[Excerpt from A Wellness Guide For The Digital Age]
Unfortunately, the energy-saving strategy of hybrid cars may have significant risks for human health. A hybrid vehicle combines a regular internal combustion engine and an electric motor powered by batteries. When you start the car, and at low speeds, the car runs just with the electric motor and battery. At high speeds the gasoline engine kicks in. The electric motor and batteries help the conventional engine work more efficiently, so far less fuel is used compared to even very efficient gas-powered vehicles. A good goal.
However, most of these vehicles have big battery packs just behind the rear seat, with cables running underneath the passengers toward the front of the car. Some drivers have used Gauss meters to check inside their hybrid vehicles for the EMR levels from the flow of electrical current to the motor. They reported very high levels – hundreds of times higher than our scientists consider safe.
There are also anecdotal reports of drivers of hybrids complaining of new health problems including rising blood pressure, excessive fatigue while driving, and other symptoms of electro-hypersensitivity. I hear they are developing hybrid trucks and buses – very big batteries. Good for global warming, but what about the health of the occupants?
(Larry Gust) “The magnetic fields are approximately 10 times higher in hybrids than in conventional vehicles, depending on the measurement location in the car.”
The back seat reading can be extremely high. Is this really where you want to put your baby’s car seat?
Hybrid Cars – Safer Solutions:
Shielding for the batteries. Unlike in mobile communications, there are no information-carrying radio waves here, so the batteries can be completely covered with a special metal that blocks the EMR, without disrupting the efficiency of the battery.
(Katharina Gustavs) “In order to block the magnetic fields from the batteries, the current-carrying wires would also have to be shielded.”
EMR in your gasoline-powered car?
Even in the non-hybrid vehicles, there are hundreds of electrical devices producing strong fields. Our car has electrically-heated seats. I used to think this was a great winter feature.
(KG) “Most cars emit substantial amounts of magnetic fields. Depending on the tires and the location of electronics and wiring, exposure levels can vary greatly in conventional cars, and can be just as bad as in hybrid cars.”
(Alasdair Philips) “Cars have electrical and electronic equipment (power wiring, fan motors, computerised controls and dashboards) that can disturb electrically sensitive people. The front seat can be a particular risky area.
Some upmarket cars have electronic control units under (or even as a part of) the driver’s seat. These will give off high magnetic fields. Also worth checking is whether the angle and position of car seats are electrically controlled. These have higher EMF/EMR than mechanically operated seats.”
(LG) “Other features in conventional cars can cause discomfort e.g. an air conditioning system control that sits in the ceiling right above the driver’s head and puts out a high magnetic field. This has given some a blinding headache. When the cause was discovered and the equipment disconnected, the headache never returned.”
In gas-fuelled vehicles, spark plugs firing repeatedly a few feet from occupants causes RF exposure. Many EMR-sensitive people react to this. Diesel cars without spark plugs do not have this problem.
Newer conventional vehicles also present more exposure than the older cars do, because of the on-board computers, and other high-tech additions.
It would be worth investigating the incidence of men with prostate cancer driving these uber-tech vehicles. This hidden hazard could be a factor? And cognitive impairment at 90 MPH in this radiation hot spot?
Non-hybrid Cars – Safer Solutions:
If you’re considering buying a new vehicle, or when you’re booking a rental, it’s preferable to get one with as few electronic bells and whistles as possible. Choose your car carefully, preferably using a meter (see Resources at the end of the book) to detect the fields. And, to be mindful of our environment, you can always opt for the most fuel-efficient conventional vehicles, limit your amount of driving, limit speeding, carpool etc.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
Have you been reading this and wondering if there’s going to be any GOOD news? Well, here’s some. I have recently learned that the on-board GPS is not so much of a concern, until it gets ‘amped-up’ for other sending and receiving functions?
(LG) “The GPS is a receiving-only device emitting a small amount of radiation – more like a radio.”
However we are being exposed to more and more wireless radiation as we travel.
Wireless on the road and by rail?
Someone contacted me recently to ask about wireless access in vehicles (via Bluetooth-like systems). Evidently, some new cars have this built right into the sound systems, but are activated with the ignition so you do not have the option to drive the car without being exposed to this kind of radiation. A confined metal space, experts advise us, can increase the harmful effects of EMR.
One of my neighbors was horrified when I told her about this:
You’re not serious? There was just a huge study showing wireless is safe. Our new high-tech car is outfitted with wireless access. The kids think this is very cool.
We even got them wireless headphones.
I thought we were doing the right thing, and that the onboard Wi-Fi and DVD player were going to be so handy. This is frustrating. How are we supposed to know?
If you have traveled lately by train, or a long-distance bus, you know that many are now “wireless hot spots” whether you want it or not. The health effects are just one of the concerns; as you will see in the next section, this kind of radiation has been shown to affect cognitive abilities including reaction time.
Having the conductor, or driver, texting is an obvious distraction, but making transportation vehicles wireless presents other hazards. This is particularly worrying in a high-speed train, or in an aircraft.
Cognitive impairment and cardiac problems in the cockpit at 37,000 ft?