Importance of Addressing National Electrical Code® Violations that Result in Unusual Exposure to 60 Hz Magnetic Fields

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Article - Merrimack Access Only

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Abstract/ Summary

We evaluated wiring in multifamily developments containing National Electrical Code® (NEC®) violations as a source of unusual exposure to 60 Hz magnetic fields. Two methods were used in this evaluation: measurement and modeling. We measured the building wiring as a source of magnetic fields in six multifamily developments in Michigan. In this small sample, building wiring proved to be an important source of exposure in four of the six cases. In all four cases with exposure from building wiring, one or more NEC violations were involved. To supplement our measurement efforts, we used computer modeling to compare magnetic field exposure due to building wiring with magnetic field exposure from external power lines. Our calculations showed that where the building wiring has a NEC violation leading to net current loops, the exposure due to wiring is likely to be more important than that from external power lines. Our results support the results obtained in a recent study of the exposure of Californian K-12 students to magnetic fields, where building wiring with one or more NEC violation was found to be the single most important exposure source. If 60 Hz magnetic fields are important to avoid, then improved enforcement of the NEC, as required by law, is perhaps the single most important mitigation policy to adopt.