Home > Industry Issues > Environmental > Electric and Magnetic Fields

Electric and Magnetic Fields

Issue SummaryIndustry Response | Resource Library

 

ISSUE SUMMARY

Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) have become a common element in our daily lives. EMF are present anywhere that there is current flow, including: household wiring, lighting, power lines and any electrical appliance that plugs into a wall socket.

 

Researchers began to study the health effects of exposure to all types of EMF in the 1970s. Since then, an extensive body of scientific literature has been developed, which guides the Canadian Electricity Association's (CEA) position that: Scientific evidence to date has not established adverse health effects resulting from exposure to power-frequency EMF, or Smart Meters RF EMF, at levels normally encountered in homes, schools and offices. This positon is informed by CEA's ongoing consideration of domestic and international guidelines, standards and scientific literature.

 

EMF originating from the power system are generally referred to as extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields, as they operate in the 60 Hz (hertz or cycles per second) range. Radio frequency (RF) EMF waves operate at a higher frequency of between 3 kHz and 300 GHz. These enable communication between a wide range of devices including wireless routers, portable phone bases and Smart Meters. Although RF waves fall outside of the ELF band they are still on the lower end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

 

Though both ELF and RF are properly categorized as EMF, ELF EMF is more commonly associated with electrical power equipment, whereas RF waves are utilized by communication devices and Smart Meters.


INDUSTRY RESPONSE

The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) finds that there is domestic and international scientific consensus that causation has not been established between ELF or RF EMF exposure via power lines or Smart Meterss and any chronic health effects. Therefore, CEA's position is that: Scientific evidence to date has not established adverse health effects resulting from exposure to power-frequency EMF, or Smart Meters RF EMF, at levels normally encountered in homes, schools and offices.

 

However, the Canadian electricity industry continues to support scientific research investigating exposure to EMF and any possible long-term health effects. Through the initiatives of CEA's Metering and EMF/RF task groups, utilities and leading members of the Canadian electricity industry continue to ensure institutional policies are in line with both domestic and international standards.

 

CEA and member companies also work to communicate accurate and up-to-date information to the public and employees regarding EMF. CEA continues to hold regular conferences on EMF and human health where international experts, industry and relevant regulatory bodies engage and stay current on the latest related research.

 

At CEA, the issue of ELF is managed by the CEA Generation Council and the issue of EMF is managed by the CEA Transmission Council, which maintains an EMF Task Group.,

 

 

Resource library

What are electric and magnetic fields? (PDF)

 

Overview of the Scientific Consensus (PDF)

 

Recent ELF and RF scientific literature reviews and weight-of-evidence studies (PDF)

 

Exposure guidelines for electric and magnetic fields (PDF)

 

Health Canada's It's Your Health