Updated: Mar 6
Living near high voltage electrical pylons substantially increases the risks of contracting cancer, according to a study by doctors at the University of Bristol Medical School, UK. The potential health effects of the electromagnetic fields generated by high voltage cables have been a highly controversial issue for more than 20 years. Studies in Sweden, Germany, and New Zealand have indicated a possible link with cancer while similar studies in the UK, Norway, Canada, and the USA have shown no evidence of any health risks.
However, most studies so far have investigated the direct effects of electric and magnetic fields on the body. The size of the electric field is related to the voltage and the magnetic field to the strength of the electric current. Both diminish rapidly with increasing distance from the source and by about 100 m away are no longer measurable. Yet the unpublished study by Dr. Alan Preece of the university's oncology department, described on BBC radio on September 21, claims that electrical cables can have effects at up to 400 m distance. He has found evidence of a 29 percent increase over the expected rate of lung cancers in people living near pylons in the southwest of England. But the mortality only occurs in those people living downwind of the pylon. These findings provide support for a theory proposed by Professor Denis Henshaw of the department of physics at the same university. He believes that the fields cause changes in the properties of pollution particles in the atmosphere which increase the likelihood that they are deposited on the surface of the skin and lungs.
Equipped with all available evidence and knowledge, it is safe to say that high voltage power pylons (and power lines) deserve a closer look and our attention, especially when located near our homes or workplaces.
It is a smart decision to arrange an EMF test before, for example, buying a new property.
This can give you either peace of mind or identify potential health risks you can easily avoid when planning ahead.
About 10% of all properties in the UK are located within 100m from power lines or high voltage power pylons or near electrical substations. This means that a rather large chunk of the population is being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of EMF in their homes.