Health concerns living near elect. substation

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by kjr1950, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. kjr1950

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    I'm new to this group, I am interested in electronics, which I gave up many years ago to pursue a career in medicine . The question I would like
    to ask is (particularly an electrical engineer)the health concerns
    I have living near property I bought before the Elect.Substation was built.
    It has a capacity of 69KV and is apporx 500 ft from my residence.
    I'm particularly concerned about EMF's and the air quality in the area.Is there any other concerns I should have?am I too close to the substation.

    Thank you, Kerry
  2. Externet

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 29, 2005
    Once I read an article describing how scientists placed eggs sandwiched between metal plates with thousands of alternating current volts in an incubator for the entire duration of incubation, and were unable to find any defects in the chicks nor after they grew up.

    Perhaps someone else knows proof of adverse effects ?

  3. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    I am not aware of any documented health issues associated with close proximity to power lines/power substations.
  4. kjr1950

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    Thanks both of you for your response, I would still like to hear from
    others........Thanks again .......... Kerry
  5. Skeebopstop

    Active Member

    Jan 9, 2009

    There are a few key questions to ask:

    1. How clean are the power lines. If there are people in the area operating outside of EMC guidelines, they might be pumping lots of high frequency content onto the lines which goes > 100kHz.

    2. The main risks I discovered were for those with implanted medical devices. You generally don't have to worry about mutations (i.e. cancer), rather that things like pacemakers can fail under relatively weak non-ionizing fields. For biomedical instruments there can be pretty strict requirements on these.

    3. In some instances, dependingon the spectrum, internal heating can be an issue. I doubt you need to worry about that at 500ft. It also depends on the current flowing through the line as to how much may be radiated. Pay particular attention to anything in the microwave spectrum. There are stories of some technicians getting to close to a microwave transmitter and being cooked alive. I belive GPS transmits on microwave, so obviously there is a large dependance on the power behind the signal.

    All in all, there doesn't really seem to be any hard evidence to say power lines can be harmful in anyway. That doesn't mean there isn't. Can't be much worse than the non-ionizing radiation going to and from our cell phones all day directly strapped on our heads.
  6. kjr1950

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    That you for the info. and the link to the website it was helpful......Kerry
  7. Søren

    Senior Member

    Sep 2, 2006

    There have been some cases of heightened risk of cancer in people living near power lines, not 500' foot away, but right in their back yards, so to speak.
    It's hard to give conclusive evidence when the total sample number is 20..40 people at most (with a few getting the beast), but never the less... As long as there's nothing conclusive, each must decide his/her case.

    at 500', I think the greatest risk is if you are a hearing aid tele coil user or even worse, a cochlear implant user, as the transcutaneous transfer might get interrupted (and they've got telecoils as well). The risk with telecoils is just noise, however dreadfull it will be for the user.

    This is just my personal opinion and although I spend my days at a hospital, I have no training in radiology and the possible issues - Perhaps you should talk to your colleges in radiology as well as us engineers :)
  8. Dr Oetker

    New Member

    May 21, 2009

    Just to add, something related to the power lines (you may wish to know): They are quite well ballanced, and the field from all of them cancells out very well. However, high voltage lines can sometimes have corrona (discharge) around especially if the air is heavily poluted. This can create ozone etc. and the people living near by can have higher risk of respiratory issues. It is interesting that this risk is higher downwind (if there are prevailing winds in the area) e.g. east of the lines people get mopre sick.
    Take this with a caution, i read about it long ago, don't remember exact numbers, but they are low. Try to find it...
  9. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    Could someone think of a curcuit that would measure slight
    change In micro-volts near power substation.
  10. kjr1950

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    Soren, Thanks for your reply, I don't mean to be uneducated but what's a a tele coil(is this just a hearing aid)
    I'm not located near overhead power lines but 500' from the substation.

    Thanks again.......Kerry
  11. ifixit

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2008
    This is the way I see it...
    There is good evidence that stress can, and does, cause various health probems, or makes existing problems worse. If a person actually believes that living near a powerline, or a power sub-station affects their health, then they're likely to get problems from worrying about a danger to their health that doesn't actually exist.
  12. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    69kV substation at 500 feet? You are probably breathing in ozone, I'd bet you can even smell it if the wind is low and coming your way.
  13. Søren

    Senior Member

    Sep 2, 2006
    Hi Kerry

    Sorry for the delay (been at a very exciting symposium on Bone Conduction Hearing and Craniofacial Osseointegration in Sweden since I wrote my last post).

    It's a small coil (internal or external) in/on a hearing aid, acting as an antenna/receiver for audio signals in an inductive loop, found in well equipped theaters, churches and ticket counters.
    Since a Tele Coil is a wideband receiver, it picks up hum, statics and stray signals.

    I don't think there's a problem and I wouldn't be worried about living there Anyway, with a recent pulmonary embolism (that came close to a permanent ground connection for yours truly) only just (sort of) behind me and close to a decade (so far) with rheumatoid arthritis, I have some very real, proven (and felt) stuff to take my focus off the less proven.

    That said, so far nobody has proven it to be safe and we know how even low amplitudes can have a bad impact on both your tissue and neurons, so I won't be the one to give you a square answer (nobody can IMO).

    It's probably down to how you feel and perhaps how such stuff will affect real estate pricing in the future.
  14. Søren

    Senior Member

    Sep 2, 2006

    Wouldn't it be great if saying "Don't worry" actually had such effect? ;)
    All stress related diseases could be vanquished within a few minutes with this simple message on world wide TV :)
  15. Tesla23

    Active Member

    May 10, 2009
    As far as I know this began when a doctor treating childhood leukemia thought he noted many large power trasnformers near his patients. There has been some epidemiology done on the effects of mains fields and the results I have seen vary from no risk to a moderately elevated risk to some diseases. You'd have to check the results, but I recall the worst numbers like risks going from 1 in 10,000 to nearly 2 in 10,000.

    Here are a couple of links to get you going:,57687/57687_EMF_Fact_Sheet_5_-_2009.pdf

    It's very much work in progress, with no show stoppers that clearly say don't live there.
  16. DC_Kid

    Distinguished Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    i read all the posts. every scientist would love to be the one that has proof that earth bound utilities cause health problems. but i'm sure you can see the ramifications if the feds allowed such proof to exist.

    we live in a magnetic field (earth), which might explain some genetic defects, but without life in zero magnetic field we have nothing to compare to, so we accept some things as "genetic defects", etc.

    with avg human lifespan (US) now reaching near 80 i wouldnt worry about it, we're not here that long to worry about it.

    thats the health impact side.

    as for property value, that depends what the market says. and, you probably now have a limited buying audience when such time comes, etc.