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EMF Information

Bowman SubstationThe effects of 60-hertz electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a long-studied topic. A tremendous body of research has produced no conclusive evidence that indicates EMF from transmission and distribution lines are, or can be, hazardous to the health of human beings. 
 

Due to an overwhelming preponderance of data that concluded there was no health risk associated with transmission and distribution lines, the Virginia State Corporation Commission ended in 1999 their practice of issuing annual reports on EMF. Extensive research has been conducted on this subject worldwide for more than 25 years and is continuing.

The following websites and electronic documents address some of the issues of public interest associated with transmission and distribution lines and describe some of the research being done on the possible health effects associated with transmission and distribution lines:

  1. Executive summary of the most recent annual report submitted to the Virginia General Assembly in cooperation with the State Corporation Commission by Khizar Wasti, Ph.D., Virginia Department of Health dated October 31, 2000, titled Monitoring of Ongoing Research on the Health Effects of High Voltage Transmission Lines (Final Report) (PDF file, 109kb).
  2. Editorial by Edward W. Campion, M.D., from the New England Journal of Medicine, titled "Powers Lines, Cancer, and Fear" dated July 3, 1997 --Volume 337, No. 1. (To view the full text of this article, you will need to register online with the NEJM.)
  3. Report developed by NIEHS titled Questions and Answers: Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power.(PDF file, 501kb)
  4. A website that was developed by Dr. John Moulder contains numerous FAQs that provide additional helpful information.
  5. The Electric and Magnetic Fields page on the EPA's website.

NOVEC cannot provide interpretations of EMF readings since there is no conclusive scientific evidence that directly links a certain 60-hertz gauss level or range of 60-hertz magnetic fields to a known health effect.

The strength of a 60-hertz magnetic field depends on two components; the amount of electrical current flowing through the source and the distance between the gauss meter and the source. The electrical current constantly changes with the use of electricity; therefore, 60-hertz magnetic fields change with the use of electricity as well. The 60-hertz magnetic fields emitted from utility lines and equipment is the same 60-hertz magnetic field emitted by household appliances, office equipment, telephones, televisions, lights, extension cords, etc. A 60-hertz EMF survey will only show that a 60-hertz magnetic field is present at the time and date of the survey.

Additionally, test equipment cannot distinguish between specific magnetic field sources. EMF gauss levels are cumulative, so multiple electric devices located within a short distance will produce a reading that represents the sum of all sources. Gauss readings taken periodically at the same location over a 24-hour period will show wide variations of the 60-herz magnetic field.

NOVEC welcomes any additional scientific studies that are not addressed in the above literature concerning 60-hertz magnetic fields for our own examination. It is NOVEC's desire to provide our members with up-to-date scientific information concerning 60-hertz magnetic fields whenever possible. If you have additional information concerning 60-hertz magnetic fields studies not addressed above, please send a copy for our examination.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please call NOVEC at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.

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