I've heard two licensed electricians refer to the white wire as carrying only the imbalance as if there's not much shock danger there. My foreman though said the imbalance acutally burns worse than the black wire. That's in a simple series light bulb circuit. So if you were to bare the white and touch it while you are grounded what would happen? Isn't there a 120v drop created by the lamp? But still wouldn't you get a percentage of the amps? (because now you've made a paralled circuit) Someone else said these guys don't know what they're talking about and went on to talk about imbalance actually refering to 3 phase systems with unequal loads on each phase.