Home > Safety & Environmental Help and Guidance > Are Sub-Stations and 5G Near My House a Problem?
If you are looking to purchase a new house that happens to be near an electricity sub-station or maybe a mobile phone or 5G mast, or if they are being built near to you, then should you be concerned about the electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) being emitted from them?
EMF’s are everywhere and are even present in nature, although of course, we have increased the production of them enormously through mobile phone technology, Wi-Fi and an increase in electricity consumption in our homes. So, should we be worried about the effect on our health?
This is an area that has been subject to a huge amount of research by many and varied organisations, be it private, government or independent. Cohort studies combining all the data from many of these papers has led to the current conclusion that there is no convincing evidence for adverse long-term health effects from power distribution or mobile phone masts providing exposures are kept below internationally agreed levels (set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection – ICNIRP). To be really clear, this does not say there is definitely no potential for health effects, but that we can’t yet find any evidence of it.
High enough levels of EMF’s for short exposure times can lead to immediate health problems such as tissue warming, eye-sight disruption, disorientation and, most worryingly, interference with implanted medical devices. These effects do require significantly high levels though, that you would not normally find in everyday life. In fact, the largest EMF doses most of us receive are from our mobile phones, which we have now been in use for almost 30 years, so any significant health problems would probably have shown themselves by now.
The good news is that EMF’s really do not travel very well. If you move 25m away from a high voltage powerline, the levels drop by about 90% and as most of them are at least 25m high, then the risks become minimal. Smaller devices give an even more dramatic effect, with levels dropping to be of limited significance when you move 1m away
Most electricity sub-stations are usually more than a few meters away from any property and in those cases where we have measured levels, we have never found a problem with EMF’s inside the dwelling. This is not to say that it would never be the case, but the chance of having worryingly high levels of EMF’s in your house from a sub-station is probably very low.
The next generation of mobile phone signals is called 5G, which simply stands for 5th generation. The technology used to transmit the signals and the frequencies used are broadly the same as we have always used for mobile phones, but the difference is that there will be many more low-powered transmitters and receivers than with existing 4G or 3G masts.
In theory, this means that, especially in a city, you are more likely to be close to a 5G transmitter than you would to a 4G one, but then, they have a lower power output, so the signal will lessen with distance quite dramatically.
Clearly, it is not possible to know for sure if 5G could pose any type of risk, although with what we already know about mobile telecommunications and EMF’s of many other origins, it is unlikely that this will be any different.
It is possible to measure the levels of EMF’s in and around your home and compare these to the international levels issued by ICNIRP. In most cases, however, this is not worth the cost it would be to you and unless there is something really unusual about your house, then experience suggests that there won’t normally be a problem.
It is vital that these issues are continually monitored, and this is the job of the government’s Health Protection Agency (HPA), where you will find plenty of information and advice regarding electromagnetic fields. Research into this area is ongoing and there are new studies being carried out all the time. The advice from the HPA will change if there is any significant change in the evidence base, so if you are at all worried, then you can monitor that to keep yourself up to date.
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