Home Buying in Westborough>Question Details

Robert, Home Buyer in Westborough, MA

Issues with real estate with proximity to large power lines?

Asked by Robert, Westborough, MA Mon Dec 5, 2011

To LOCAL realtors or local individuals only:

Can someone comment on the health hazards if any with a house close to larger power lines?
Issues with resell?
Can a neighborhood successfully petition a town to relocate or bury them?

Any other useful info also welcome

To the remote realtors who constantly bombard local discussions with useless input, PLEASE stay out

Help the community by answering this question:

Answers

19
John Miller’s answer
After checking the Web Reference from "On The Fence" I would think that would wrap up this conversation. Robert, best of luck with your search and from what I am hearing there will be plenty of new inventory on the market in the first quarter of 2012.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Couple of comments on "testing" a property for electromagnetic energy levels and then deeming it safe.

No one knows what a safe number is and what level is dangerous. There is good epidemiologic evidence linking power lines to some cancers, particularly childhood cancers. However because the end point is rare even in the exposed group there is not enough power in any particular study to establish a safe cut off point.

In fact no one has ever attempted to deduce a safe and unsafe level of exposure. All anyone knows is that living close to power lines in childhood increases your risk of cancer. Thanks Realtards for your input. Why dont you stay out of scientific discussion and go back and get your data straight about home sales over the past 5 years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
Robert ...
In regards to the resale question, sure it will hold sway with some buyers. Just had a buyer decide not to buy a property because of power lines. It was 6 or 7 houses down the street, across a main road and then partway into a farm area. Not quite out of site, but pretty far so although few buyers would have had an issue with it, these particular ones did .... I didn't necessarily agree with it.. but hey the customer is the focus, not my opinion.

In regards to the health issue... contact the utility, they may have test results on hand or I've also had a friend that bought in NH have them perform a test for electromagnetic levels in the yard + house. In that instance ( which was again, in NH ) they did it for free and it gave them a comfort level and they bought the house.

Good luck

Success! Real Estate – Mikel DeFrancesco
Real Estate in Massachusetts
direct: 617-755-8272
mike@successinmass.com http://www.SuccessInMass.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 25, 2011
I forgot to mention i think i know the house you speak of. I dont believe the 'kansas' story either. You'll know what i mean if this is the same property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Robert,

Is this a home you are considering buying? My best advice in this case is that if bothers you today (and I'm sensing that it does because you reached out with concerns) that it's always going to be in the back of your mind. Health, statistics, studies aside...will you be happy with your family in the house?

Amy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
I just sold a home this summer to an employee of Excel energy (local power company) near large power lines. He was not concerned and cited me a bunch of facts and statistics. It was fine for him and his young family. On the flip-side, resale can be a little tougher because you will exclude all those who have a fear of the power lines. I wouldn't do it strictly based on resale value.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Robert,
I'm a "remote realtor" but I'll offer my opinion anyway. We are not scientists, doctors or health experts. When we say anything outside of our licensing or expertise we risk being sued.
We can comment on the fact that there are questions regarding this issue and the future pool of buyers will be dramatically reduced by people who have strong feelings about the subject.
Until science definitively states that there are or are not health issues, I only concern myself with resale issues, which means a longer than average market time and lower appreciation than other non affected homes.
This is a common issue across the country. Best of luck however you decide.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Reports proving AND disproving the power-line cancer myth have been released (the answer given usually depends on what special interest is funding the research. For pure real estate purpose, the only thing that matters is that a considerable percentage of buyers will not buy close to power lines, even if they dont cause health problems.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Frankly, you need to research the reports yourself. For example, floride in water can be more hazardous. If you research the origins for those reasons, you'll find an interesting history.
The concerns for high power lines are as much relative to the current health and physiology of the occupants, as it is to anything else.
If you are asking the questions, the house is not for you.
There are enough properties on the market to find a great house. There are 151 properties for sale in Westborough. There are more that are available to buy that are not currently active, but that local agents know about.
A good broker will know how to find them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
The test was done outside and inside. In this particualr scenario that was the finding even from outside. Perhaps there was a greater distance than what is being discussed here I cannot recall and have not seen the subject property we are discussing. I would suggest to any buyer to test first. I just cannot recall the company as it was so long ago, maybe even more than 15 years ago.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
MDM -
There is no risk if you spend 100% of time in the house. The structure is protective. Similarly if you put your microwave on time = infinite and stayed in your kitchen this would not be good for your health.
The risk is dose related, so a microwave running on avg 3 mins a day is OK, etc.

The problem is that your yard or property is at risk. If one spends a lot of time in the yard over the years (such as kids playing in the backyard) there is an increased risk.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Amy -
Very close you can literally hear the hum in the backyard, within 100 ft.

Don-
Could I have not been any clearer. Please do not post again. Dont want to open the barn door for random pointless posts from realtors across the country.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Many years ago I sold a home in Sherborn that was very close to Power Lines. Perry St location. The buyer hired a company (name I cannnot recall) to test the amount of electromagnetic power affecting the house. That particular test showed that the microwave and portable telephone were emitting more harmful EMs so to speak than the power lines. I will try to find the name of the company but it was 15+ years ago so I doubt the file is still around. If I find it I will post back.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Childhood cancer in relation to distance from high voltage power lines in England and Wales: a case-control study.
Draper G, Vincent T, Kroll ME, Swanson J.
SourceChildhood Cancer Research Group, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6HJ. gerald.draper@ccrg.ox.ac.uk

Many, many other studies also support the link of electromagnetic energy to cancer.
Any other questions?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Robert,

How "close" is close?

Amy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
OK. I won't answer. Happy?

Just a comment: Your follow-up posting is not supported by scientific research. Otherwise, please cite some reputable studies supporting that position.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Can someone comment on the health hazards if any with a house close to larger power lines?
THERE ARE. DEFINITELY LINKED TO CHILDHOOD LEUKEMIA AND OTHER CANCERS. VOLTAGE LINES EMIT ELECTROMAGNETIC ENERGY STRONG ENOUGH TO BREAK DNA AND IN RARE CASE INDUCE CANCER. THE RISK DROPS IN A LOGARITHMIC FASHION WITH INCREASING DISTANCE, SO THE HOUSE ADJACENT WILL HAVE SOME RISK AND THE VERY NEXT HOUSE MAY HAVE NO RISK AT ALL.

Issues with resell?
YES SEE ABOVE

Can a neighborhood successfully petition a town to relocate or bury them?
NOT LIKELY. THE POWER LINES WHERE PROBABLY THERE FIRST AND I AM SURE THE LOT WAS TECHNICALLY DEVELOPED WITHIN THE PROPER GUIDELINES. IF YOU BUY THIS PROPERTY YOU'RE STUCK WITH THE PROBLEM.

Hope this helps. I do cancer research for a living
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
forgot the most recent link:

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/editorspick_mobile/x114172…

As an FYI, my office sits near these lines. Ive been here 10 years for 6-10 hours/day during the week with no issues.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
Plenty of information out there to sway you either way. The issue with resale would only be limited to an individual buyers mind and opinion. In his regard you should think how long do you plan on being in the home. if its short term then perhaps there is another location less controversial.

The easements that allow the towers and wire to be there would override any individual or town's cry to bury or move them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 5, 2011
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