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Last Edited: 8/3/2010

Montecito Union School Magnetic Field Survey
Written: 1990

In September 1989, California Department of Health Services (DHS) staff conducted a survey of magnetic field levels at Montecito Union School as part of the DHS Leukemia and Lymphoma Cluster Investigation in Montecito.  The community had several concerns regarding the cluster, including possible health effects from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produced by a transformer station adjacent to the school and by an aerial transmission line crossing over school property.  Recent scientific studies have suggested a link between power-frequency (60-Hz) electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects, particularly childhood cancer, although research in this area is still preliminary and inconclusive.

The objective of the survey was to determine if unusually high EMF levels were present at the school from the substation or from the aerial power line that might explain the cancer cluster.  The survey was conducted by Enertech Inc., an independent consulting firm selected by community parents, and funded by Southern California Edison, with DHS providing assistance and oversight.
The survey found that magnetic field levels at Montecito Union School were not unusually high in most parts of the school.  Levels near the power lines along the north side of the school were in the 5 to 30 milligauss range, similar to what one is exposed to near a common electrical household appliance such as a TV or radio. 

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