Electromagnetic Fields

What are EMFs?

Electromagnetic fields are present everywhere in our environment but are invisible to the human eye. Electric fields are produced by the local build-up of electric charges in the atmosphere associated with thunderstorms. The earth's magnetic field causes a compass needle to orient in a North-South direction and is used by birds and fish for navigation.

Besides natural sources the electromagnetic spectrum also includes fields generated by human-made sources: X-rays are employed to diagnose a broken limb after a sport accident. The electricity that comes out of every power socket has associated low frequency electromagnetic fields. And various kinds of higher frequency radio waves are used to transmit information – whether via TV antennas, radio stations or mobile phone base stations.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible lines of force associated with the production, transmission, and use of electric power such as those associated with high-voltage transmission lines, secondary power lines, and even home wiring, appliances and lighting. Electric and magnetic fields also arise from the motors and heating coils found in electronic equipment and appliances, and are present in our homes and workplaces at all times. 

Public Interest

There is a perception of possible health effects resulting from exposure to EMFs. As a result, numerous studies have been conducted and thousands of articles have been published over the past 30 years. No conclusive scientific evidence has been produced to either prove or disprove a cause-and-effect relationship between EMFs and adverse health effects.

An informative study on this topic is “Electric and Magnetic Fields from 60-Hertz Electric Power: What do we know about possible health risks?" This study was conducted By Carnegie Mellon University.

Central Hudson’s Policy

In a sustained effort to provide safe and reliable electric service, and up-to-date information on EMFs, Central Hudson has, and will continue to:

  • Design and construct transmission facilities to comply with New York State EMF Standards and Policies.
  • Support research identifying the potential for risks associated with exposure to EMFs.
  • Support research to identify techniques to manage EMF levels resulting from power delivery and usage.
  • Where practical, consider changes to design and operating practices to reduce EMF level.
  • Respond to customer requests for EMF measurements.

Central Hudson, through its membership, has contributed to research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and plans to continue to do so in the future. Central Hudson will monitor any findings resulting from these and other studies. The EPRI EMF web site contains a great deal of information regarding EMF education; current and past EMF studies with conclusions; and additional links to relevant EMF sites.