Exposure of children to residential magnetic fields in Norway: is proximity to power lines an adequate predictor of exposure?

Bioelectromagnetics. 1997;18(1):47-57.


The aim of this work was to study the exposure to magnetic fields of children living at different distances from a power line and to evaluate how well theoretical calculations compared with actual exposure. Personal exposure instruments were carried for 24 h by 65 schoolchildren living 28-325 m from a 300 kV transmission line; the current load was 200-700 A. About half of the children attended a school far from the power line, whereas the other half attended a school located about 25 m from the line. Exposure to magnetic fields was analyzed for three categories of location: at home, at school, and at all other places. Time spent in bed was analyzed separately. The results indicated that children who lived close to a power line had a higher magnetic field exposure than other children. The power line was the most important source of exposure when the magnetic field due to the line was greater than about 0.2 microT. Exposure at school influenced the 24 h time-weighted average results considerably in those cases where the distance between home and power line was very different from the distance between school and power line. The calculated magnetic field, based on line configuration, current load, and distance between home and power line, corresponded reasonably well with the measured field. However, the correlation depends on whether home only or 24 h exposure is used in the analysis and on which school the children attended. The calculated magnetic field seems to be a reasonably good predictor of actual exposure and could be used in epidemiological studies, at least in Norway, where the electrical system normally results in less ground current than in most other countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Magnetics / adverse effects*
  • Norway
  • Schools