When buying or renting a home or apartment, you may want to first find out the following:

  • Where are the power lines, and how close are they to the building? Are they strung overhead or buried underground? Which type are they—transmission, sub-transmission, overhead distribution or underground distribution?

  • Are there any power stations or similar facilities nearby?

  • How old is the electrical wiring? (Older "knob-and-tube" wiring emits higher EM fields.) Does it meet current safety standards?

  • Where are sources of high EM fields? Look for appliances, transformers, track lighting, incorrectly wired light-dimmer switches, and the "service drop" where power comes into the building. How close are these EM sources to the rooms where you'll spend most of your time?

So, what if you found the perfect home but are struggling to answer these questions? Ask a licensed electrician to determine the type of wiring your house has and its condition. Your local utility company can answer all other questions related to nearby power lines and stations.

Source: California Electric and Magnetic Fields Program.