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08-14-2005 10:27 PM #1
EMF Danger: Urban Legend, or Real Risk?
Some time back, I looked into available research on electromagnetic fields in hybrid cars. Afterward, I wrote up a synopsis of what little reliable information I'd been able to find (with the help of a university librarian) on the subject.
I was surprised, myself, at the utter lack of definitive answers. But the overwhelming gist of the studies available was that low levels of EMF have never been proven—either in epidemiological or laboratory studies—to cause harm to humans (or any other mammals). Yet there are still products claiming to protect against EMF being offered for sale. I poked some fun at them, hoping perhaps to prevent misinformed or gullible people from wasting their money on what amounts to snake oil.
But that didn't go over so well with some.
Reader cbd wrote in:
"Regarding Maria McLean's somewhat snarky response to a reader's concern about EMFs from hybrid use: I own a hybrid, have had it for almost 2 years now. I have also been concerned about EMFs for several years, as to the fact that I felt that I have always been sensitive to higher energy situations. I own a gaussmeter and it is true that readings are much higher in the car (specifically near the floor boards and center panel); readings are up around the 20-30 mG range, which is 10 times the level that is considered safe by the UCS."
Another reader, James, complained that "The EMF section of this site is very vague and does not directly respond to the issue of EMF in the vehicles but rather goes at great lengths to describe the EMFs that are present in everyday life. The latter part of the section even goes so far as to take a crack at persons concerned with such EMF's by recommending that they join the Amish Community….The situation with a hybrid vehicle is purely unique to that of the Magnetic fields one may be subject to in an apartment building. In the case of the hybrid vehicle, the passenger is literally inches away from the current-carrying conductors at prolonged periods of time. Using a Tesla-meter to measure the magnetic field is a very good step in determining the EMF. However I am very interested in seeing calcualations based on the many currents in the vehicle. Therefore, through some actual effort, it is possible to calculate the EMF's in this vehicle. I wont go so far as to suggest you should do your own research and calcution and find the truth. However, the author seems to speak on a subject of which he/she has limited knowledge and tries to convince the public that because "no one knows for sure," hybrids are safe! ... Please reconsider and treat such concerns with more respect!"
On August 1, Ralf Trulli posted the following in another discussion:
"Hybrid vehicles are apparentley being tested to see if the magnetic fields being created from the large battery pack and electric motor could be hazardous. Magnetic fields of the nature can cause tumors especially with prolonged exposure."
So I'd like to open up a space for debate here. If you know of any peer-reviewed scientific proof of EMF harm, please come forward! Also, if you know of any studies at all done on vehicular EMF (besides the Vi Bilagare Volvo scare), particularly on hybrids, I'd love to hear about them.