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IRJET-Effect of High Voltage Transmission Lines on Human Health, Plant Life, and Animal Activity

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Due to increase in energy cost of transmission and new sources of energy, high voltage transmission becomes the most economical for the transfer of large amounts of electrical power because the higher the transmission voltage, the more efficient and cheaper the transmission. Due to increase in population, the towns are expanding, and naturally result in the construction of buildings near high voltage power lines. Simultaneously, the related public health and other detrimental effects on human, plant, and animal health crop up. This paper outlines the health effects of high voltage AC transmission and high voltage DC transmission on humans, plants, and animals based on epidemiologic studies. Due to increase in power demand because of population explosion, the need for transmitting huge amounts of power over long distances has increased. This paper gives the reader an in-depth analysis of all the effects of high voltage transmission on any living being. There are long-term effects and short-term effects on all living beings. Large transmission lines with high voltage and high current levels produce electric and magnetic field in the neighborhood. This paper also describes, in detail, the effects of magnetic, electric field, and electromagnetic field on human life, animal life, and plant life. This paper also elucidates on the methods to reduce the adverse effects caused by these fields. There are many supporting documents and research papers in favor of and against the harmful effects of these high voltage transmission lines. Therefore, there is a controversy discussion regarding these effects, involving government regulation policy and power companies.

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International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET)
Volume: 02 Issue: 03 | June-2015
www.irjet.net

e-ISSN: 2395-0056
p-ISSN: 2395-0072

Effect of High Voltage Transmission Lines on Human Health, Plant Life,
and Animal Activity
Anirudh Balaji
Student , Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Rajalakshmi Engineering College,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Abstract- Due to increase in energy cost of
transmission and new sources of energy, high voltage
transmission becomes the most economical for the
transfer of large amounts of electrical power because
the higher the transmission voltage, the more efficient
and cheaper the transmission. Due to increase in
population, the towns are expanding, and naturally
result in the construction of buildings near high voltage
power lines. Simultaneously, the related public health
and other detrimental effects on human, plant, and
animal health crop up. This paper outlines the health
effects of high voltage AC transmission and high voltage
DC transmission on humans, plants, and animals based
on epidemiologic studies. Due to increase in power
demand because of population explosion, the need for
transmitting huge amounts of power over long
distances has increased. This paper gives the reader an
in-depth analysis of all the effects of high voltage
transmission on any living being. There are long-term
effects and short-term effects on all living beings. Large
transmission lines with high voltage and high current
levels produce electric and magnetic field in the
neighborhood. This paper also describes, in detail, the
effects of magnetic, electric field, and electromagnetic
field on human life, animal life, and plant life. This
paper also elucidates on the methods to reduce the
adverse effects caused by these fields. There are many
supporting documents and research papers in favor of
and against the harmful effects of these high voltage
transmission lines. Therefore, there is a controversy
discussion
regarding
these
effects,
involving
government regulation policy and power companies.

shielding, grounding, compaction, human health, plant
health, animal health.
1. INTRODUCTION
There are two fields associated with a transmission
line. They are: electric field and magnetic field.
Together, they are called as electromagnetic field or
EMF. They occur naturally as a result of power
generation, power transmission, power distribution
and use of electric power. Each has its own effects on
the health of different living organisms and they are
discussed in detail in the upcoming paragraphs.
1.1. ELECTRIC FIELD
Electric field exists whenever a positive and negative
electrical charge is present. They exert forces on
other charges within the field. The strength of the
electric field is measured in Volts per Meter V/m or
in kV/m. The intensity of the electric field depends
upon the following factors:







Actual transmission voltage
Distance between conductors in the ground.
The phase spacing if you have two circuits
next to each other as well as geometric
configuration of the conductors.
By the surrounding environment like tall
objects such as trees, skyscrapers, fences, etc.
The transmission center line tangential
distance.

Keywords: high voltage, AC Transmission, DC
Transmission, health effects of high voltage, line
© 2015, IRJET.NET- All Rights Reserved

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International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET)
Volume: 02 Issue: 03 | June-2015
www.irjet.net


The elevation of the point of measurement

active magnetic field. The magnetic field depends on
the following factors:






with respect to ground.
Chart 1: Effect of Voltage at different distances
from axis of line
The electric field in a power line varies very little
because the voltage essentially remains constant.
Each power line runs along a corridor of land called
easement. The width of the easement is determined
by the electrical load on the system. Public access to
an easement is permitted but building and long term
occupation are not allowed. At the edge of the
easement, the EMFs are appreciably lower than at the
center. The WHO limits are not exceeded anywhere
within the easement. The EMFs outside the easement
are consequently well below these limits. For
example, for a typical 330kV transmission tower, the
easement width is 60m.

e-ISSN: 2395-0056
p-ISSN: 2395-0072

The ratings of current passing in the
conductors. For example, typical linesaverage current of 700A, largest line- average
current of 4000A.
Clearance of the line. We observe that
maximum field occur underneath the
conductor, and falls rapidly with distance on
either side.
Phasing of the conductors like conductor
spacing, phase positioning, and phase
balancing affects the magnetic field. The
phase positioning are of two types,
untransposed phasing and transposed
phasing. Untransposed phasing is where the
phases on both sides of the line are in the
same order from top to bottom and we have a
magnetic field which decreases with inversesquare of the distance. Transposed phasing is
where the phases of one side are opposite
order to the others on the second side. The
magnetic
field
decreases
inversely
proportional to the cube of the distance.

Magnetic field are the result of motion of electric
charge or current when there is a current flowing
through a power line. The magnetic field lines run in
circles around the conductor. The magnetic field are
usually measure in Tesla.
2. ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD EFFECT ON HUMAN
BEINGS

1.2. MAGNETIC FIELD

The human body is composed of some biological
materials like blood, bones, brain, lungs, etc. The
permeability of the human body is equal to the
permeability of the air, but within the human bodyit
has different electromagnetic values at a certain
frequency.

The magnetic field from a power line can vary widely
because the current in the wires depends upon the
amount of power consumed. There are two basic
50Hz magnetic field, passive magnetic field and

The human body also contains free electric charges
which are ion rich fluids like blood and limb, which
move in response to forces exerted by charges on and
currents flowing in nearby power lines. This process

Note: The electric field exists even when there is no
current flowing.

© 2015, IRJET.NET- All Rights Reserved

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International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET)
Volume: 02 Issue: 03 | June-2015
www.irjet.net
that produce these body currents are called electric
and magnetic induction.
In electric induction charges on power line attract or
repel free charges within the body (our body contains
both positive and negative charges). Since the body
fluids are good conductors of electricity, charges in
the body move to the surface under the influence of
electric force. For example, a positively charged
overhead transmission line induces negative charges
to flow through the surfaces on the upper part of the
body. Similarly, negative charges induces positive
charges. Therefore, the charge on the power lines
alternates between positive and negative many times
in a second and the charges induced on the body
surface also alternates, i.e., negative charges induced
in the upper part of the body at one instant flow into
the lower part of the body at the next instance. The
power frequency electric field induce currents in the
body (eddy current) as well as charges on its surface.

Chart 2: Field lines passing through human body
Magnetic induction: The current induced in the body
by magnetic field are greatest near the periphery of
the body and smallest at the center of the body.
 Magnetic field induces a voltage in the tissue
of human body, which causes a current to
flow through it due to its conductivity.

© 2015, IRJET.NET- All Rights Reserved

e-ISSN: 2395-0056
p-ISSN: 2395-0072

 The magnetic field has the influence on the
tissues of the human body, these maybe
beneficial or harmful depending upon the
nature.
 The magnitude of the surface charge and
internal body currents by any given source of
power frequency depends upon many
factors. For example, this includes magnitude
of the currents and charges in the source, the
distance of the body from the source, the
presence of other objects that might shield or
concentrate the field and the body posture,
shape, and orientation. For this reason, the
surface charges and the currents, which a
given field induces are very different for
different for different human beings.
 When a person who is isolated from the
ground by some insulating material, comes in
close quarters to an overhead transmission
line, and electrostatic field is set up in the
body of the human being whose ordinary
resistance is about 2000Ω. When the same
person touches the grounded object, it will
discharge through his body causing a large
current to flow through the body. Discharge
currents from 50Hz electromagnetic field are
weaker than natural currents.
 For human beings the limit of the
undisturbed field is 15kV/m RMS to
experience possible shock.
2.1. SHORT TERM HEALTH PROBLEMS:High
power lines emit high levels of electromagnetic
radiation. These hazardous man-made EMFs
interact in a destructive way with natural
electromagnetic fields that exists within human
beings. They interfere with cell function, break
DNA strands, and erode the immune system.
These biological irregularities cause initial
symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches,
nausea, and digestive disorders. They often
culminate in causing more serious disorders in
children, pregnant women, and elderly people.
2.2. LONG TERM HEALTH PROBLEMS:
Overhead high voltage power line causes
ionization of air emitting trillions of corona ions
into the air per second. These ions get attached
to the aerosol particles of many types of
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International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET)
Volume: 02 Issue: 03 | June-2015
www.irjet.net
carcinogenic air pollution like diesel exhaust,
flame retardants in furniture, unintentional byproducts of industries, etc. The charged pollution
particles are then carried by the wind up to 7kms
downwind of the power line and deposit in the
lungs at a significantly greater rate than
uncharged pollutant particles. The analysis of
corona effect risk shows that up to 400 excess
cases of lung cancer mortality and 3000 excess
cases of cardiovascular and respiratory illness
and aggravated asthma may occur annually
among 2.7 million people living within overhead
high voltage lines. The following is an exhaustive
list of negative health outcomes with overhead
high voltage power lines exposure over an
extended period of time:
 Variety of childhood and adult cancers
 Childhood and adult leukemia
 Alzheimer’s disease
 Suicide
 Depression
 Stress
 Specific types of heart disease
 Tumor growth
 Skin growth
 Abnormal cell activity
 Impairment of perception and memory
 Genetic defects
 Gland production deficiency
 Mental and behavioral problems
 Immune system deficiency
 Nervous system disorder
 Birth defects
 Miscarriages
 Stunting of growth
 Fatigue
 Headache
 Nausea
 Decrease in visual and motor reaction
time
 Male sexual dysfunction
 Aggravation of asthma
 Sleep deprivation
 Electromagnetic hypersensitivity

© 2015, IRJET.NET- All Rights Reserved

e-ISSN: 2395-0056
p-ISSN: 2395-0072

Many scientific and medical studies show that higher
risks of childhood leukemia are found in children
living near overhead lines.
People who live, work or attend school near have
increased risk of contracting cancers of different
types.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have been directly
linked to exposure of high voltage overhead lines.
The risk of Alzheimer’s increases to 4.9 times and
dementia to 2.5 times the normally expected rate.
3. EFFECT OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD ON
ANIMALS
Exposure to high voltage power lines, EMF results in
decrease of 5% in milk yield, 13.8% in fat corrected
milk yield, and 16.4% in milk fat among the cows.
High voltage power lines cause breathing problems
and weakened system in cows and pigs. High voltage
power lines cause abnormally low pig birth rate, and
high piglet mortality, and undersize heifers, and some
afflicted with hemorrhages or abortions. Dogs and
cats exposed to high EMF levels are still born and
deformed puppies and kittens and have abnormal unbreed able seasons, and show risks of lymph cancer
6.8 times the expected rate. Animals kept below high
electrostatic field acquires a charge and when they
try to drink water, a spark usually jumps from their
nose to the grounded pipe. Like hens are unable to
pick up grains because of chattering of beaks and it
also affects their growth.
4. EFFECT OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELD ON
PLANTS
The electromagnetic field from high power
transmission lines affects the growth of plants in
agricultural and forest lands near high power
transmission lines. Current in power transmission
lines varies according to the load. Hence the effect of
EMF due to the current flowing upon the growth of
the plants under high power transmission lines
remains unaltered throughout the year. From various
practical studies, the growth characteristics like
shoot length, root length, leaf area, leaf fresh weight,
specific leaf weight, shoot/root ratio, total biomass
content, total water content of the crop plants were
reduced significantly. Similar trends were observed
Page 444

International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET)
Volume: 02 Issue: 03 | June-2015
www.irjet.net
in the biochemical characteristics like chlorophyll.
Reduced growth and physiological parameter was
primarily due to the effect of cell division and cell
enlargement. Further, there was a stunt in the
growth, which is due to poor action of hormones
responsible for cell division, and cell enlargement.
Conclusively, the biochemical changes produced in
the plant due to EMF affects the production leading to
economic loss.

e-ISSN: 2395-0056
p-ISSN: 2395-0072

R

Y

B

Chart 3: Configuration of lines and
compaction

5. REDUCTION OF EFFECT OF EMF




5.1. LINE SHIELDING: There are two basic
50Hz magnetic field reduction methods,
passive and active. Passive magnetic field
mitigation reduction includes rigid magnetic
shielding with ferromagnetic and highly
conducting materials and the use of passive
shield wires installed near transmission lines
that generate opposing cancellation field from
electromagnetic induction. Active magnetic
field reduction uses electronic feedback to
sense a varying 50Hz magnetic field and
generating a proportionally opposing
cancellation field within a defined area
surrounded by cancellation coils. This
technique is successful in both residential and
commercial environment to reduce the
magnetic fields from overhead transmission
and distribution lines.
5.2.
LINE
CONFIGURATION
AND
COMPACTION: Line compaction brings the
conductors close together keeping the
minimum safe phase to phase spacing
constant. The magnetic field is proportional
to the phase to phase spacing. By increasing
the distance between phases, by increasing
the height of the central phase of the
conductor above the level of the other phase
conductors, leads to the reduction of the peak
value of the magnetic field (as shown in figure
below).

© 2015, IRJET.NET- All Rights Reserved







Reducing the phase to phase distance, leads
to decrease of the magnetic field. This
reduction between the phases is limited by
the electrical insulation level between phases.
For single circuit lines, and double circuit
lines, compaction causes a great reduction in
the maximum magnetic field value
5.3. GROUNDING: The grounding of metal
objects such as fences that are located on the
right-of-way (ROW) eliminate these objects
as sources of induced current and voltage
shocks. Multiple grounding points are used to
provide alternative paths for induced current
flow and reduce nuisance shocks.
5.4. PROVIDING RIGHT-OF-WAY (ROW):
overhead transmission system require strips
of land which are called right-of-ways. These
strips of land are usually evaluated to
decrease the effects of energized line.
5.5. MAINTAINING PROPER CLEARANCE:
Unlike fences or buildings, mobile objects
such as vehicles and farm machinery cannot
be grounded permanently. Limiting the
possibility of induced current from such
objects to persons is accomplished by
maintaining proper clearances for above
ground conductors.

6. CONCLUSION
The research on electromagnetic and different
mitigation technique discusses the different
equations that allow us to calculate the magnetic
fields as well as health effects of the EMF, in general.
Values of magnetic fields are obtained by using field
work measurement as well as finite element method
Page 445

International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology (IRJET)
Volume: 02 Issue: 03 | June-2015
www.irjet.net
simulation using MagNet and MATLAB software for
single conductor and three conductors in different
configuration as well as for double typical circuit.
Further analysis on this topic will help us to
completely eradicate the negative effects high voltage
transmission lines on the health hazards of human
beings and animal life and growth of the plants,
which is a challenging feature for young technocrats
in future.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would like to thank Prof. R. Srinivasan in guiding me
to complete this paper. Additional thanks to his help
in providing me with the references and timely
provision of knowledge to bring about the
completion of this paper.

© 2015, IRJET.NET- All Rights Reserved

e-ISSN: 2395-0056
p-ISSN: 2395-0072

REFERENCES
1. Final Year Project, ‘Electromagnetic Field from
Power lines’, Abou Iwzeddin Salma, Berbari
Kamal, Obeid Hiba, year May 23 2006.
2. Azzuhri 2004, Power Transmission Line
Magnetic Field: A survey on 120kV Overhead
Power Transmission lines in Malaysia,
University of Malaysia, Kuala Lampur.
3. March 2005, Group Public Position Statement
Electric and Magnetic Field, National Grid.
4. Rashkes. V, IEEE Transaction on Power
Delivery, Volume 13, No. 2, page 552-559.
5. Electrical Engineering Department at King
Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
by J.M. Bakhashwain, M. H. Shwehdi, U. M.
Johar, and A. A. AL-Naim.
6. Dept. of Electrical Engineering, College of
Engineering, University of TIkriq-Iraq,
Ghanim Thiab Hasan, Kamil Jadu Ali,
Mahmood Ali Ahmed.
7. SSGBCOE&T, Electronics and Communication
Engineering, Girish Kulkarni, Dr. W. Z.
Gandhare.

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