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Author Topic: Is there any risk living under power lines?  (Read 53394 times)

Offline Geezer

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #25 on: 22/08/2010 23:25:55 »
At the beginning of the thread you indicated that you had not done the calculations and from your comments I suspect that the situation has not changed.


As I mentioned previously, one of the links you posted pointed out that the magnetic field strength in a home is, as I suspected, greater than the field produced by high-tension power lines.

I think it's unfortunate that you are unwilling to pursue this topic futher. If there is a phenomenon, I'd really like to understand what it is. If there is no phenomenon, I'd like to settle the matter.

 
 

Offline Helenwh

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #26 on: 25/08/2010 08:49:02 »
We all agree that there's probably a greater risk from all the ground mapping radars flying about in aircraft.

« Last Edit: 25/08/2010 08:52:40 by Helenwh »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #27 on: 25/08/2010 19:31:37 »
We all agree that there's probably a greater risk from all the ground mapping radars flying about in aircraft.



Is this the "royal we"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_plural
 

Offline Mootle

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« Reply #28 on: 26/08/2010 19:45:11 »
We all agree that there's probably a greater risk from all the ground mapping radars flying about in aircraft.

In order for anyone to consider this question you would first need to know:

1. The type of GMR is being used.
2. Voltage being carried.
3. Distance of cable from the person under test.
4. Exposure time to each signal.
5. Particular disposition of person under test to cancer.
6. Age of person under test.
7. Structure of the dwelling.
8. Height of GMR.
9. Location.
10. Climate etc etc etc.

Since no one has mentioned any of these parameters, it is difficult to know what is 'probably' a higher risk to health.

You can count me out of the consensus science thing.
 

Offline Make it Lady

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« Reply #29 on: 26/08/2010 23:18:46 »
I'd love to know what caused my brother to die of cancer in his 30's. Lots of things have gone through my mind including this one. Most evidence seems to be for young children but it never seems to be as conclusive as I'd like. My brother sat on top of a bank of technology for large chunks of time. I often wonder about this as well. He also drove a truck which has indications for cancers in the digestive system.
The causes of cancer are always going to be debated strongly and electrical companies will throw lots of money to disprove conections with pylons just as any vested interest will guard its interest. When we look at data and evidence we always have to ask where the funding came from. I'm resigned to the knowledge that I'll never know what caused my brother's cancer but at the end of the day it is a problem that comes with being relatively well off. If we were really poor our illnesses would be different. There has to be a down side to being wealthy!
Rant over!
 

Offline Geezer

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #30 on: 29/08/2010 06:27:00 »
MIL,

Sorry to hear of your loss. I too developed cancer (of the goolies) in my thirties, but I was fortunate to survive thanks to early detection and radiation therapy.

My cancer may have been the result of electromagnetic radiation, but if it was, it's very unlikely that it was produced from high tension power lines.

As the science stands today (despite what the popular press claims), as I understand it, power lines do a couple of things;

They radiate an electromagnetic field that is a function of the current flowing through the wires. Note that the voltage is made very large so that the current is relatively small. The power companies do that to minimize energy losses in the wires.

They produce an electric field. The electric field is a function of the voltage (which is large) but you can block the electric field with a sheet of aluminium foil. Also, electric fields are, and have always been, all around us. When you go up in an aeroplane, you, and the entire aeroplane are charged to thousands of volts relative to ground. Just walk across a nylon carpet, and you might achieve a 30,000 volt potential.

In my case, I suspect that if my cancer was not simply a genetic fluke it was much more likely that it resulted from nuclear bombardment (X-rays) of one sort or another, or from some carcinogenic chemical agent, and there were a lot of them.
 

Offline tangoblue

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« Reply #31 on: 12/10/2010 18:29:07 »
Well i suppose i cant give you solid evidence but i did do it as a project in physics a while back and came acros a study on it. It did say that people living close to pilons had a bigger chance of getting cancer. it did give a reasson but i cant remember, sorry.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #32 on: 12/10/2010 19:48:22 »
Well i suppose i cant give you solid evidence but i did do it as a project in physics a while back and came acros a study on it. It did say that people living close to pilons had a bigger chance of getting cancer. it did give a reasson but i cant remember, sorry.

Well, that really helped a lot.
 

Offline robertjhon143

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #33 on: 13/10/2010 09:04:13 »
Hi karen,
there are no known health risks that have been conclusively demonstrated to be caused by living near high-voltage power lines. But science is unable to prove a negative, including whether low-level EMFs are completely risk free. Most scientists believe that exposure to the low-level EMFs near power lines is safe, but some scientists continue research to look for possible health risks associated with these fields. If there are any risks such as cancer associated with living near power lines, then it is clear that those risks are small.
 

Offline tangoblue

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« Reply #34 on: 14/10/2010 00:17:25 »
Geezer are you being sarcastic?
 

Offline Geezer

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #35 on: 14/10/2010 01:59:42 »
Geezer are you being sarcastic?


Guilty as charged Guv.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no, zero, nada scientific evidence that links the EMF produced by HT power lines to any human illness. If you believe otherwise, you might want to immediately disconnect your home from any electric power source, because that is far more dangerous.

However, if you want to succumb to the influence of moneymaking media and lawyers without understanding the science, that's up to you.
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #36 on: 14/10/2010 03:59:06 »
Like I said earlier in this thread, whether a particular EMR is harmful to health, or not, comes down to statistics.  If the incidence of problems is below the noise threshold of the statistical method used to assess the degree of danger then it'll be regarded as safe, even though it may clearly not have been for the very small number cases lost in the noise.

However, rather than being a criticism, or highlighting a failure of the statistical method, it really just reflects the nature of the problem; there is no clear and definitive answer, just a probability which, while in this particular case is vanishingly small, can never be zero.
 

Offline Geezer

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #37 on: 14/10/2010 18:34:12 »
It's not impossible that there could be some correlation between incidence of disease and power lines. For example, homes built close to power lines are likely to be less expensive and they will be occupied by lower income families. This in turn could account for differences in health care, chemical agents and nutrition that can lead to higher incidence of certain diseases.

However, sorting all of that out to draw any meaningful conclusions would be extremely difficult.

I suppose it's possible that you are slightly less likely to be struck by lightning if you live near overhead lines. They must be very effective lightning conductors.
 

SteveFish

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #38 on: 15/10/2010 01:29:46 »
LeeE, your analysis of the statistics of noise is correct, however you are also uncertain if living under a high voltage power line might be beneficial, but the signal is lost in the noise. When a study of the entire population of Finland (and many other large samples in other countries) can't pull any signal from the noise, any harmful or beneficial effect is way too small to be worth considering.

Another problem with the power line and cell phone health question is that there is no known mechanism whereby the radiation can have an effect! The radiation from these sources is several orders of magnitude below the energy required to break chemical bonds (required to cause cancer). When one has no mechanism it is very inappropriate to attribute a specific cause (e.g. the radiation) and it is important to explore different hypotheses, such as socioeconomic status as suggested by Geezer.

Steve
 

Offline Geezer

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #39 on: 15/10/2010 08:30:27 »
I must admit I keep coming back to this topic because I find it quite fascinating. Despite the fact that there really is no scientific evidence to link EMR from overhead power lines to cancers, it seems that many well educated scientists are willing to believe that there might actually be some connection, although they can't even begin to explain what that may be.

It does make me wonder if a lot of scientists are a lot more susceptible to sensational media exploits than they would care to admit. Personally, I don't think it's appropriate to keep one's options open. If the current science says one thing, either get behind it, or disprove it. I don't understand how being wishy/washy about it adds any value.





 

SteveFish

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« Reply #40 on: 15/10/2010 16:06:13 »
Geezer, I think that this situation is comparable to the CO2-global warming issue. The great majority of scientists with the expertise to understand the question all agree (global warming is a problem and power lines are not), while there is a very, very small minority of scientists who deny the consensus, and a collection of self aggrandizing pundits, who are not scientists, who whip up the controversy. As you have observed, there have been quite a few large studies on power lines in response to the hoopla in popular culture. When taken together these studies show no effect. Steve
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #41 on: 15/10/2010 18:44:55 »
Geezer and SteveFish: I said quite clearly that the probability...

Quote
...in this particular case is vanishingly small...

so while we all seem to believe that the risk is not worth acknowledging, you both seem to want to insist that the degree of risk is a definitive zero.  Sorry chaps, but you're trying to prove a negative here.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #42 on: 15/10/2010 19:19:01 »
Lee, so if I told you that wearing cotton socks might increase your risk of developing cancer, you'd have to agree that there is some risk?
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #43 on: 15/10/2010 19:52:49 »
That's a bad analogy Geez.

Whether someone gets cancer from exposure to EMR is intrinsically statistical, for amongst any group of subjects exposed there will be some that do and some that don't.  The fact that some do though, shows there is a clear link.  There's no such link to wearing cottons socks.
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #44 on: 15/10/2010 20:22:59 »
That's a bad analogy Geez.

Whether someone gets cancer from exposure to EMR is intrinsically statistical, for amongst any group of subjects exposed there will be some that do and some that don't.  The fact that some do though, shows there is a clear link.  There's no such link to wearing cottons socks.

Ah! So you are saying there is evidence that low frequency weak field EMR produces cancer. Can you point us at that evidence?
 

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #45 on: 15/10/2010 20:54:25 »
To put an even sharper point in this LeeE, I assert that radiation emanating from power lines has a weak protective effect against getting cancer. Using your logic, explain how I am wrong. Steve
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #46 on: 16/10/2010 18:41:41 »
No Geezer, I am not saying that low-frequency EMR produces cancer.

All I am saying is that EMR can cause cancer.

Because EMR is a continuous spectrum, where there is no clear and definitive point between one frequency and another, one cannot say definitively that a higher frequency will always cause it but a lower frequency will never cause it.

SteveFish: have you any evidence to suggest that EMR has a protective effect against cancer?  If there is such evidence then I'd happily give it a qualified acceptance.

Rather than discussing the issue, you both seem to be more intent on winning the argument, even though your argument depends, as I mentioned earlier, upon proving a negative.

Do you both actually acknowledge that your argument depends upon proving this negative?
 

Offline Geezer

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« Reply #47 on: 16/10/2010 20:32:16 »
Lee,

I think the onus is on you to prove the positive point regarding genetic damage. The energy levels required are well understood, and I don't believe there is any evidence at all that the fields involved come anywhere remotely close to being able to interfere with molecular bonds in DNA. There is no cumulative effect and there is a quantifiable threshold.

The position should be that there is no known scientific evidence that connects cancer with power lines. If you are going to insist that there "might" be, then we are back to my cotton socks argument. You can't disprove I'm wrong about that, because you can't prove a negative either. I think both arguments are equally useless.
 

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
« Reply #48 on: 16/10/2010 20:58:33 »
Geezer, you beat me to it with a better response than I was concocting.

LeeE,the evidence I have for a positive effect of hugging a power line is exactly equal to your evidence for a negative association. For this topic I can't prove a negative affect, but I must accept the null hypothesis.

Steve
 

Offline LeeE

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« Reply #49 on: 17/10/2010 17:17:18 »
You are both claiming an undisputed fact, but the proof of that fact requires proving a negative, which cannot be done.

The options are a) EMR from overhead powerlines does cause cancer, b) EMR from overhead powerlines doesn't cause cancer, or c) EMR from overhead powerlines may cause cancer.

Option a) is clearly untrue because people do live beneath overhead powerlines without getting cancer.  Option b) though, which is what you are both trying to claim is true, depends upon proving a negative.  Because a) is proven to be untrue, and because b) cannot be proven, I am therefore adhering to option c).

You can both believe whatever you want, of course, but until there's proof it must remain just a belief.
 

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Is there any risk living under power lines?
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