The jury is still out on whether electromagnetic fields pose a health risk to humans, but rapidly escalating public concern likely will make the question one of the biggest environmental issues for public utilities in the decade ahead.

Studies suggesting a link between potential health problems, such as cancer, and electric and magnetic fields are fueling a debate that public power officials cannot ignore. In addressing this sensitive topic, officials face possible financial fallout from delays or alterations on major power lines and other utility facilities.

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