Health effects associated with living close to power lines

Argh the hamsters got my post, luckily I copied into notepad beforehand.

My family is recently planning to purchase a new home, and while on this hunt, my mom found this house that was perfect in every way, except for the fact that the house is fairly close to power lines. Those are the type where it’s a steel frame, not like those with just a wooden pole. She is worried about how it would have negative health effects. Is this true? Does living near power lines have any ill health effects? Just to add, the powerlines are approxiamately 100 meters from the house. Thanks.

No. Quackwatch: Power Lines and Cancer - Nothing to Fear

Back in the late 60’s or early 70’s some insurance company noticed that people who lived near power lines didn’t live as long on average as people who didn’t live near power lines. People started looking for causes, and came up with all kinds of wild theories about how electric fields could cause cancer and all sorts of ill health effects. Things went absolutely nuts in the late 80’s and some people were making good money walking around with field strength meters and writing reports about how safe your particular area was, when there still wasn’t any good scientific research done on the subject. Over the years some studies have found a correlation between electric fields and cancer, but then follow up studies didn’t hold up and in many cases the original studies were found to be rather flawed. Cell phones started becoming popular in the midst of the confusion, and numerous lawsuits have been settled despite the fact that cell phone radiation (radio waves) have also not been proven to cause cancer.

If you do some research into it on the internet, you’ll find numerous sites that cite numerous studies “proving” that power lines are deadly, but the truth is that the scientific proof so far has been rather lacking. Personally, I think that if there was a clear cause and effect relationship here we’d have found it by now. Way back in the early 80’s (when this stuff was just beginning to be very popular) one of my college professors liked to point out that maybe healthy people just chose not to live next to power lines (just because they thought they were ugly), which is why people who didn’t live next to them lived a bit longer.

Even though there is still no proof that power lines are deadly, it will affect the value of the house and you will have difficulty selling it later should you choose to move.

While all large-scale, long-term, professional, and reputable studies have shown no statistically significant relative risk in exposure to power lines, it does not mean that there is not a small risk. However, in the absence of any real proof, or even any real sound theory as to why there may be a statistically significant relative risk, we have to assume that there really isn’t any risk.

One serious problem with these studies is that it is very difficult to isolate people from exposure to EM fields in day-to-day life. Think of all the times and places where you may be near EM fields - at work, in your car, walking along a trail with underground lines near, using a walkman or other headphones, cell phone and/or cordless phone use…it’s very hard to get a control group which has very minimal exposure to EM fields, and yet the same environmental exposure as the “average person” to risk factors from all other sources.

That is, even if, I repeat, if, there is an actual risk, it may not be easy to quantify it for some time.