Electric and magnetic fields are found everywhere electricity or electrical equipment is being used – including in the home, office, work sites and around transmission lines.

In other words, people are exposed to them each and every day.

At Powerlink, we understand some members of the community have an interest in electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). Like other transmission authorities in Australia, we closely follow ongoing research and developments in this area, and take our advice about EMF from recognised national and international authorities including the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

In Australia, the Federal Government agency responsible for EMF regulation is ARPANSA. Powerlink complies with the guidelines set by ARPANSA. A fact sheet developed by ARPANSA, Electricity and Health, concludes:

"The scientific evidence does not establish that exposure to the electric and magnetic fields found around the home, the office or near powerlines causes health effects."
 

Even though there’s no scientifically proven causal link between EMF at levels found around the home, the office or near powerlines, and adverse effects on human health, we nevertheless follow a ‘prudent avoidance’ approach in the design and siting of our network assets. This includes trying to locate new transmission line easements away from homes, schools and community facilities where it’s practical to do so, and the added cost is modest.

Powerlink is also a member of the Energy Networks Australia (ENA) Committee that monitors and compiles up-to-date information about EMF on behalf of all electricity network businesses in Australia. This includes subscribing to an international monitoring service that keeps the industry informed about any new developments regarding EMF such as new research studies, literature and research reviews, publications, and conferences.

Exposure guidelines for powerline EMF

ICNIRP has issued Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric and Magnetic Fields (1 Hz -100 kHz). These guidelines are consistent with ARPANSA’s understanding of the scientific basis for EMF exposure for the general public and workers.

Anyone with an interest in finding out more about EMF can visit the ARPANSA or ENA websites, or call Powerlink on 1800 635 369 (during business hours).