Substations and transformers

The electrical equipment in and near substations generates high magnetic fields that can affect homes, schools and businesses nearby.

Substations are fed by high voltage powerlines that may be located above and/or below ground.

Many studies have shown that being exposed to magnetic fields above 4 milliGauss (mG) increased the risk of childhood leukemia and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified these fields as Class 2B carcinogens, in the same category as lead.

Many authorities worldwide, including Australia’s Energy Networks Association, have adopted policies of ‘prudent avoidance’ or ‘precaution’ to reduce exposure.

Magnetic fields increased: 

  • childhood leukemia
  • adult leukemia
  • brain tumours
  • neurodegenerative diseases
  • oxidative stress (free radical damage) that is found in many health problems and contributes to ageing
  • depression

For persons aged less than 18 the relative risk of leukaemia from residence within 50 m of a substation was higher than in adults

MP Coleman, ‘Leukaemia and residence near electricity transmission equipment: a case-control study’, Br J Cancer. 1989 Nov; 60(5): 793–798.

Measuring fields from substations

The meter we recommend for measuring fields from an overhead or underground powerline is the Tenmars TM-192 magnetic field meter (gaussmeter).


Buying a new home?

  • It’s important to find out what magnetic fields are affecting your home before you buy as not all magnetic fields can be reduced or shielded afterwards.
  • You can purchase our Tenmars TM-192 magnetic field meter.


Be sure to use only products that can be demonstrated to work. Some companies make claims that their products protect against electro-magnetic radiation or ‘harmonise’ radiation, however their products are not tested to demonstrate they are effective in reducing exposure and we’ve often measured the same exposures with and without harmonising devices in place.

We advise only using products that can be demonstrated to work to give you the peace of mind that you’re actually being protected.

You can see the test reports demonstrating the effectiveness of our products on this website.

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