The Challenges of an Engineer
April 15, 2010
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208
April 14, 2010
The Challenges of an Engineer
As technology gets more advanced, there is a higher need for power. Even though we are in a recession, the demand for power has not decreased as much as most areas. Of course there are power plants present and specifically placed in certain locations, but there are other factors that needed to be taken into account. One of these factors is how the power is going to be delivered to the upcoming businesses. The answer to this question is power lines. Power lines are one of ...view middle of the document...
EMF’s are present around any device that has electrical wiring and an electrical current flowing through them. EMF’s are composed of two different fields: magnetic fields and electric fields. Although they both can be dangerous, one can be attributed to health risks. According to the U.S. Cancer Institute, magnetic fields are more likely to cause health problems then electric field. The theory behind their findings is that electric fields can be blocked by walls and other object where as magnetic fields are not. Magnetic fields can, also, penetrate the body. This is why the U.S. National Cancer Institute believes that certain cancers such as leukemia can possible be related to magnetic fields. Although this study has not been completely proven, steps have been taken in the engineering to help with these problems. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has been studying EMF’s because they believed that low frequency magnetic fields increase the risk of breast cancer. The results of the study were that there was no association between breast cancer and electric and magnetic fields. Another study was conducted to try and link children with cancer to electromagnetic fields. There were two types of cancer most commonly found in children were focused on specifically. These two types of cancers are brain tumors and leukemia. Although may test were ran, the results were inconclusive. Some scientist found a link and other did not, but there was no sturdy evidence that there was, positively, a link.
Next, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, also, looked into the matter. According to them, the risk for childhood leukemia is directly proportional with the distance the child is from the power line. Figure 1 below is showing that based on Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection’s findings in 2008, childhood leukemia is twice as much.
Figure 1. Graph from the Florida Dept. Environmental Protection
Another study that was done on the Swiss population and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found a link between electromagnetic fields and Alzheimer’s disease. According to the graph below, Figure 2, in occurrences with those that live close to power lines, cases of Alzheimer’s disease were increased.
Figure 2. American Journal of Epidemiology
As far as the ethical points of view, I do not think that power lines should be ran through neighborhoods. Even though there is a conflict as to if they affect children and adults, why take the risk? There has to be a reason or an underline cause as to why multiple organizations including the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have issued multiple advisories toward electromagnetic fields. There are, also, areas of electromagnetic and health issues overlap. Since cancer has been the primary topic that is being research, let’s keep it as the center of the topic at hand. One treatment for cancer is radiation therapy. Essentially during...