28 April 2009
Ecolibria have discovered a link between air quality and power lines. Concerns are raised over electromagnetic fields or emf in close proximity to power lines but there is also an air quality issue to consider when close to power lines that may play a large role in adverse health effects.
After many years of testing and assessing properties close to power lines ecolibria is beginning to find a trend towards adverse health effects and power lines.
There are generally 3 issues of concern when a property is close to major power lines.
1. Electromagnetic Fields – EMF
The strength of the elctromagnetic field emitted from a power line depends on the amount of current being carried by that line. Every power line is unique in the way it is set up and the amount of power that it carries. The level of emf that a person may be exposed to depends on the distance they are located from the line, the amount of time they spend in close proximity to the line and the unique properties of that particular power line.
This is why it is so difficult to provide a generalised safe distance from a power line. The good news however is that the level of emf drops dramatically with every small increase in distance from the line. It is therefore very important to create as much distance between yourself and the power line as possible.
Ecolibria have found that in most cases the emf from a power line or substation usually drops to acceptable levels within relatively short distances. Double storey homes with bedrooms upstairs as well as multilevel commercial buildings have a potentially higher risk of emf exposure as they are located closer to the power line itself.
These types of electromagnetic fields are almost impossible to shield and this is why creating a distance from the source is so important.
2. Air Quality
Probably the most over-looked problem in relation to power lines is the concentration of pollution in the area of the lines. Due to the build of static around the lines particulates in the air are attracted to the area. The problem is made worse when the power line is located close to a source of pollution (industry, busy road, coal fired power station etc.). The pollutants are often made up of a mixture of contaminants and these particulates become charged by the electricity running through the power lines. Breathing in charged particles has been linked to an increase in free radicles in the body which in turn has been linked to many adverse health effects including cancer. If the particles themsleves are hazardous pollutants from car emissions or industry then the risk is potentially greater.
“When an oxygen molecule (O2) becomes electrically charged or “radicalized” it tries to steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage to the DNA and other molecules. Over time, such damage may become irreversible and lead to disease including cancer.”
National Cancer Insitute 2004 – http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/antioxidantsprevention
The prevailing winds in the immediate area of the property is another important consideration to determine whether the charged air pollutants will generally be blowing towards or away from the property
As a Building Biologist having conducted many assessments in areas where unexplained cancer clusters have been evident, it is this aspect that I believe is a large contributing factor. However individual cases and measurements are now being recorded to build up a database of evidence to support these observations.
3. Electrical Fields
These fields can be shielded quite easily and are very different to electromagnetic fields. In fact even trees (the denser the better) help to shield against electrical fields. Other buildings or structures in between the power line and your property will also help to shield against electrical fields. Once again these fields drop off dramatically with distance but can take some time to discharge from the body. Building Biologists measure body voltage and it is clearly observed that the elctrical field increases the body voltage of the individual and that they need to ground themselves in order to get rid of excess static charges.
You may have noticed excess static charges building up in your body when you shock yourself as this is discharged.
Ecolibria have found that in many cases the property may be located a safe distance away from the power line but the backyard or area in which walking and playing is often enjoyed, is not a safe distance away. There is much controversy about safe levels and safe distances froma power line. In Australia it is almost impossible to be located in an unsafe area as the recommended safe emf exposure level in a residentail setting is currently 1000mG (milligauss). In contrast there are many studies linking childhood Leukemia to a level of 4mG and Building Biologists regard 2.5 mG as the safe precautionary average exposure level.
If there is any concern about electromagnetic fields and proximity to power lines and substations it is highly recommended that a simple emf exposure assessment be conducted by a qulaified Building Biologist.
The only way to know exactly what the levels of emf exposure will be is to have emf testing conducted at the site.