No danger from magnetic fields in electric cars, says European study

Magnet
CC BY 2.0 Flickr

Not that I was ever really worried about magnetic fields in electric cars, but for those who are, a comprehensive study conducted by European scientists should put those fears to rest (well, if those fears are rational -- people with irrational fears probably won't be swayed by any amount of evidence). It's a fact that the human body isn't very sensitive to magnetic fields, and if it was, we'd be in trouble because these are literally everywhere. But even in that scenario, people working daily in factories that are full of much bigger electric motors and much higher current power lines would be the ones noticing the effects way before EV drivers.

A EM Safety research project funded by the EU and bringing together experts and research institutes from 10 countries looked into the question of whether EVs posed a risk. Using eight different vehicles (100% electric cars, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell, gasoline, diesel) and mannequins with sensitive sensors in the head, chest, and feet to measure exposure. The authors of the study found that in all cases, exposure to magnetic fields in electric cars was lower than 20% of the limiting value recommended by the ICNIRP (which itself is pretty far from what would be dangerous).

© Nissan

Measurements taken at head-height were less than 2% of that recommended value. But more interesting, gasoline and diesel-powered cars came in at around 10% of the limiting value, so there is little difference between electric cars and gas and diesel cars.

The scientists concluded that there is a good safety margin. “There is absolutely no cause for concern,” Schjølberg-Henriksen 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 main problem with EM is that the placebo effect is real, and people who believe that they are being harmed might feel that harm. This means that the main way to cure those ills is informing people. One more reason why science education is crucial!

PluginAmerica/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Via ENS

Tags: Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles

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