A review on residential exposure to electromagnetic fields from overhead power lines: Electrification as a health burden in rural communities

Phoka C. Rathebe, Dineo S. Modisane, Maite B. Rampedi, S. Biddesay-Manila, Thokozani P. Mbonane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Electrification has improved millions of lives over the years. With the benefit of electricity comes the emission of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from power lines, substations, electrical home appliances and railways. There have been studies done to associate exposure to EMFs with the development of health effects such as cancer and transient biological effects. The aim of this paper is to provide discourse on the association between EMFs and cancer, not excluding other severe health effects such as cognitive impairment and preterm labor in pregnant women. In this paper, google scholar, science direct and PubMed were used to search for literature. Out of thirty articles, fifteen were selected and used to compile this paper. These articles revealed that studies in the past have found conflicting results from research conducted globally. Eight articles out of the fifteen found a link between exposure to EMFs and leukemia as well as impaired neurobehavioral function in children. Six articles found a statistically insignificant association, with one article being inconclusive. World Health Organization (WHO) found a link between childhood Leukemia and EMFs, bringing it into the attention for more research to be done to confirm this association. Based on the evidence, epidemiological studies need to be done and address the data scarcity relating to EMFs from power lines; especially in the South African context.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 Open Innovations Conference, OI 2019
EditorsNixon Muganda Ochara, Julius Nyerere Odhiambo
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781728134642
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019
Event2019 Open Innovations Conference, OI 2019 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 2 Oct 20194 Oct 2019

Publication series

Name2019 Open Innovations Conference, OI 2019


Conference2019 Open Innovations Conference, OI 2019
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • cancer.
  • electrification
  • electromagnetic fields
  • health effects
  • power lines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Health Informatics
  • Education
  • Health (social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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