Are Hybrids an EMF Health Risk?

We have had some sport with the dangers of Electromagnetic Forces (EMF) before (see a University without Wifi) and even done April Fools jokes about it; after a little more reading we concluded that we should not be so dismissive.

However we find it hard to take Jim Motavalli's article in the New York Times "Fear, but Few Facts, on Hybrid Risk" seriously. He writes:

There is a legitimate scientific reason for raising the issue. The flow of electrical current to the motor that moves a hybrid vehicle at low speeds (and assists the gasoline engine on the highway) produces magnetic fields, which some studies have associated with serious health matters, including a possible risk of leukemia among children.

There are electric motors in gasoline powered cars too, and Toyota tested its Prius and found that the levels were no higher than regular cars, and that the levels were 1/300th of the European standards. As for the woman who kept falling asleep in her hybrid Honda, could it be that it is just a lot quieter than a normal car? Does she use a cell phone?

Honda spokesperson Chris Martin says "All our tests had results that were well below the commission's standard," Mr. Martin said, referring to the European guidelines. And he cautions about the use of hand-held test equipment. "People have a valid concern, but they're measuring radiation using the wrong devices," he said.

This is like mercury in a CFL- a concern, but not a deal-breaker, the benefits far outweigh the risk. Whose interest is served by scaring people about it? ::New York Times

See TreeHugger on EMF:

Electrical Smog: More on "Frequency Pollution"

A university without wifi
Let The Power Be With Us: Glow-Tubes Map EMF Exposure

and for fun,

Spray-on Defense from WiFi and Cellphones
New Study Proves EMF Affects Living Things, Discovers Electro-bonsai Effect