Electromagnetic Exposure in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EV): How Safe Are You?
Although the official position is that there is no risk associated with EMF emissions in these vehicles, today I chose to deepen into this. Electric cars are emerging as the dominant option in the automotive industry. It is therefore necessary to better understand what role electrosmog plays in this growing industry.
How much does the electrification of these vehicles influence the increase in electromagnetic exposure for the driver and passengers? Are the fields inside the vehicle sufficiently isolated? Is it possible to completely isolate these fields? What about the WiFi emissions, the Bluetooth connection of the devices with the vehicle’s computer? Are hybrids and EVs healthy for drivers and passengers?
According to the official position of organizations such as the ICNRIP (International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection), hybrid and electric vehicles do not represent any risk; and it is for this reason that governments do not ask for electromagnetic fields and exposure to be measured inside these cars, and therefore extensive studies in the field of electrosmog measurements and the associated health risks of these vehicle’s emissions have not been conducted. However, I continually hear about cases where users of electric cars of different well-known brands manifest suffering from temporary symptoms that are common to cases of individuals who claim to have electrohypersensitivity or EHS.
This shows us that, although there are no proven effects, the possible risks of these vehicles due to electromagnetic emissions should not be ignored.
There is also the technical side of the industry, I remember when in 2019 we participated in the CES in Las Vegas, I talked to engineers and manufacturers linked to the industry of hybrid and/or electric vehicles, who have approached me and my technical team to talk about how difficult is to control electromagnetic interference issues that they have to deal with in such vehicles daily.
On the other hand, I know that some hybrid and EV owners have tried measuring the electromagnetic fields by themselves using home meters (basically triaxial gauss meters), and most of them have been completely alarmed by the results. Now, what is the criterion on which this reaction is based on these users? The answer is: there is no criterion. However, I am also not declaring that EV vehicles are free of harmful emissions to your health.
So are these vehicles really risky for human health and the environment? To what extent can they cause consequences?
The electromagnetic exposure has been growing with the modernization of vehicles
As with all technologies, as automobiles have become more modern, they have become more accumulators of electromagnetic fields. EMF also tend to accumulate due to the metallic casing that covers the vehicles, and as more technology is integrated into the cars, the more electrified and polluted it is inside. Now, if that’s the way it is with ordinary vehicles, then imagine how high when it comes to hybrid or electric cars.
The truth is that there is a legitimate scientific reason to raise this problem: The flow of electrical current to the engine that drives a hybrid vehicle even at low speeds (and helps the engine of gasoline vehicles on the road) produces electric and/or magnetic fields. Some studies have already associated them with serious health problems, including a possible risk of cancer and leukemia among children.
This means that concerns about this matter are not without merit; as many agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute in the United States, recognize the potential dangers of long-term exposure to a strong electromagnetic field (EMF) and have conducted studies on the association of cancer risks with living near high-voltage utility lines.
So with batteries and power cables in hybrids often located close to the driver and passengers, some direct exposure to electromagnetic fields is inevitable. Also, from the electronic devices of the driver and passengers, all this is combined and added to the artificial emissions that arrive from the outside of the vehicle in the area where the vehicle roams, it becomes a substantial amount of fields inside the vehicle, still being worse when this exposure is extremely prolonged, as happens with drivers who spend hours a day behind the wheel.
Unlike cases when we use an electrical device whose exposure can be high but for a very short period, for example, a blender whose motor to operate produces an alternating magnetic field whose emission is negligible because it is only a few seconds of exposure.
Up to what level of electromagnetic emissions can we bear without risk?
As I have mentioned on previous occasions, we must be all aware that we live immersed in natural electromagnetic fields that have promoted the development of the planet and our species, and, on the other hand, we have been exposed to artificial fields, which are produced by the many man-made electrical appliances we use daily, the most exposed being cell phones, WiFi devices, and wireless and smart systems. It is the latter that carry with them an artificial polarization, carrying abnormal charges incompatible with biological systems and whose effects can permanently degenerate our health, they can also even alter the delicate balance of our environment, shorten the durability of the technologies, and in the Radiofrequencies, they can interfere with links and decrease the quality of communications.
Although it has been shown through an enormous number of studies that exposure to electromagnetic fields from artificial sources poses real health risks, the truth is that it has been a long time and we are far from reaching a global consensus on revising the current regulations and update them under a criterion that implies new protocols, control systems, and specific values that are below the levels that have been confirmed not to produce significant biological alterations.
The typical apathy of manufacturers in designing clean technologies that follow the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle in my opinion is because there is no legal framework that forces manufacturers to do more to perfect their technologies to the extent that we can qualify them to be Electro-Clean or Electro-Healthy.
This is especially so in the automotive industry where Electrosmog is not even one of the parameters to be analyzed.
Where to start?
For me, it is extremely important to start where the exposure levels in electric and hybrid cars are governed by some regulation. For example, the route that was taken in the case of cell phones can be followed, where emission levels have a maximum authorized limit that is determined through SAR (specific absorption rate) studies in the body, and there is a regulation that establishes that the maximum levels of radiation emitted by telephones must be measured to prevent them from exceeding those limits that the standard considers healthy.
By following a protocol of this type, we can establish a healthy standard and encourage international organizations to promote studies. A set of protocols should be applied in the manufacturing process of such vehicles.
Furthermore, it should be noted that not all cars, as well as telephones, have the same emission level; So not all modern vehicles have very high electromagnetic emissions, but there are determining variables in aspects such as manufacturing, materials, accessories, etc.
I do not believe that it is possible to manufacture an electronic device, much less an EV, which has such low emissions that by itself it does not represent a long-term problem for health, since studies such as those referred to in the Bioinitiative Report indicate that there are observations of disturbances at extremely low levels, which for those technical readers I can mention that it is said that, even at 5 PW, there are observable consequences of these artificial fields.
So what is the solution? Is the game closed? The solution is to combine electrical and electronic engineering focused on minimizing emissions and, second, to implement filters such as NOXTAK technology capable of changing the artificial polarization of these fields so that they follow the preferred orientations present in natural fields in terms of particle spin.
But today, for example, according to The New York Times article “Fear, But Few Facts, on Hybrid Risk”, “There is no federal standard that sets allowable levels of exposure. Government safety tests do not measure the strength of the fields on vehicles, although Honda and Toyota, the major hybrid manufacturers, say their internal controls ensure that their cars do not pose an additional risk to occupants.”
Have the emissions of current electric or hybrid vehicles been measured?
In the same New York Times article, Chris Martin, a Honda spokesperson, notes the lack of a federally mandated standard for electromagnetic fields in automobiles. Despite this, he said Honda is taking the matter seriously and that “All tests had results well below the commission’s standard”, referring to European guidelines. And, besides, it cautions against the use of portable test equipment that is commonly used by people to determine the degrees of exposure.
In a statement, Toyota said that “the electromagnetic fields measured inside and outside of Toyota hybrid vehicles in the 50-60 Hertz range are at the same low levels as conventional gasoline vehicles. Therefore, there are no additional risks to the health of drivers, passengers, or passers-by.”
Separately, Kent Shadwick, purchasing services controller for the School Board of the Catholic District of York in Ontario, told The New York Times that he evaluated the Toyota Prius for fleet use. Shadwick commented that the vehicle was tested at various speeds, with hard braking and rapid acceleration, using a professional-quality gauss meter.
“The results we saw were quite worrying… We saw high levels in the vehicle for both the driver and the rear left passenger, which has led us to explore armor options and consider testing different makes and models of hybrid vehicles.”
What about electrosensitive people in hybrids or EVs?
Concerns about high levels of electromagnetic emissions in hybrid or electric cars come not only from the alarming readings that many users have made using handheld measuring instruments, but I can properly say that they are also substantiated by drivers who have manifested feeling a set of discomforts when they are in the vehicle that is part of the common symptoms found in cases of individuals with some degree of EHS (Electrohypersensitivity).
The New York Times interviewed Neysa Linzer, 58, of Bulls Head in Staten Island. “She bought a new Honda Civic Hybrid in 2007 for the 200 weekly miles she drove to visit grocery stores on her marketing job for a supermarket chain. She said the car reduced her use of gas, but she began to have health problems: her blood pressure increased and she fell asleep at the wheel three times, narrowly avoiding accidents.”
In my experience, I have also dealt with similar testimonials from hybrid or electric car drivers; and I can say that this is the reason why many electrohypersensitive people choose to simply use older and simpler vehicles because they say they feel discomfort when they approach a modern vehicle that is generally highly technical.
I see the need for the automotive industry to be regulated and evaluated based on the principles followed in SAR studies applied to cell phones. All EV, hybrid, or even gasoline vehicles, due to the implementation of integrated intelligent technologies and electronic sensors, represent a significant increase in the electrification of vehicles and, therefore, in the production of Electromagnetic Fields with varied intensities and peaks. Added to this, the volume of WiFi and Bluetooth connections inside the vehicle and, in the case of EVs, the operation of the entire vehicle combine in a substantial increase in the levels of Electrosmog or EMF Pollution that these vehicles emit.
Today, all transportation systems have become accumulator boxes with multiple and elevated levels of electromagnetic pollution. The company that I have the privilege of leading is a pioneer in the control of these emissions with the material and the SPIRO system, which guarantees 100% effectiveness without modifying or blocking wireless connections.
However, the standard is necessary for manufacturers to raise their standard in automotive engineering and for all users to know that the manufacturer has a regulation that audits it regarding the emission levels allowed for the vehicle.
We need a clear standard that manufacturers can use as a benchmark to encourage the highest standard of Electro-clean vehicle manufacturing. This regulation requires promoting the ALARA principle for the manufacture of EV vehicles. As a specialist in EMC pollution, I know that we can address the problem from the source, and electrical and electronic engineers can develop better architectures and designs where the electromagnetic emission and the radius of the emitted fields are lower. That, added to an adequate and precise implementation of NOXTAK technology, can lead us to the ideal of 100% electrosmog-free vehicles.
From my point of view, we must move towards a vision of electrically healthy vehicles. It’s time to act now that the auto industry has only been taking EVs seriously for a few years. More and more, the market is going to ask that the so-called GREEN mobility be Healthy too. In the next article. I will delve more into it, there is much more to comment on and what we have observed in NOXTAK, in the implementation and testing of the SPIRO system.
CEO of NOXTAK, specialist and researcher in EMF, advisor on green technologies, IoT, and smart cities.