Can Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Fry You to death? [Part 1]


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You passed by a street while listening to Mike Enriquez on DZBB and you noticed that there was a static burst that temporarily consumed Mr.Ekskiyusmipo on air totally. That my friend is no monstah. It’s simply an EMF emitted from electric lines hanging along the street you just passed by. What is EMF by the way? Is it even dangerous to your health? National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) Environmental Management Division prepared something for all of us to fully understand what EMF is and its effect to our safety. This might be long but I believe you should read it.

What is EMF?

Electric and magnetic (EMF) are invisible lines of force that surround any electric device including power lines, electric wiring and electrical equipment. It is a form of electromagnetic energy just like X-rays, visible light, microwaves, and radio waves. The main difference, though, is that it occurs at extremely low frequencies (ELF).

Electric fields are produced by voltage and measured in units of volts per meter (V/m). Magnetic fields, on the other hand result from the flow of current through wires or electrical devices and are measured in units of gauss (G) or tesla (T).

The earth itself produces EMF. Electrical fields are produced by thunderstorm activity in the atmosphere. Magnetic fields are produced by electric currents flowing deep in the earth’s molten core. The earth acts like a large magnet. The earth’s magnetic field averages around milliGauss (mG).

EMF’s definition may be too hifalutin but hey, I think it is about time for us to know more about EMF’s. Early studies link exposure to EMF increase the risk of cancer. The latter research is passe though because there had been more studies and reviews that rule out the relationship of EMF and cancer. NGCP also provided supporting research regarding this matter which you can read later.

What happens when I am exposed to EMF?

Alternating magnetic fields produced by alternating current (AC) electricity can induce the flow of weak electric currents in the bodies of people and animals.

However, such currents from 60-Hz EMF are weaker than natural currents in the body – such as those from the electrical activity of the brain, nerves, and heart.

Strong electric fields, such as those found beneath large transmission lines (like what you see along Aguinaldo Highway if you are going to Tagaytay), can cause light vibration in the hairs on your head, or on your arms. This is felt as a “tingling sensation” by some people. Electric fields rapidly become weaker as the distance from the line increases. It is also shielded and weakened by trees, buildings and other subjects.

Surprisingly, there is also an unsupported claim that frequent and consistent exposure to EMF can make a person feel like he’s being watched by “someone” and can induce goosebumps brought about by the thought that a ghost is nearby. If you are watching or you are a fan of Ghost Adventures, Zag Bagans would always say – which Paranormal experts also say – EMFs are said to be an invisible energy that Ghosts give off. I’m saying too much about ghosts now. I think I should stop now.

Tomorrow, I will relay more debatable and intriguing yet important topics about EMF and your health prepared by NGCP. Topics tomorrow include the following:

  • 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
Thumbnail: Courtesy of Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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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