Electric & Magnetic Fields

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible, low-frequency lines of force that are present wherever electricity flows — around appliances and power lines, and in offices, schools and homes. Here is some helpful information about the basics of EMFs.

electricity, power lines during sunset

Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) - Overview

EMFs are all around us, generated by nature, from lightning or static electricity, and by the electronics we use every day, from blow dryers, cell phones and appliances to power plants and transmission lines.

Both Electric and Magnetic fields are low energy, and extremely low frequency currents, or lines of force. Electric fields are created by voltage and are shielded by most materials, such as lead, soil and concrete, while magnetic fields are created by current. Both electric and magnetic field strengths diminish with distance and should not be confused with high energy or ionizing radiation such as x-rays and gamma rays.

Public Health and Safety

There has been a public interest and concern about the potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). Most of the concern has centered on power transmission lines of 50 kV and higher. (Power will be generated at 13.8 kV at the Glenarm Power Plant and delivered off-site at 34.4 kV.)

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has worked closely with the California Department of Health Services to study potential health effects of EMFs, but these agencies have found that evidence is incomplete, inconclusive and, in some cases, contradictory — not enough to justify regulating EMFs at this point. PWP takes any health or environmental concerns very seriously and will continue to monitor and adjust to the latest research. Click here for more background information about EMFs.

EMFs and Power lines

People who are concerned about EMF exposure from high-power electrical lines specifically, should keep in mind that the intensity of any exposure goes down significantly as you get farther away from the source. As you get farther away, you are exposed to less and less, with the level eventually matching normal home background levels. The electromagnetic field directly under a power line is typically in the range of what you could be exposed to when using certain household appliances.