG is a good number to aim for in your home. But if you are extra sensitive to make magnetic fields you will probably need to get as low as 0.1 mG.

Some people respond more to magnetic fields such as these we find around power lines and if you know you are sensitive to this stuff you probably need to get further away than 700 feet (213 meters).

The only right thing to do here is to either consult a professional Building Biologist. There are several hundreds of these people in North America so you should be able to find someone in your area. You can also start by doing your own readings on the radiation with an EMF meter.

If you are sensitive to this stuff or if you suspect that you are, you definitely need to own an EMF meter. We will come back to what an EMF meter is further down in the article.

Is It Dangerous to Live Near Power Lines?

 

 

Power lines generate magnetic field radiation and electric field radiation. Radiation from electric fields, while quite harmful, is stopped or shielded relatively easily, and most buildings are shielded from this type of EMF. 

 

The real danger is the magnetic fields created by power lines because they can penetrate most things.

 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to protect your home from this type of radiation, such as EMF protective paint, some are more tedious and expensive than others. 

The most important thing when it comes to magnetic radiation from power lines is distance because distance from the source gives you exponential certainty by inverse square law.

 

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Guidelines For Measuring EMR

Since we can’t see EMR and since not all homes are affected by dangerous levels of EMR, what guidelines are reasonable to use in deciding which homes would need EMR levels checked?

  • Homes within 3/4 of a mile of high power lines connected to the large metal towers. Some sources say homes within 1 mile
  • Homes within 500 feet of a transformer box
  • Homes within 500 feet of an electrical Substation
  • Street power lines on your side of the street whether above or under ground
  • Solar panels attached to the home

Any time a home falls within the above distances the EMR in and around that home should be checked with a good quality gaussmeter (link to read reviews on Amazon).

This recommended gaussmeter is a reasonably priced one that should serve your needs very well.

It goes without saying that if the home has a level of EMR above 0.5mG it is time to scratch that home off your list of possible places to live.

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This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http:///licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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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 is an Acceptable Amount of EMF Radiation?

 

 

Regardless of how hard you work to protect yourself and your house from electromagnetic radiation, you will probably never eliminate it completely in today’s world. 

The BioInitiative Report, a holistic report, and collection of studies on the hazards of electromagnetic radiation suggests 0.5 to 1 mG as the maximum safe amount for places where you normally live and reside (trust me, this is difficult to achieve). 

However, you should note that even this limit may be enough to lead to symptoms if you are particularly sensitive to EMF (EHS – Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity).

 

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How far away from power lines should you live?

Under the current laws, you will need to live at least 50 metres away from a power line as living within 50 metres is considered to be a safety risk.

And if you don’t see the power lines or substation on your home inspection, it is likely that a surveyor’s report will highlight the proximity of the lines or substation which may cause an issue with the mortgage provider.

For peace of mind, you can hire someone to carry out EMF readings – they will need a gaussmeter which will highlight that the EMF substantially reduces before the 50 metres threshold and continues falling the further away the reading is taken. The National Grid offers this service.

Approach distance from medium-voltage lines

There must be a minimum HORIZONTAL distance of 3 m between any part of a building and the closest medium-voltage line.

Example: Adding a storey to a building near a distribution line

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Do power lines decrease the value of a property?

Since the science cannot provide a link between li

Since the science cannot provide a link between living near to power lines and ill-health, the real issue is down to emotions – and it is this that affects the price of a property close to a power line.

That’s because for someone selling a property close to powerlines, they may find there are fewer people willing to buy, so the house price may be reduced to reflect this.

Various surveys put this price reduction at between 2% and 9%.

Potential homebuyers can check the concentration of the electromagnetic fields and also where underground electricity cables are for a substation before they buy what could be their dream home.

What Is A Safe Distance From A High Voltage Powerline?

The answer to this is tough because there have been no official guidelines distributed by governmental agencies as there have been for cellphone radiation limits. Some guidelines have been given by groups like OSHA for minimum distances to stay away from powerlines, however, my interpretation of these is more to mitigate electrocution risk then magnetic radiation exposure.

Those minimum distances are outlined below.

FPL Power Line Voltages                 OSHA Minimum Approach Distance* (OSHA 1926.1408 Table A)
0 to 50kV10 feet
Over 50kV to 200kV15 feet
Over 200kV to 350kV20 feet
Over 350kV to 500kV25 feet
Over 500kV to 750kV35 feet

However, you can see that these distances are not at all substantial, and certainly, do not reflect distances from a powerline that people should live.

So, let’s look at one other diagram that is widely referenced. It shows potential health effects from living near a high voltage power line. It outlines specific potential issues associated with various distances, take a look:

Now, these are certainly not guaranteed outcomes b

Now, these are certainly not guaranteed outcomes but are issues that have been associated.

Based on this chart, and based on a high voltage powerline structure rated at 765 kilovolts (kV), you should be at least 250 meters away. However, remember when it comes to any type of EMF radiation, including magnetic radiation from a powerline, the more distance, the safer.

In fact, the level of protection that distance gives you is exponential due to the inverse square law of physics. This law essentially states that as you double your distance from a source of radiation, you quarter your exposure to it.

Another factor you need to consider is the “step down” power distribution that occurs in electrical grids. Meaning that the magnetic field radiation emitted from the lines will be greatest near the generating station and its substations, and lower at the end, which would be the powerlines near your home.

So, if you happen to live near a power generating station, your exposure would likely be much greater then living near a simple power line.

Alright, now that we understand why living near to, or next to, a power line can be dangerous and have talked about what a safe distance is, let’s talk about how we can protect ourselves.

Health Risks of Electrical Fields

Despite ample public discourse about the health risks of electrical and magnetic fields, little to no conclusive evidence exists that these are harmful in quantities resulting from exposures to everyday sources, including properly installed high-tension wires in residential and commercial environments.

In electric fields that are many powers of ten stronger than those that usually exist beneath run-of-the-mill power lines, people who touch a large metal object, such as a bus, might experience a transient shock. Otherwise, no health effects have been reported. The same is true of magnetic fields, although some studies have identified small changes in cellular calcium levels, hormone production and cell growth.

There are people who claim to be affected by a condition called electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, but concrete evidence of negative effects still hasn’t been found in research. Symptoms of EHS range from nausea and rashes to muscle aches. The World Health Organization noted in 2005 that research has been unable to replicate symptoms in individuals with EHS; in multiple studies, the subjects were unable to detect electromagnetic fields with any more accuracy than subjects who did not have EHS. Yet in 2015, a literature review in “Reviews on Environmental Health” described mixed results, with some of the reviewed studies finding no link and others finding minute biological changes after exposure.

What are the health effects of living near power lines?

There is widespread concern about the health effects of the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that are generated by power lines. Unfortunately, studies have not been able to disprove these concerns. On the flip side, no research has indicated that these concerns are valid either. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other major agencies have looked into this issue and have yet to confirm adverse health consequences caused by the EMFs associated with power lines. 

There are rumors that EMFs cause cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, heart abnormalities, and other health issues, but there is no conclusive evidence to support these claims. While some studies have found correlations between power lines and cancer, these studies did not confirm how much distance from power lines is considered to be safe or how much exposure leads to health issues. 

If you have your heart set on a property near power lines and are concerned about potential health effects, you can contact your local electric utility company to request an on-site reading to better understand what the properties EMF levels are like before you buy. 

Even if there aren’t power lines directly over your property, if you are concerned about potential health effects, you may want to know just how much of a distance you want to keep between you and the power lines. Once you know what type of power lines are nearby, you can determine just how far your property needs to be from them to avoid potential EMF effects. 

  • 133 kV Power lines: 100 feet distance
  • 230 kV Power lines: 150 feet distance
  • 345 kV Power lines: 250 feet distance
  • 550 kV Power: 350 feet distance

Once you’re 500 feet away, it’s no longer possible to measure the EMF effect of power lines, so you should be able to rest a little easier knowing you're a good distance from them. 

Funding

This work was supported by the Electric Power Research Institute.

Note: This work is published under the standard license to publish agreement. After 12 months the work will become freely available and the license terms will switch to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

How much do power lines decrease value?

How much power lines decrease the value of a home varies, but many studies have been done on this issue and can give you a ballpark idea of what to expect. 

A 2018 study from the Journal of Real Estate Research found that vacant lots near high-voltage power lines sell for 44.9% less than equivalent lots that aren’t located near power lines. If you take a step back, a lot that is located within 1,000 feet of transmission lines tends to sell for 17.9% less. 

Other studies confirm similar numbers, but of course a home value is determined by many factors. 

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Approach distances from service entrance wires

The approach distances for service entrances are the same as for low-voltage lines. However, service loop lines may pass over a building—but only if they directly supply that building with power.

Pour en savoir plus sur les branchements et les distances sécuritaires :

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