Fears over the dangers electric cars could have on its drivers health

07/05/2014

Although they look like the perfect environmentally friendly car, are they really that safe to drive? Some people have raised their concerns over the magnetic fields are not so good for a drivers health.

A study, based over seven countries argues that these claims are unfounded with evidence to suggest that electric cars do not generate a higher than recommended dose of electromagnetic fields.

As soon as the first car began appearing on our roads the dangers began to emerge over the electromagnetic fields in hybrid and electric vehicles. The flow of electrical current to the motor that moves a hybrid vehicle produces electromagnetic fields. (EMF)

The exposure from the EMF has been linked with serious health issues, including a possibility of cancer, miscarriage and a higher risk of leukaemia among children.

In electric vehicles the batteries and power cables are usually placed close to the driver and passengers, meaning that the exposure is inevitable.

‘Some members of the public have attributed a diffuse collection of symptoms to low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields at home,’ according to the World Health Organisation.

According to the World Health Organisation, “Some members of the public have attributed a diffuse collection of symptoms to low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields at home.”

“Reported symptoms include headaches, anxiety, suicide and depression, nausea, fatigue and loss of libido, sleep disorders, headaches, tiredness, concentration and memory problems.”

However, the latest study, led by Norway-based Sintef, argues that these concerns have been ‘blown out of proportion.’

EMF levels in seven different electric cars, one hydrogen-powered car, two petrol-fuelled cars and one diesel-fuelled car were measured in the laboratory and during road tests.

The highest values of electromagnetic exposure in electric cars were measured near the floor, close to the battery itself and when starting the cars.

In all cases, exposure to magnetic fields was lower than 20 per cent of the value recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection.

Sensors picked up a burst of radiation that same level, when the cars were started.

Measurements taken at head-height, using a test dummy with sensors located in the head, chest and feet, were shown to be less than two per cent of the recommended value.

In the case of petrol and diesel powered cars, exposure was measured at around 10 per cent of the exposure levels considered to be safe.

Kari Schjolberg-Henriksen, a physicist at Sintef said, “The difference between this research and similar earlier work is that we have taken into account what contributes to the magnetic fields.”

“The rotation of the wheels themselves generates considerable magnetic fields, irrespective of vehicle type.”

The EU-funded research project EM Safety is the most comprehensive study yet carried out to identify different sources of magnetic fields in electric cars.

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