The EM SAFETY consortium has adopted a number of complementary approaches to investigate the potential biohazard of Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) in Electric Vehicles (EVs). Alongside detailed magnetic field measurements in EVs, Internal Combustion Engine and Hybrid Vehicles, simulations of magnetic field emissions have been performed and specific tools and strategies to reduce such emission have been explored.
In full agreement with the policy of prudent avoidance adopted by EM SAFETY, experimental biomedical research on living cells in vitro has been also performed. In order to verify the possible effects of exposure to EMFs, some patterns of EMFs which are generated in EVs (as shown by scientific literature and reports from partners and especially those at extremely low frequency (ELF)) have been studied in cultured cells of mammalian origin. The network of interactions of EMF fields is highly complex to decipher and this constitutes a challenge for the scientific community dealing with the potential biohazards of electromagnetism.
What emerges from our studies is that specific patterns of EMFs that are found in EVs do interact with living systems. Albeit we still have to elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we have established some new correlative observations which suggest that:
In this project, the highest exposure levels derived from magnetic field measurements in a sample of eight hybrid and electric cars were less than 20% of the ICNIRP 2010 reference levels for general public exposure, compared with up to 10% for three internal combustion engine cars. However, these recommendations are only intended to protect against acute electro-stimulation effects, as ICNIRP consider that the evidence for chronic effects is currently too weak and lacking in demonstrable biophysical mechanisms to justify the definition of corresponding exposure limits.
Nonetheless, IARC has classified ELF magnetic fields as a carcinogen of Group 2B (possibly carcinogenic) on the basis of epidemiological data on children living close to power lines (50 and 60 Hz), although static electric and magnetic fields, as well as ELF electric fields, were considered not classifiable as to their carcinogenity (Group 3), due to insufficient evidence. Possibly carcinogenic means that the risk is far lower than that of a certain carcinogenic agent.
The results of our biological studies confirm the IARC view that static magnetic fields are not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans (Group 3), but do not support the view that ELF magnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). Indeed, most of the tested stimulation patterns reduced the growth of cancer cells. Moreover, we found no toxic effect elicited by static, ELF magnetic fields or combinations of both.
Gasoline used in internal combustion engine vehicles contains benzene (up to 1% by volume), which was defined by IARC as Group 1 carcinogens, i.e. certainly carcinogenic. Also diesel exhausts were classified by IARC as Group 1 carcinogens. As a corollary, vehicles powered only by batteries are by far preferable to internal combustion engine vehicles, as far as cancer risk is concerned.
Published January 6, 2014