Electromagnetic Fields

All of us depend on electricity to meet basic needs such as heating, cooling and lighting our homes. We also depend on electricity to meet the transportation, communication, commercial, recreational, industrial and health care requirements of our society. Wherever we make use of electricity, power frequency electric and/or magnetic fields (EMF) are present.

Magnetic Fields

Electric Fields


Research on EMF – How It Affects You

You may have questions about whether there are adverse health effects from exposure to power frequency EMF. Over the past 30 years, there have been many scientific studies conducted on power frequency EMF. According to extensive reviews conducted by leading public health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (one of the U.S. National Institutes of Health), this large body of research has not established that exposure to power frequency EMF causes adverse health effects in humans or animals. In the view of WHO, " Based on a recent in-depth review of the scientific literature, the WHO concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields."

There are two principal types of studies that have been conducted on power frequency EMF: laboratory studies and epidemiology studies.

Laboratory Studies

Epidemiology Studies


Exposure Limits

Neither the U.S. government nor the State of Washington has established exposure standards for public exposure to power frequency EMF. Two international organizations, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), have developed exposure guidelines. For power frequency (60 Hz) magnetic fields ICNIRP recommends public exposures not exceed 2,000 milliGauss (mG) and the IEEE recommends a maximum of 9,040 mG.

Established EMF exposure limits
International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection 2,000 mG1
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers 9,040 mG
1In November 2010, ICNIRP updated its guidelines. These new guidelines replace the prior exposure guidelines ICNIRP issued in 1998; the new exposure guidelines have more than doubled from 833 mG to 2,000 mG. See “ICNIRP Statement – Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric and Magnetic Fields (1 Hz to 100 kHz)” and “Fact Sheet on the Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric and Magnetic Fields (1 Hz to 100 kHz)” at www.icnirp.org.

PSE's Approach

At PSE, safety is always our top priority. We rely on the findings of the reputable, international and national scientific and public health organizations and agencies that have reviewed the research on EMF. We understand that you may have concerns about EMF. We work to address those concerns by:

  • Following all applicable federal, state, county and city rules, regulations and standards when constructing power facilities for the safe and reliable delivery of electric service;
  • Remaining informed about important developments in EMF research;
  • Sharing accurate and objective information about EMF with our customers;
If you are interested in more information about EMF, you may want to try some of the following sources:
Download more information

PSE's EMF brochure

Contact Us

425-456-2285 or 1-888-225-5773.