Power & Utility Lines
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Looking for company to underground utility wires in Berkeley
- Power line hazard?
Hi, I looked in the BPN archives and saw nothing related to undergrounding power lines from the street to a private house. We live in North Berkeley and between the large street trees, trees in the yards and the small lots, our neighbor's power lines (phone, cable, etc.) from the phone pole on the street rub directly against the side of our house. On her end, the power pole is tangled in a large tree and she regularly loses phone service. These lines should be undergrounded. I wanted to look into the cost of undergrounding utility lines from the street to private homes. Who do you call? Which city agencies or which companies do this sort of thing? If you have knowledge of the process, please share. Thanks, Mollie
when our street was undergrounded, gill's electric did the work. anon
We live in a corner lot home in Alameda that is a few feet from several power distribution lines (the wooden poles are in front of and on the side of our house.) I never really thought about them as hazards since I had always heard that the evidence linking power lines and cancer was very weak. Recently, however, I have read a couple of reports (one from the CA Dept of Health) that indicate that a review of all the studies reveals an overall trend that indicates that there might be a risk, particularly for young children. I believe the term used was that there is a ''suspected'' link (rather than the more conclusive term ''probable'' link) between power line/EMF exposure and cancer.
I saw online that there is a company that will test your home for EMF radiation. However this company also sells services to reduce radiation, so I am a bit skeptical that we can trust them to give an unbiased advice on what we should do.
How have BPNers dealt with this issue? Should we just not worry about it? There seem to be so many cancer warnings out there, it is hard to know which to focus on, and which to not worry about!
Appreciate your advice!
THERE IS NO RISK. (PEROID) THIS IS JUNK SCIENCE
This is a big scam that began years ago by some doctor who was trying to sell a book. The studies he cited were all bogus as have all subsequent studies. If EMF from power lines were dangerous (caused cancer, diseases and shortened life) then the people who work in power plants (where the EMF is much higher) would have high rates of these diseases. Studies have shown they don't.
The EMF also makes for a good "care"news story too. Look at the words the CA Dept of health uses, "indicates there might be a risk. Indicates is now where near cause and effect.
You can hire a company to test for EMF and I assure you they will find high levels of EMF in your house. Some of it is natural and other man made. Your house sits on one of the largest EMF fields, the earth, which is natural. The magnetic filed around the earth protects us from another natural source of EMF which is the sun. Without the earth's EMF field protecting us, we wouldn't be here.
As for man made, everyone in the Bay Area is being bombarded with EMF. Sources are radio, TV broadcast, (Ch 2 is in your area and now that there are HD is 4 times stronger) Oakland Airports radar system (right in your backyard) Microwave links for communications as well as power line. In your house sources are cordless phones, cell phones, computer wireless networks, hair dryer and TVs. There is no place on earth where you can live to avoid being exposed to EMF.
If you are still concerned about EMF then you should not fly. If you fly from SF to NY you are exposed to more EMF in that one flight then having several chest x-rays.
Don't fall for this junk science. -
The evidence regarding the effects of EMF on health is accumulating, but at this point it remains suspected and it's difficult to make the link between and individual's exposure and health effects that might result. You could take a precautionary approach and reduce exposures, if you can do so in a reasonable way. Not living near power lines would be nice, but perhaps that is not an option. Don't waste your money on hiring this firm. Having EMF measured is not likely to be helpful, as there are no health standards. Undergrounding the lines will reduce exposure (but is expensive and the city will have to agree). I'm not sure what else the firm proposes to do to reduce your exposures. EMF does drop greatly with distance away from the source. EMF is emitted from the outlets in your home and from electronic equipment you use (although this is a minor source). Cell phones also may result in EMF exposure--you can reduce use (especially among children), hold the phone away from your head by using an earpiece (bluetooth may not reduce exposures as much), and keep the cell phone away from your body as much as possible. environmental public health professional
Some facts: The emf field is proportional to current not voltage. The thicker the wire the higher the current it can potentially carry.
The emf field drops off with the square of the distance. So 10 amps in a cord to a heater two feet from you is like 1,000 amps in a wire 20 feet from you. I seriously doubt there is 1,000 amps in a residential line but the Alameda Municipal Power Agency should be able to tell you the maximum and maybe the typical current in the lines on your streets. The typical current will be much less than the maximum capacity.
People have been living with 10-20 amps flowing near them in houses for a century without obvious effect. On the other hand I would never choose to be a linesman working everyday near high current electrified transmission lines.
You are right to be skeptical of people offering to protect you from emf. My impression it would be hard to do without living in a grounded house made of metal.
Another fact: Driving a car is far more dangerous than emf.
See NCI fact sheet: Magnetic Field Exposure and Cancer: Questions and Answers. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/magnetic- fields
This power line thing is non-sense. you get much higher emf exposure to your electric razor for instance becasue it is so close to you. And that's not a worry either. No cancer link. sean
If you are seriously concerned about those powerlines, you may want to consider not using electricity at all. Anything electric has an electric magnetic field. So your cell phone, microwave, tv, dvd player, hair dryer, shaver, kitchen appliances etc..... anon