Systematic Review of Biological Effects of Exposure to Static Electric Fields

Environmental Research

February 21, 2018

Dr. William Bailey, Principal Scientist in Exponent's Health Sciences practice, recently co-authored the article, "Systematic Review of Biological Effects of Exposure to Static Electric Fields. Part II: Invertebrates and Plants". The article was published in the journal Environmental Research.

The construction of high-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines for the long-distance transport of energy is becoming increasingly popular. This has raised public concern about potential environmental impacts of the static electric fields (EF) produced under and near HVDC power lines. As the second part of a comprehensive literature analysis, the aim of this systematic review was to assess the effects of static EF exposure on biological functions in invertebrates and plants and to provide the basis for an environmental impact assessment of such exposures.

At field levels encountered from natural sources or HVDC lines (< 35kV/m), the available data provide reliable evidence that static EF can trigger behavioral responses in invertebrates, but they do not provide evidence for adverse effects of static EF on other biological functions in invertebrates and plants. At far higher field levels (> 35kV/m), adverse effects on physiology and morphology, presumably caused by corona-action, appear to be more likely. Higher quality studies are needed to unravel the role of air ions, ozone, nitric oxide and corona current on alterations in physiological functions and morphology.

Download the article here