Many Americans love their cars. Not only a mode of transportation, cars can represent our values, personality or lifestyle, and provide creature comforts and audiovisual entertainment. But do modern-day features impact our health? In this, part two of a two-part article, let’s explore healthful tips. Part One, Cars and EMF, explores cars and EMF.
Selecting a Lower EMF Car
From Jens Bil’s Introduction to Low-EMF Cars: The level of EMF radiation (EMR) in powered vehicles varies greatly with the brand, model and year of vehicle. Generally speaking, the greater the electricity/power used by a vehicle, the greater the electric and magnetic fields created.
The typical new car will measure in the range of 30 to 80 milliGauss (mG), with the engine revved up and the car not moving. It is not difficult to find one that measures below 10 mG, while very few come in below 2 mG, the globally accepted safety limit.[i]
Generally, trucks and SUV’s tend to have lower levels than cars; large vehicles have less than small ones; older vehicles have less than newer ones; vehicles with fewer gadgets have less than loaded models. It is best with a model where the battery and the alternator are located in the front – far from the driver. Electronic fuel injection generates some EMF as well, though less than the other parts like ignition coils and cooling systems. Carburetors do not generate EMF, but have not been installed in cars since the 1980’s.
Features to look for:
no anti-lock brakes
few electronic gadgets
battery far from driver
ignition coil far from driver
alternator far from driver
fuse box far from driver
no side-mounted engine
no built-in wifi or communication technologies
Click here for one study involving many cars.
Measuring EMF in Cars / Finding the Safest Seat
To measure the milliGauss readings in a car, consider using a Gaussmeter like the Trifield 100XE EMF Meter,[ii] which individually measures all three frequencies: electric, magnetic and radio. Amazon.com sells the TriField Meter for around $100. While measurements will not be as precise as very expensive and sensitive equipment, TriField Meter measurements represent the relative strength of the EMF emissions.
Most sources of radiation are in the front end of most cars, however, there may be some equipment in the dashboard and back end. Be sure to measure: steering wheel, dashboard, console, foot/calf area, head area, chest area, abdominal organ area, and each seat’s top surface and backrest. Check for ambient EMF inside the car when the car is off versus when the car is on, and when gadgets are operating, i.e. wifi, GPS, communication, cell phone and audiovisual technologies. Compare EMF levels when the car is off, at a standstill, during acceleration, and while cruising.
Video: Measuring EMF in a Car
Here is a video demonstrating EMF readings for the 2011 Toyota 4Runner I drive:
Safe Levels of EMF on the TriField Meter:
– 1 kV/m or less on the upper scale for electric and
– 3mG or less on the upper scale for magnetic
– 1 mG or less on the middle scale: magnetic
– 1 μW/cm² or less on the bottom scale: radio / microwave
Healthful Tips to Manage Car EMF
Minimize electronics and gadgets (older cars have less)
Minimize devices in use (LCD display, audiovisual and entertainment systems)
Minimize cell phone use; GPS and satellite-related technologies; hot spot, wifi, wireless and communication technologies (which emit microwave radiation)
– In such cases, ensure the car uses an external antennae, or mount one, to draw such signals outside, reducing the reflection of radiation back in the cabin.
– See EMF News or after-market auto retailers like CarToys for external mounted antennae.
Sit in the seat with least EMF if you are a passenger, especially if you suffer electrohypersensitivity (EHS).
– Keep in mind that the backseat of a hybrid may be the worst, especially for children.
– Consider a booster seat if it would provide sufficient distance between the child’s body and any unsafe EMF being emitted from rear-end batteries (while meeting seatbelt safety requirements).
Minimize travel time in cars and powered vehicles (without speeding).
Remove fuses for unnecessary /unused devices.
Beware of window films, resonators, harmonizers, shielded clothing, etc. They are often more hype than help. Some may make a bad situation a little better, but none are likely to completely resolve EMR concerns.