Electrical Corridor Health Risks

My wife and I are looking to buy a house. We have found a really nice one on a quiet residential street close to the city at a price that we like (no small feat).

However, behind the (deep) backyard is an electrical corridor running from the closeby power generating station. The generating station, is coal fired (bad), but only used during peak demand times (good) - currently operating at 16% capacity from what I had found out.

This will just be a starter home for us, we will grow out of it within 7 years or so, but we will be having our first children while living there.

So what are the health risks of living so close to an electrical corridor. There seems to be no consenting opinion from what I can find. Anyone have any insight? Cecil?

Are you talking about health risks from the coal burning, or from the electrical energy itself, running through the transmission lines?

Mainly the risks from the energy running through the transmission lines. I assume that there is power flowing though there even if the nearby plant is not generating.

I am sure that the coal burning will not be good for me, however the plant is not used much, and there is talk of converting it to natural gas.

QuackWatch (among others) says don’t worry about it.


Ever since the things were invented, and began to be installed across the landscape, there’s been a small but vocal minority who have insisted that if you’re living underneath them or next to them, they’ll give you all kinds of cancers and birth defects. However, there’s no clinical or statistical evidence to support this.

Here’s a fun sample, that says living underneath the towers increases your risk of breast cancer. However, I’d like to point out that he also says that wearing a bra, eating red meat, using plastic containers to heat up foods in the microwave, repressing your emotions, and being exposed to artificial lighting at night also increase your risk of breast cancer. :rolleyes:


I started out my Google search with “electrical transmission towers”, but all it kept bringing up were cell phone and microwave towers. So I switched to “power lines health risk” and bingo. You can look around some more if you want, http://www.google.com , but IMO you should grab the house.

(If you’re worried about the pollution from the coal burning, you should talk to Anthracite [oh, Una? Question over here…] It was my understanding that they’re not supposed to be polluting the environment anymore, so I wouldn’t worry too much.)

The biggest danger in buying a house near power lines is having the resale value artificially reduced due to increased fear about power lines.

Also, if you’re a ham radio operator or short-wave radio listener, you’ll pick up a lot of interference.

BTW, you can induce much stronger fields in your body by simply standing on the ground and spinning in place- your turning body cuts through the earth’s magnetic field.


Is that true? Cite, cite, cite!

Hey, didn’t you see The Matrix?

Ack, I knew someone would ask me about that :slight_smile:

Here’s a good paper with some typical magnetic field values:
Background Paper on Power Line Fields and Public Health

There’s a table near the beginning with values from power lines, appliances in your home, and the earth. The earth’s field, although pretty weak, is still large compared to power lines and home appliances (unless you get extremely close- the field goes down as the square of the distance).

The difference between the earth’s field and powerline fields is that the earth’s field is static, while powerline fields are alternating in polarity at a 60Hz rate (60 times per second). If you spun around at a 60 revolutions/sec rate, you’d pretty much duplicate the effect (although since the earth’s field is much higher, you’d have a much stronger dose). Running in a straight line cuts through magnetic field lines, also, as does moving in a car, etc.

Of course, many permanent magnetics are thousands of times stronger than the earth’s field … I won’t even go into the wacky beliefs about magnet wrist bands, etc (or Alex’s immortality magnets ;))


Thank you DDG and Arjuna34 for the great information. It is good to know that if we do get the house, we won’t suffer for it.
Of course I’m not going to tell the seller this info…

“Well, I would really like to buy your house. But all those electrical wires… causes cancer you know ::snort::. I really think you should take $10,000 off to be fair. ::snicker::” :wink:


I know you were trying to help and all…

… but every time I do the above, I get a really really sick feeling…

and I want to vomit…

[sub]just thought I’d mention that[/sub]