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Biological influences of power frequency electric fields—A tutorial review from a physical and experimental viewpoint

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2 Author(s)
Bridges, J.E. ; IIT Research Institute, Chicago, IL ; Preache, M.

This paper summarizes the results of two extensive literature reviews on the biological effects of electric fields from EHV transmission lines. While considerable data exist on this subject major problems were found in much of the literature. It was found that electric field induces about the same body cuirent into humans as that experienced by individuals touching household appliances. As a consequence, the electric field environment from EHV lines is only a subset of the ubiquitous 50-60 Hz electromagnetic environment found throughout industrialized communities. The omission of such environmental considerations has limited the usefulness of a number of studies. A lack of understanding of how electric fields couple energy into animals has resulted in inconclusive research or inappropriate interpretation of results. A common misinterpretation has been to extend experimental results observed for fish or quadrupeds to erect humans on a simplistic volts-per-meter exposure basis. While some of the studies reviewed noted potential deleterious effects at likely field levels for animal subjects, none of these reported effects could be unequivocally attributed to direct effects of the electric fields, In these cases the studies did not adequately consider the influence of competing factors in the test environment or biological procedures which could cause the same effect. Such neglect represents a major obstacle in attempting to evaluate the results of these studies.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:69 ,  Issue: 9 )