Fast Company

Do Hybrid Cars Emit Excessive Radiation?

Prius

Should we add hybrid cars to the list of things that emit unsafe amounts of radiation? A research committee funded by Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection thinks so. The committee studied radiation emitted from various hybrid vehicles over the past nine months with some disturbing results: the current generation Prius is safe, but the Honda Insight, Civic Hybrid, and previous generations of Prius's all emit "surplus" radiation.

According to The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), any extended exposure to electromagnetic fields higher than 2 mG can possibly cause cancer, while the Israeli Ministry of Health believes 4 mG is the maximum amount of allowable radiation. In a study conducted last year by Israeli Web site Walla! Cars, the Prius, Honda Insight, and Civic Hybrid all released 100 mG of radiation during acceleration. Normal driving of the Prius emitted between 14 and 30 mG of radiation.

The Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection will probably release the results of its nine-month-long study this week, with hybrids classified in three radiation groups. One possible barrier to the study's release: the car companies involved. Israeli Toyota and Honda dealers have already hired lobbying companies to prevent the study from being seen by the world. Take that as you will.

[Via The Truth About Cars]

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1 Comments

  • Nick DiGiacomo

    Before you start worrying about magnetic fields from your hybrid, you'd better throw out all your household appliances.

    The magnetic fields (the specific kind of radiation you're talking about here) from household appliances like ovens, microwaves and vacuum cleaners (most anything with a motor) runs 10 to 500 mGauss - as larger or larger than the hybrid fields, but still below the 1000 mGauss health limits set by the EU, WHO, etc. for these kinds of higher frequency intermittent magnetic fields (see this EU report for an example: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_... ).

    The limits you cite from the IARC relate to constant long term constant exposure to low frequency magnetic fields in residential environments (e.g living under power lines). You can read about that very different situation here ( http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract... ).

    By using the IARC limits for hybrids (or your blender), you (and the article you cite and the Israeli Environment Ministry) are making a classic apples to oranges comparison mistake. If the IARC limits applied to all the electrical stuff we use on a daily basis, we'd all be braindead by now.