Can Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Fry You to death? [Part 2]


Contents (maximize to view)

Let me go straight to the point by answering the question, “Can electric and magnetic fields (EMF) fry you to death?”. Hell no! Explanation of some facts is highly important to give justice to my answer though. So this time, allow me to relate what NGCP has to say on this health and environmental issue. Do you have to be alarmed if you live near a power line? Will bursts of EMF from your gadget or power lines kill you or give you cancer? Like I promised yesterday, I’ll delve on the these topics:

  • How strong is the EMF from electric power substations and transmission lines?
  • Is it safe to live near a transmission line?
  • How is National Grid Corporation of the Philippines addressing the EMF issue?
  • What are the latest scientific and medical reviews about EMF?
  • Gadget Pilipinas’ Opinion

How strong is the EMF from electric power substations and transmission lines?

In general, the strongest EMF in a [power] substation comes from the power transmission lines entering and leaving the substation. The strength of the EMF from the equipment located within a substation, transformers, reactors, capacitor banks, etc., decreases as distance increases.

As such, EMF produced by these equipment is so low as to be indistinguishable from background level by the time it reaches the substation wall or fence.

What NGCP means by “…so low as to distinguishable” is that produced EMFs by the mentioned equipment are minuscule compared to the exposure limits set by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection) in its guidelines. The mentioned guideline have been adopted in many countries including the Philippines through the Department of Health.

Exposure limit for general public for Electric Field (measured in kV/m) is 4.2 and for Magnetic Field (measured in mG) is 833. Transmissions lines along Tayabas-San Manuel-San Jose has 1.15 for electric field and 6.04 for Magnetic Field. So low…. right?

Is it safe to live near a transmission line?

Yes, as long as precautionary measures (e.g. observing safe distance from T/L [transmission line] conductors) are taken, as current scientific evidence does not provide a basis to stop building adjacent transmission line right-of-way.

NGCP, as the country’s sole operator of the transmission network, keeps the interest and welfare of host communities in mind when it designs and builds transmission lines.

NGCP’s facilities and operation are in accordance with the Philippine Electrical Code (PEC) and ICNIRP guidelines. The PEC specifies how far transmission line conductors to ground clearances and in railroads while ICNIRP guidelines set the EMF exposure limits.

If you live near a transmission line, don’t you dare climb onto it. That’s plain stupidity by the way. That will kill or even fry you to death.

How is National Grid Corporation of the Philippines addressing the EMF issue?

As part of its commitment to care for the communities that hosts its vital structures, NGCP is taking great efforts to have the most-up-to-date and relevant information on EMF. It has been following reviews, researches and development on EMF studies. The corporation likewise conducts information, campaigns on EMF for its employees and the general public.

Prior to the construction of new power lines and facilities, NGCP consults and coordinates with local government authorities and the public. It is also a standard operating procedure for the corporation to secure DOH clearances and Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for all its projects.

What are the latest scientific and medical reviews about EMF?

EMF exposure became a major public concern because some epidemiological studies have reported an association between EMF or the proximity of homes to power lines and childhood leukemia. Association, in this context, is used only to mean “likely to occur together,” not that one element is causing the other. Even then, other epidemiological studies, including the world’s largest of its kind conducted in the UK by the United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study from 1990-2002, could not confirm such association.

In factm extensive animal and cell studies of EMF have not reported a consistent relationship between EMF and health effects, cellular changes, or diseases, including several types of cancer. The US National Academy of Sciences – National Research Committee on the possible effects of EMF on biological systems (1996) and the ICNIRP Standing Committee on Epidemiology (2000) also made comprehensive reviews and evaluation of published studies and epidemiological literature on EMF and health. They both concluded that the current body of evidence does not show that exposure to EMF presents a health hazard and that there is little or no association of magnetic fields with childhood leukemia.

The general concensus of the international scientific community today is that after more than 20 years of research, science has not established a causal link between exposure to EMF and risks to public health.

With all these facts and studies, NGCP along with the scientific community spent a lot of money and effort to come up with a definitive answer whether EMF is dangerous to our health or not. The least that we can do is to support their claim and spread the news.

I hope that you find this two-part article informative. If you have any comments or questions, hit the comments box below. I will have to relay some of your questions though to NGCP because they are the experts on this matter.


Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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