Warning: High voltage lines for data center bring health risks


I’m reaching out to highlight a pressing issue in our community that warrants media attention. Georgia Power Company is actively purchasing easements on residents’ properties, including mine, to support the construction of a 180-foot-tall 230kV electric power line for the QTS Data Center.

This proposal puts all residents and their families, including those with unilaterally programmed pacemakers, at close, unavoidable proximity to high-voltage lines. In the case of what GPC proposed to me, my front yard as well as my home would be within an EMF radius that has been scientifically proven to pose serious hazardous risk to both human and animal health.

In addition to the health risks posed by electromagnetic fields and noise pollution, we are deeply concerned about the environmental impact of this project. The construction of these power lines could disturb bird migration patterns and devastate bee populations, further disrupting our local ecosystems and endangering biodiversity.

We believe it’s crucial to raise awareness and seek alternative solutions that prioritize the well-being of our neighborhood and the environment.

If you or your family are approached by GPC regarding the purchase of an easement, I would urge you not to sign or accept their offer before speaking to an attorney or real estate agent about their proposal.

Georgia Power may tell you that they want to “update” the power lines and offer to pay for landscaping and flooding damages, but it is important to understand that they are already obligated to pay for property damages and maintain utilities.

It is very possible that the few thousand dollars they are offering you for your land could easily be worth several hundred thousand dollars in damages to your property’s value.

Hannah Schilsky

Fayetteville, Ga.


  1. Met a man yesterday who lives near the construction site and told me his problem…unrelated to high power lines…rock blasting on the site.
    He says it shakes his house and others and that they have asked David Rast for Fayetteville to set up seismic monitoring to record the forces on his (and other) home.

    Also, a constant rain of dust coats everything.

    Here is my uneducated opinion about these data centers…build then underground or in abandoned mines, use geothermal cooling to help with heat generation…teach unemployed miners how to run servers.

  2. If I were leading a young family, I think I will try to move away from the high voltage lines. Though there is not enough evidence to definitely say they are harmful, there is enough evidence to show a possibility of harm. Why subject your family to risk if you don’t have to? The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute states,

    “Exposure from power lines. Although a study in 1979 pointed to a possible association between living near electric power lines and childhood leukemia (16), more recent studies have had mixed findings. Most of these studies did not find an association or found one only for those children who lived in homes with very high levels of magnetic fields, which are present in few residences.

    Several studies have analyzed the combined data from multiple studies of power line exposure and childhood leukemia:

    A pooled analysis of nine studies reported a twofold increase in risk of childhood leukemia among children with exposures of 0.4 μT or higher. Less than 1% of the children in the studies experienced this level of exposure.
    A meta-analysis of 15 studies observed a 1.7-fold increase in childhood leukemia among children with exposures of 0.3 μT or higher. A little more than 3% of children in the studies experienced this level of exposure.
    More recently, a pooled analysis of seven studies published after 2000 reported a 1.4-fold increase in childhood leukemia among children with exposures of 0.3 μT or higher. However, less than one half of 1% of the children in the studies experienced this level of exposure (28).
    For the two pooled studies and the meta-analysis, the number of highly exposed children was too small to provide stable estimates of the dose–response relationship. This means that the findings could be interpreted to reflect linear increases in risk, a threshold effect at 0.3 or 0.4 μT, or no significant increase.

    The interpretation of the finding of increased childhood leukemia risk among children with the highest exposures (at least 0.3 μT) is unclear.”

  3. STF, your fox news obsession is similar to gplanman’s fixation on GA, “a stupid, low tax, low service state”, regardless of topic. Your styles make y’all out to be the other side of the Steve Brown/Don Haddix coin . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • So, I guess that means that you can’t name another news outlet that is so untruthful that it has to pay out of the nose for lying.

      Tchr1, enjoy listening to the “news” you would like to believe even though it has no relationship to reality. That’s not just my opinion; it’s been substantiated through litigation.

  4. A few facts that are in evidence:

    1) Utility easements will lower your property values. Much more than the small $s you are offered. if utilities are not in ground it will impact your neighbors property values as well. There are many people who see power lines and think cancer lines. That influences property value true or false.

    2) Datacenters can be managed remotely. They create a few dozen touch labor and maintenance jibs so the jobs per acre are low

    3). We all pay GA Power monthly to increase power capacity. That maybe nukes. Or as proposed adding fuel generators that do trash our air and water

  5. To sum up the state of science, after several decades of studies, there is no evidence of a clear link to health consequences of living near high-voltage power lines. So, if you’re going to make assertions, please support your assertions with science-based evidence.

  6. [Citation needed].

    For as much as this letter claims that it is “scientifically proven” that EMF causes health risks, that’s just plain malarkey. There is very limited evidence that low frequency EMF might possibly be carcinogenic to children, but the data simply isn’t there to definitively state that it is proven. The EPA has information on this and states: “Scientific studies have not clearly shown whether exposure to EMF increases cancer risk.”

    Beyond that, EMF decreases with the inverse-square law. Put simply, this means that if you double your distance from the source, the incoming energy isn’t cut by a factor of 2 in half, but rather by 2 squared (so to one-quarter). If you are 10 times further away then say, your cellphone to your face, then the incoming energy is 1% as high as it would be right next to the power line.

    Or just use your own observations of real life: coal miners had advertising all the time about black lung; home construction had the endless advertising about mesothelioma; when was the last time you saw an ad about “if you’re an electrician who worked on power lines, you may be entitled to financial compensation.” Do you really think the sue-happy lawyers in this State would waste a buck like that if it could be proven?

          • Hi Tchr1 – Can you think of any other U.S. news source that had to pay 3/4 of a billion dollars for systematically lying to their viewers/readers over several years? There is no First Amendment right to knowingly prevaricate when it harms another person or entity. Fox is in a class of its own, a remedial class at that.

        • I share your caution about scrutinizing news sources across the ideological spectrum, but Fox is the undisputed king of victimization. Recently, a friend complained that Christians were being persecuted here in the U.S. and took offense as I laughed heartily. He encouraged me to watch Fox News so I would understand the “real story.”

          Saying that Christians are undergoing persecution in the U.S. today is analogous to saying that white people were being persecuted by Rosa Parks because she wouldn’t gleefully go to the back of the bus.

          Fox has no peer in convincing the majority that they are somehow victims.

    • The health risks are one aspect of this issue, this is inarguably bad for anyone in this route in so many ways. It would be very foolish to fixate on one point you disagree with and attempt to delegitimize a horrible situation that folks in your community are struggling to deal with.

      I’m not going to spend my time arguing about science with a contrarian that has made it very clear they have no scientific or medical background, but for visibility for anyone who may read his comments and mistake indignation for intelligence:
      If this man cannot personally disprove the physics and biology behind this article published by the NIH regarding EMF effects on unilaterally programmed pacemakers then I would advise for your own safety ignoring his opinions regarding EMF safety.

      Spatial gradients in static magnetic fields result in translational and rotational forces on ferromagnetic objects.3 If the translational force exceeds counterforces from sutures, scarring, and tissue ingrowth, permanent and dangerous effects may occur from dislodgement and movement of CIEDs. A transient effect of spatial gradients in static magnetic fields is the magnetohydrodynamic effect, which occurs due to the conductive effect of blood that results in a voltage difference across the vessel in a direction perpendicular to the blood flow. This effect is dependent upon the velocity of blood flow, magnetic field strength, vessel diameter, and angle of flow with respect to the magnetic field. Peaked T waves may be sensed as a result of the magnetohydrodynamic effect and may lead to transient over-sensing by CIEDs.4 A case of transient pacemaker inhibition has been attributed to the magnetohydrodynamic effect.5 Exposure of older CIEDs with reed switches to static magnetic fields may transiently cause asynchronous pacing, and inhibit tachycardia therapies. Modern CIEDs have largely replaced the reed switch with integrated solid-state detection, Hall sensors, telemetry coils, or giant magnetoresistor (GMR) circuits.

      Time varying gradient magnetic fields may be associated with transient and permanent effects upon CIEDs. The main concern in this setting is the potential for current induction within conductive wires in the field that may result in transient inhibition of pacemaker output, and direct stimulation of the myocardium, in addition to permanent effects due to heating of the conductor and tissue burns.