At this time, all electronics are required to comply with standards designed to prevent them from interfering with radio signals. These standards should be re-designed so they protect human health. In order to meet these standards, filtering technology is employed. As noted below, other countries already have much stricter standards.
Legislation or regulations requiring harmonic filters on non-linear, time-varying loads need to be passed at the national level. Such filters are required on electronic devices sold in Europe. Manufacturers elect to save money and leave them off most products sold in the USA. The fact that they are required elsewhere means that such a law could be implemented relatively quickly because the technology is already available. Filters on new non-linear, time-varying loads would help keep the problem from worsening.
Certain sources of electrical pollution can also be addressed at the source through local action. One example is electrical pollution caused by cell towers. A county in Wisconsin has passed an ordinance requiring compliance with the IEEE-519. Follow the link for more information.
Unfortunately, the utilities did not have the foresight to lobby for national legislation requiring filters on non-linear, time-varying loads back when it first became apparent the sizing of the wires was going to be inadequate for the increased use of non-linear, time-varying loads. Electrical utilities will still have to upgrade the system to accommodate the high percentage of non-linear, time-varying loads without filters that are already in use.
Both the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have identified remedies for electrical ground currents. Legislation needs to be formulated and enacted in each state requiring utilities to use identified remedies to eliminate electrical ground currents and clean up "dirty" power. Unfortunately, this is a nation-wide problem that needs to dealt with on a state-by-state basis since the regulatory authority resides primarily at the state level.
In Wisconsin, Rep. Barbara Gronemus has introduced legislation in two consecutive legislative sessions that defines the desired endpoint - no current on the grounding rods except during fault situations - and allows the utilities to pick the best solution for each situation. Wisconsinites call your representative and senator and ask them to co-sponsor Rep. Gronemus's Electrical Pollution Bill next time it is introduced. Make them aware that this is a very important issue for you. Residents of other states should contact their representatives about introducing similar legislation in their state.
If you are not sure who your senator and representative are or how to reach them, call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472 or go to Find your legislators, Assembly Committees, Senate Committees, Assembly Homepages, and Senate Homepages
Hopefully, those of you in other states can take the bills below to your legislators and ask that they use them as templates for similar legislation in your state.
The non-linear, time-varying load (e.g. electronics) that are already in use without harmonic filters will necessitate a two-pronged approach to the problem of "dirty" power and electrical ground currents. First, legislation will have to be passed requiring the electrical utilities to upgrade their distribution and transmission systems to accommodate the return current from non-linear, time-varying loads. Second, citizens and electrical utility companies need to formulate and pass legislation requiring harmonic filters on non-linear, time-varying loads to prevent the problem from worsening.
(2003 Assembly Bill AB529)
The Electrical Consumer Bill of Rights:
Supporting documentation for WI AB529:
Committee on Energy and Utilities: Hearing for Assembly Bill 529 copy of official record of those who testified.
The Electrical Pollution Bill: