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Electric & Magnetic Fields
Electric & Magnetic Fields
What you should know about EMF safety and research
Electric & Magnetic Fields

Electricity is essential to our modern world. But over the years, public concern has arisen from confusing and sometimes conflicting research about the electric and magnetic fields associated with everyday life. We want to share what we know about them.

Understanding electric and magnetic fields
Electric and magnetic fields are invisible fields created by both natural and man-made sources. A natural source of EMF is the earth’s magnetic force field, while man-made sources include anything that conducts or consumes electricity — such as an alarm clock, refrigerator or power line. The strength of both electric and magnetic fields weaken quickly as you move away from the source, just like heat from a fire.

Typical 60Hz fields near electrical equipment
Magnetic fields indoors
(Measured in milligauss, a unit of magnetic field intensity)
  At 6 inches At 1 foot At 2 feet
Microwave oven 100-300 1-200 1-30
Clothes washer 4-100 1-30 1-6
Portable heater 5-150 1-40 1-8
Television N/A 7-20 2-8
Hair dryer 1-700 1-70 1-10
Electric range 20-200 8-30 2-9
Source: EMF Rapid, June 2002, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Magnetic fields outdoors
(Measured in milligauss, a unit of magnetic field intensity)
Distribution lines 1-70 under the line
Transmission lines 5-30 edge of right of way
Source: EMF Rapid, June 2002, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

What does the research say?
Three decades of research studies and scientific reviews have been conducted to examine any health effects from exposure to EMF. Multi-disciplinary review studies have consistently concluded there is insufficient evidence to establish causality between EMF and adverse human health hazards. Because of the lack of evidence, no “safe” or “unsafe” levels of exposure to EMF have been established by the government or health organizations.

Although no significant causal link has been established, some research results have been confusing and sometimes conflicting — and leave many of our customers with questions about exposure to EMF.

PGE is committed to your safety
At PGE, safety is always our top priority. We understand you may have concerns about EMF at home, in the workplace and around power lines. PGE works to address those concerns by:

  • Employing EMF industry best practices in siting power facilities
  • Keeping informed on the latest research from universities, federal and state health agencies, industry sponsored programs and international health organizations
  • Serving as a source of information for elected officials, government agencies and electric utility regulators
  • Sharing accurate and objective information about EMF with our customers. See the sidebar at right for links to the latest EMF research from reliable third-party sources.
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