According to the WHO, power lines may pose a greater EMF danger than hybrid cars.
According to Consumer Reports, there is no current standard for electromagnetic field (EMF) levels in hybrid cars. In its own independent study, Consumer Reports found that the highest levels of EMF came from a non-hybrid 2008 Chevy Cobalt, which still produced levels significantly less than home computers, hair dryers or power lines. While the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health have both studied EMF exposure in relation to power lines, no recent research has been conducted to specifically address possible EMF dangers in hybrid cars.
EMF Exposure in Our Daily Lives
EMF stands for electromagnetic field. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all current EMF studies have been performed on alternating-current (AC) electricity. AC current typically comes from items plugged into a power supply other than a battery. The current is free to flow to or from a device. This flow of electricity produces the magnetic field. Common electrical devices such as cell phones, coffee makers, laptops, hairdryers and automatic doors produce low levels of EMF. Power lines, on the other hand, produce high levels of EMF. Studies performed by the National Cancer Institute, NIH and the World Health organization all agree that long-term exposure to the high levels of EMF produced by power lines may lead to childhood leukemia or other serious health problems. However, as yet, there is no conclusive evidence to say that EMF is the definitive cause.
Why Hybrid Cars?
Hybrid cars have one or more electric motors that can be used to start the automobile, provide extra power or, in the case of full hybrid automobiles, provide the sole source of power for low-speed acceleration. The electric motor produces an AC current that can run to the motor(s) for use or be reversed to store electricity in the battery. Because this is an AC system, the electric motor produces an electromagnetic field. Many hybrid car owners consider the addition of an electric motor and battery system to be the cause of increased EMF. However, Consumer Reports‘ findings appear to contradict this assumption, since non-hybrid vehicles produced as much as or more than hybrid vehicles.
Beware of personal reports and consumer blogs stating they have used at-home electromagnetic readers to record EMF exposure. Look for reports by scientific organizations that are not only trained to use these instruments but also use the best instruments available under the strictest conditions.
Bottom Line: Is Low Level EMF Dangerous?
While some hybrid car owners have reported high blood pressure or increased sleepiness when in the hybrid vehicle, there have been no conclusive studies to indicate that EMF levels produced by the car caused these symptoms. According to the World Health Organization’s International EMF Project, “Despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.”