does living next to a substation endanger your health?

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dove | 19:06 Fri 14th Nov 2008 | Technology
11 Answers
hi, am thinking of buying a house with a substation at the bottom af the garden. does anyone know if it is harmful to your health ?
i have googled but am not getting the right answers.
thanks in anticipation.


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electricity ya?

never been proved mate.; i work on a power station and no direct links to cancer etc..

but will it be noisy? all the buzzing etc?
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thanks kitesurfer, its only a small one and you cant hear a thing, but someone said that it has links to cancer and other illnesses.
I don't know - there isn't a proven link - but it's included in your survey
(2-part post):

All electrical circuits produce electromagnetic radiation. That applies to a tiny torch, with a couple of 1.5V batteries, as well as it does to power lines or substations. Obviously, the strength of the radiation (as well as the frequency) will vary depending upon the situation but (unless you're prepared to live in a house without electricity) it would be madness to assume that all electromagnetic radiation is harmful. The intensity of the radiation, together with the duration of exposure, is all important.

While I'm not making any claims to be an 'expert' in such matters, I did attend a week-long course (when I completed the Physics element of my teaching qualification) relating to exposure to various types of radiation. Further, I've written a couple of articles summarising the reasearch (and I've read dozens of others). So here, for what it's worth, are my own views:
If someone offered me a job working at a desk, every day of the week, right next to a transformer like those you find in sub-stations, I'd turn it down and report the matter to the Health & Safety Executive. (That close, for that long might possibly present an increased risk of cancer. Even so, the evidence for an increased risk is still not clear. It would simply be a case of 'better safe than sorry').

However, If someone offered me accommodation in a house with a sub-station at the end of the garden, I'd have no concerns at all. (That comment is not just 'theoretical'. When I moved from Sheffield to Suffolk, I spent a year living with my father, until I could buy my own house. He had a sub-station at the end of his garden and it never concerned me in the least).

If you're concerned about the levels of radiation that 'casual' contact with a substation might bring, I have to assume that you never use a mobile phone (which produces far higher levels of radiation, at potentially more damaging frequencies, far closer to your body).

My brother and his wife lived quite happily in a house with a substation in their garden for 30 years (since moved) without any ill effects to health. They actually both worked in the health service.
Apart from the green scaly warts, you'd think they were normal. (joke)
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wow buenchico, thankyou so much for a fab answer, Im impressed!
chrisrob thankyou also for your answer, if I take the house your brother and his wife can come to my house warming ,and we will be able to compare
Electric companies deny that the electromagnetic fields coming from transformers and substations have any ill-health effects, BUT THESE FIELDS ARE NOT THE ONLY DANGER COMING FROM ELECTRIC TRANSFORMERS:-

Transformers in substations are constructed using the highly toxic chemicals called Polychlorinated Biphenyls, which can cause cancer. Whether Polychlorinated Biphenyls are still used in modern transformers, I do not know, but many older existing transformers extensively used such chemicals, which then leak out, and contaminate the land and local area around the substation.

Thus the ill-health clusters around transformers have probably more to do with the leaking Polychlorinated Biphenyls that have soaked into the local environment, than the electromagnetic fields transformers create.

So it depends on how much Polychlorinated Biphenyls have contaminated the land around the substation in terms of the ill health effects you may experience.

I know this is fairly late in the day, I live with a substation just over the fence at the back of my house, it's a big one that services approximately half of my estate. When I bought the house I researched living near one and like you could not find any decent answers.

I have lived here for the past 7 years and have never been so settled.

You probably have a distribution substation in the garden. The input for a distribution substation is typically at least two transmission or subtransmission lines. Input voltage may be, for example, 115 kV, or whatever is common in the area. The output is a number of feeders. Distribution voltages are typically medium voltage, between 2.4 and 33 kV depending on the size of the area served and the practices of the local utility.
The feeders run along streets overhead (or underground, in some cases) and power the distribution transformers at or near the customer premises.

In addition to transforming voltage, distribution substations also isolate faults in either the transmission or distribution systems. Distribution substations are typically the points of voltage regulation, although on long distribution circuits (of several miles/kilometers), voltage regulation equipment may also be installed along the line.

My research lead me to the following: check the cables going in and out of the substation, by me the feed in was the other side of the substation, the feed out runs up my drive. I felt comfortable buying my home with this information, I have also planted willow in front of it because I read that trees, fencing sheds etc break up EMF. Having said that the wall of your home will further break it up. It may all be for nothing but it made me feel a whole more comfortable living near it.

The thing even blew a gasket and exploded 6 months after we moved in, most of the area were without power for several hours while we were re-routed, after a few weeks a massive huge crane delivered a new transformer thingy to be installed and we were all switched back to it. my neighbours and I are comfortable living with it and do not feel any urge to get away.

Hope this helps. xx
I’ve been through this and in my experience - some are OK and some are NOT
Talk to the people at:
So Anthonyskyhigh, I took your advice and called the people at and this is what I found out:

Firstly, the guy I spoke to had a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering which gave me a lot of confidence, because I don’t think that I would want to be advised by some layperson!!

Secondly, they explained that the UK regulations don’t take any health issues into account, that is, they are concerned with electric-shock issues not biological ones!!

Thirdly, the guidelines that do consider biological and cellular issues are The SAGE Report which is funded equally by the Department of Health, the Electricity Industry and the charity CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA and also The Building Biology Evaluation Guidelines which was commissioned by the German government.

And finally, I was impressed with what I heard so I had a survey done to be certain that I wasn’t going to regret it at a later date. The figures came out in a report the next day, as they were downloaded onto graphs with some high-tech equipment, but the good news was that they were well below the biological guidelines. I am so happy because the house is a brilliant buy. It cost me £400 for the survey but I think it was money well spent because the whole issue of childhood leukaemia scares me to death.

So that’s what I found out, but also I wanted to say thank you to Anthonyskyhigh for posting that comment, and to the people at substation-health-risks because everything has turned out just dandy.
Lol to all, Debsie xx

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