We all know that hybrid cars are the green, environmentally-safer way to drive. Or at least, we thought we knew. Until recently, we hadn't considered the effects that extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) could have on our bodies as we drive.
In a 2015 study of hybrid and other types of cars, it was discovered that hybrid cars actually have the highest ELF magnetic field levels. These levels are associated with cancer and other illnesses, so they pose a major health risk with exposure.
Very few scientific investigations of this issue have been conducted, and none comparing diesel vehicles, until now. Other studies had indicated that tires and electrical systems were the main sources of MF exposure, and that different factors, like the amount of people in the car, can change the readings. But one of the main questions scientists were curious about was why the levels should be different at all.
- 10 car models
- 8 manufacturers
- 3 diesels, 4 gasoline, 3 hybrids
Measurements were taken when the cars were idling, and in motion. Multiple locations were measured, including under the hood and all four seat areas. Each car was measured under similar controlled conditions and negligible background fields for accuracy.
The study showed that MF exposure depends on a variety of things, including the type of engine, the operating conditions, and even where you're seated in the car. But in general, MF levels were highest in hybrid cars and lowest in diesel cars.
In hybrid cars, the highest MF levels were found in the back seats, where in gasoline and diesel cars it was the front seats. But, the levels are constantly changing, as it was found that they increase as the car speeds up.
What you can do
ELF magnetic fields are associated with all electronic devices, so there's no getting away from them. The best you can do is be aware and make knowledgeable choices for yourself in this digital world we call home.