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Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 25
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Clampitt fire

Commentary by Dr. Gene Dorio
| Sunday, Nov 2, 2014

genedorioWithin the past few years as a hospice doctor, I have had two cases of young patients in Santa Clarita dying from a brain tumor and lung cancer. In common, both lived next to high-power transmission lines.

The citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley have learned to live with power lines. The question remains: Are they dangerous?

As you drive eastbound on the cross-valley connector – on Newhall Ranch Road near the Fallen Warrior Memorial Bridge – you see multiple parallel power lines traversing next to the Five Knolls project grading site.

This is where community leaders have designated a potential new location for the SCV Senior Center. Los Angeles County announced a possible $3 million contribution to the center, and I’m sure the city will donate a similar amount.

Originally, this development was approved in 2006 as the Keystone Project. The studies presented to the city by the developer at that time stated: “It is unlikely that the DWP power lines raise any significant health problems to the project site.”

Because of what I have seen as a hospice doctor, I did an unscientific study of these power lines using an Extech Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) meter to collect data.

Most readings around our house are 0.0 to 0.1 milligauss units. When on, the TV reads 4.0 and our microwave 6.0. Not being able to access the Five Knolls property, I went a half mile south to Centre Pointe Parkway next to the Santa Clarita Sports Complex and took readings. Underneath the lines, I measured a continuous 9.9.

At that location, I noticed another large power transmission line from the east converging with the ones I was under, then passing next to the project. So I drove closer, north of Soledad Canyon Road to Santa Clara Street, just 300 yards south of the project grading.

Standing next to all the converged power lines, I measured 48.0 . Not only that: I could hear the lines “sizzling.” The combined power lines I believe increased the EMR exponentially.

I walked backward and east to a street called Oak Avenue, about 100 yards, before the meter returned to 0.1. Within this distance is approximately where the SCV Senior Center and a new YMCA will be located in the project.

The scientific jury is still out on the controversy whether EMR is harmful to humans or if some people might be more sensitive, but anecdotally there may be evolving evidence that high-power transmission lines cause medical problems. Our microwave is not on all the time, but at the Five Knolls project location, there will be continuous exposure for hours to our children and elder seniors.

As we have done in the past, let’s protect those in our community who might be the most vulnerable. I therefore ask the City Council and L.A. County Board of Supervisors, before investing a large sum of money to this location, do a true scientific study measuring the EMR coming from these power lines.

Just don’t let the developer pay for it.


Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D., is a housecall geriatric physician on staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and has been engaged as an advocate in many community activities. The views expressed in this column as his alone.

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  1. Linda says:

    I agree that high power lines have an affect on our cells. I did not know that was a proposed site for the new Center. I am a voluteer and would be concerned regarding my health and that of the others attending the Center. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  2. Lauren Lefkowitz Greber…..things that make you go hmmmmmm????

  3. Glad you have pointed this out…truly…!

  4. One of the newer developments near Kelly Johnson Parkway, .. homes being built with those power lines and transformers next to them.

  5. I never understood how people think it’s ok to live near power lines?! They buzzzz hello?! Growing up in Maine we never lived near them. Everyone stayed clear

  6. Chris Kramer Chris Kramer says:

    I’m glad he at least stated it was an unscientific study. The observations are anecdotal. I’ll bet all the individuals he encountered in hospice lived in homes with doors, but the doors did not necessarily cause the cancer. I’m really surprised there are no real scientific studies on exposure to high level exposure to these flux densities. I’m also not so naive as to believe all “scientific” studies are relevant. They usually support the view of the folks that paid for the study…

  7. Chris Cramer Chris Cramer says:

    Cancer is an epidemic and running rampid!

  8. I knew of 2 sisters who lived in a house under high power lines. The younger developed leukemia.

  9. Unsafe for anyone! This is the only community I have ever seen where homes are built so close to power lines.

  10. I’ve always said this and have chosen apartments based on location for this reason. Can’t be good living under or near these structures.

  11. We will never live by power lines because of the possibility of serious health risks.

  12. Melanie Imber-Baker i’m from Maine too and i noticed you’re friends with my cousin Jason Raye! Small world!!

  13. When I was teaching in S.C., I had a student who had leukemia who lived under large power lines in Acton. Her mother was sure that had led to her disease and moved to C.C. The good news is, she was cured and now has a family of her own!!

  14. Scientific studies abound, but they tend to be quite technical, and so far as I know are not conclusive in either direction. Most of the information I’ve seen that indicates biological activity is based on laboratory tests of cells, not complete organisms.
    There is a lot of anecdotal information that is strongly anti EMF/EMR (ElectroMagnetic Fields/ElectroMagnetic Radiation), and some that comes from the Electric Power Industry supporting their point of view. Unfortunately, when those groups do reference scientific materials, they tend to cherry-pick to support their arguments.

    It’s easy enough to find out for yourself; google EMF and/or EMR. YOu can start at this site if you like: http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/emf.htm

  15. This is a good man know him personally

  16. I have a friend that had brain cancer at the moment, one with intestinal cancer and one with breast cancer. All under the age of 30. This can’t just be random

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