Electric & Magnetic Fields

What you should know about EMF safety and research

Understanding electric and 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 in everyday life.

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?

Scientists have been researching potential health effects from EMF exposure since the 1960s. 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.

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.