NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.
Electric and Magnetic Fields Explained
Electric and Magnetic Fields from Power Lines (United States Environmental Protection Agency, Jul. 24, 2023)
“Electric and magnetic fields, also known as electromagnetic fields (EMF), consist of waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together. These energy fields surround us all the time. Scientific studies have not clearly shown whether exposure to EMF increases cancer risk. A few studies have connected EMF and health effects, but they have not been able to be repeated. This means that they are inconclusive. Scientists continue to conduct research on the issue.”
Electromagnetic Fields and Cancer (National Cancer Institute, May 30, 2022)
“Although a study in 1979 pointed to a possible association between living near electric power lines and childhood leukemia (15), more recent studies have had mixed findings (16–24). Most of these studies did not find an association or found one only for those children who lived in homes with very high levels of magnetic fields, which are present in few residences.”
Power Lines and Property Values
Wealthy Newport Beach Splurges $26 Million to Hide Power Lines (Bloomberg, Jul. 10, 2023)
“Newport Beach, California is investing millions of dollars to remove unsightly power lines in an effort to boost its already sky-high property values. The city tapped the municipal market for roughly $26 million this week to bury the lines in two sections of the beach-side town, which will “enhance neighborhood aesthetics, safety, and reliability” according to bond documents.”
Power Lines and Property Value: What You Need to Know (Orchard, Dec. 14, 2022)
Most homebuyers do not find power lines aesthetically pleasing, especially if they are in a location that would otherwise have a pristine ocean, river, or forest view. While this personal preference does tend to lower property values, another major factor in the power line debate concerns health. Concerns over EMFs (Electro Magnetic Frequencies or Electric and Magnetic Fields) have not been proven by the WHO or EPA, and are immeasurable once you are more than 500 feet away.
Impact of High Voltage Transmission Lines on Property Values (JD Supra, Jul. 29, 2022)
“In this writer’s experience, the key issue is the impact of the HVETL on the balance of the property not required for it. Estimating impact requires an evaluation of the facts and circumstances of each project. A commercial property owner facing the construction of a new or augmented HVETL over its property should be proactive and retain the experts necessary to gather data and to research the issues.”
Power Lines and Natural Disasters
Hawaiian Electric Says Power Lines Sparked Fire but Firefighters Fell Short (The Guardian, Aug. 28, 2023)
“Hawaiian Electric Company released a statement on Sunday night in response to Maui county’s lawsuit blaming the utility for failing to shut off power despite exceptionally high winds and dry conditions. Hawaiian Electric called that complaint “factually and legally irresponsible” and said its power lines in West Maui had been de-energized for more than six hours when the second blaze started.”
Burying Just 5% of Power Lines Can Improve Resilience in Hurricane-Prone Regions (The Hill, Aug. 18, 2022)
As “extreme weather events” become more common, the aging infrastructure system of the United States will be put to the test. According to a study conducted by researchers at Princeton University’s Engineering School, “strategically burying just 5 percent of power lines could reduce the number of residents affected by hurricane and heat wave-related outages by half. Specifically, lines near main distribution points would need to be buried. “
Weighing the Costs, Benefits of Burying Power Lines in the SWFL (Gulfshore Business, Aug. 1, 2022)
“Making the undergrounding of all lines a standard practice, the study showed, would result in rate increases of 80% to 125%. “Installing underground is best done as an area is being developed,” Ryan says. “This is less expensive than converting later from overhead to underground.” An individual homeowner or business in an area full of above-ground power lines has little to gain by switching, both LCEC’s Ryan and FPL’s Gaddis said, because those below- and above-ground lines come from the same power source. But if an entire neighborhood of homeowners agrees to pay, it could lessen the length of future power outages.”
eBooks & Other Resources
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.
Death and Disclosure: Legal Strategies for Dealing with Stigmatized Properties (Richfield, OH: October Research Corporation, 2007) HD 1341 R22d
Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? Or Environmental Hazard? (Markham, Ont.: Safe Goods/New Century Publishing, 2001) HE 9713 B45
Cartographies of Danger: Mapping Hazards in America (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1997) GB 5014 M66
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