Distributing electricity throughout the United Kingdom takes careful planning with many people working together. It is distributed over a large network of power lines and underground cables. Power is stepped down through a variety of substations, which then leads to houses and businesses for usable electricity. Are substations affecting the health of people with electric and magnetic frequencies?
Types of UKPN Substations
The ones that carry the highest voltage are grid substations, which are broken down into into two different types. The grid supply point carries voltage transformation levels from 400kV which is stepped down to 132kV. The bulk supply point steps the voltage down from 132kV to 33kV. A primary substation will drop the voltage from 33kV to 11kV. The final phase is the distribution substation, which drops the voltage from 11kV to 400/230 volts, which is the proper voltage that businesses and home owners use to run electrical devices.
Outside substations are quire compact with the switch gear, transformer, and fuse board made into a single unit. They are enclosed with fencing and monitored with electronic security to prevent crime and vandalism. Indoor substations have everything spaced out instead of compacting them into a single unit. These type of units issue more electromagnetic fields than an outside substation. Some of the final distribution substations are mounted on wooden poles. Overhead power lines are the biggest cause of electromagnetic frequencies in the UK.
Electric Magnetic Fields and Health Issues
There have been many studies linked to the effects of electromagnetic fields and types of cancers in both children and adults. Even though substations and power lines emit low levels of EMF, studies have been inconclusive on whether they cause health issues. Those with long term exposures face the greatest risk of leukemia and brain tumors. Some people claim that being exposed to electromagnetic frequencies are a source of depression, migraines, sleeping disorders, and even epileptic seizures. Without further study and evidence, these health problems originating from substations and power lines will remain unresolved.
Compliance of the UK Electric System
One meter is the standard height for measuring both electrical and magnetic fields. This is applied where exposure time is significant, instead of everywhere the public has access to. There should be a three part process for checking compliance against the reference level. The field should be below the level of reference, which is 100 hertz and 5 kV for public exposure.
Power Pylon – High-Voltage Transmission
Power pylons are tall metal towers with overhead wires attached to transmit electricity. The lines are held by a layer of insulated discs that keep the electricity away from the metal so no one can get electrocuted when touching the pylons. These are usually used to transmit high-voltage electricity without losing voltage.
The low voltage distribution is the final step down to distributing electricity to customers. This is distributed through underground cables and overhead power lines. The final voltage here is 400 volts and less which powers the electrical devises in homes and businesses. This can be a cause of higher magnetic fields in most homes. Magnetic fields are very hard to shield against, as they go through trees, all types of buildings, fences, and roofs. They are also present in homes in wiring and during the use of appliances.
These magnetic fields can affect the behavior of children and perhaps their future reproduction efforts. It can also be a possible cause of involuntary twitching and muscle spasms. Strong magnetic fields can cause phosphenes, which is a sensation of flickering and twitching of vision in some people.
Buying a House Near a Substation or Power Lines
Conducting an EMF survey should be done when buying a home near a substation or power lines for a variety of reasons. If it is shown that there is excessive electromagnetic frequencies, it will lower the resell value of any future sale. Most research shows that EMF can have a possible adverse effect on your family now and in the future. Living long term while being exposed to higher doses is very questionable.
Your body has an electromagnetic field of its own which helps maintain many different functions. Even low level interactions with EMF can disrupt circulation, the digestive system, and compromise the immune system. It is a possible effect on the metabolism, which can affect sleep patterns and lead to elevated levels of stress.
For those with health problems or lowered immune systems, it is necessary to conduct a survey of the electromagnetic frequency of any home that you are planning to purchase that is near power lines or a substation. This is also true for pregnant women and those planning pregnancies in the future. Taking a risk that could affect your health and the future of your family is something that needs considered before making any purchase.
Power lines and substations are a necessary part of distributing electricity to millions of people. Safety precautions have been taken to make these areas safe for the general public. The majority of people will never be affected by low doses of electromagnetic frequencies, which tend to influence those who already have health issues.