FOUNTAIN VALLEY : Edison, Parents Test Lines
Armed with testing devices, officials of Southern California Edison and members of a parent group on Thursday measured the impact of high-tension power lines at six schools in the Fountain Valley Unified School District.
The testing was requested by Allen Brandt, attorney for the parent group, after utility officials and parents reported measuring different levels of intensity at the schools.
Parents believe the electromagnetic fields generated by the power lines could cause cancer and other health problems, but there is no medical research to support that belief.
Also, there is no consensus among the scientific community about what constitutes a safe level of the electromagnetic field.
However, some studies have suggested that levels greater than 3 milligausses may pose a health risk to children.
A milligauss is unit of measurement of magnetic-field strength.
Both the parent group and the utility group measured the magnetic fields with their own gauss meters.
At Roch Courreges Elementary School, the first test site, both parents and the utility company reported readings ranging between 0.8 to 30 milligausses. Most of the measurements taken by Edison and the parent group were identical.
In addition to Roch Courreges, readings were also taken at Harry Fulton Middle School, Robert Gisler Elementary, Kazuo Masuda Middle School, Samuel Talbert Middle School and Hisamatsu Tamura Elementary.
The schools tested were chosen by the district’s trustees.
In June, as a result of increased concerns by parents about the 220-kilovolt transmission lines near Roch Courreges Elementary, district and Edison officials conducted a test there and measured levels between 0.8 and 1.5 milligausses. Before those tests, Brandt had tested the area and found measurements with concentrations up to 25 milligausses.
Edison officials did not offer any explanation as to why these test results were different than previous ones.
Brian Bennett, regional affairs manager for Edison, said the utility will send its testing data to the school district, which will then submit the results to the state Department of Health Services.
The school district and Edison have repeatedly stated that there has been no causal relationship proven between electromagnetic fields and health problems.
Brandt said he feels good about the test results, which he said confirms the parent group’s position that electromagnetic levels at Roch Courreges are too high.
“I’m quite satisfied with these readings,” Brandt said. “Their measurements are jibing with ours.”