Health Risks to Residents Living Near Power Lines
FPL’s proposed transmission lines are 230 kV and over 100 feet tall. At that voltage, the lines are going to generate a high intensity of magnetic fields. This should be of enormous concern to anyone who lives, works or has family along either of the proposed transmission line corridors.
There are many examples of the health hazards related to living within proximity of power lines. First and foremost, high voltage power lines double the hazard of children developing leukemia. The risk of a child under of the age of 14 being murdered is 1-in-79000, the risk of being kidnapped by a stranger is 1-in-7210 and the risk of developing leukemia is 1-in-1600 – however, that same child’s risk of developing leukemia leaps to 1-in-800 if they happen to live within close proximity to a high voltage power line. Newer studies have also shown that children in close proximity to transmission lines, with leukemia are more likely to die from the disease than children with leukemia, who do not live near high voltage lines.
Magnetic fields are measured in micro-teslas (μT). Studies have shown that childhood leukemia rates double after exposure to .3 μT .4 μT. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection mandates that transmission lines give off no more than 15 μT – over 40 times higher than is proven to be dangerous.
Additional studies have demonstrated that incidences of Alzheimer’s disease double for people who live within 165 feet of transmission lines. There is also evidence showing a 50% elevation in other senile dementias.
Because of a loophole in Florida law, FPL is required to keep magnetic field intensity at 15 μT only at ground level. This is of particular concern along the proposed US-1 corridor. Employees of South Miami Hospital, metrorail riders and anyone who works above the ground floor of their building would potentially be exposed to magnetic field intensities of up to 1000 μT or 67 times the allowed ground level intensity. Additionally, these lines could be strung as close as 12 feet from offices, when studies have shown significant health impacts as far as 165 feet from lines.
In addition to the health impacts, these fields could interfere with medical procedures or the performance of medical instruments. Proper and safe function of sensitive medical equipment can be affected by changes in local magnetic fields. The proposed transmission corridor also comes within 15 feet of the South Miami Fire and Rescue Station #14 and might interfere with radio communication to the stations.
To mitigate the negative impacts of magnetic field intensity, FPL should do the responsible thing and bury and shield their power lines. This should be of particular concern to resident along the alternate corridor, which runs through Kendall, Westchester and West Miami. FPL already has an existing power line along that corridor which is currently emitting dangerous levels of magnetic field intensity. FPL admitted publicly that they could even restring the existing lines (while adding 230 kV capacity) in such a way that it would reduce magnetic field intensity.
This is FPL’s opportunity to be a good corporate citizen in Miami-Dade County. Regardless of what route they want to bring these lines through, FPL should do the safe and responsible thing and bury and shield the power lines.