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Rear-seat EMF below 2mG to reduce risk of childhood leukemia?

Hello all,

As many of you know, EMF is generally considered safe, even at high exposures. Nevertheless, studies have found a link between high power lines (which emit EMF) and childhood leukemia [1], and possibly some forms of brain cancer. While statistically significant, the risk is modest, and there is no known mechanism of action. Attempts to reproduce the findings in animal models have failed.

While there is no proven causative link (and, in fact, this leukemia could be explained by other factors, such as high pesticide use around high power lines), prudence dictates that I limit my children's exposure to EMF to a level below 2 mG. That would include the rear seats of a Tesla, in which my children might be sitting for hours a day in car seats, unable to shift their position, for years.

Has anyone measured AC magnetic fields in the rear seat of a Tesla with a tri-axis gaussmeter? What were the readings at cruise and under hard acceleration? Has anyone attempted to redirect the fields using a nickel-iron based alloy like mu-metal?



P.S. The following responses are not helpful:
a) Mockery.
b) Statements that EMF is non-ionizing (noted, but ionizing radiation is not the only cancer promoting agent).
c) Links to research on EMF in animal models (noted).
d) Statements that much higher exposures to EMF exist elsewhere in a household (yes, but not for hours at a time, every day of the week for years, and not to infants).
e) Links to other threads, unless the linked-to thread answers my question specifically.

News flash. Infants should get about a teaspoon of yard dirt a day. Teaches their immune systems lessons it will need, if they're not going to die quite young.

Talk about fantasy. Name one technology that was ground down to a halt due to unjustified precaution. Just one.

And sure, the power level is three orders of magnitude less, but the cumulative exposure time is easily three orders of magnitude more. Food is cooked in minutes. People spend thousands of hours on the phone.

People, and their bodies, are not passive recipients of such influences. They react and cope dynamically, and very effectively within wide margins. In fact, the coping itself is beneficial, since it keeps repair and metabolic systems active and flexible. Freedom from challenge is a very bad policy and goal.

@danielccc the thing is, and I don't mean to be too insulting, but people don't know what they're talking about sometimes.

"But microwaves cook food at 1,000 times the power output of cell phones (within three orders of magnitude)."

Microwaves are electromagnetic radiation, and that is very different from EMF (electromagnetic field). Yes, it is very unsafe to stick your head in a microwave. Yes it is unsafe to stand in front of a microwave oven for long periods of time because microwave ovens to not contain all of the microwaves and radiation comes out. However, a microwave, a radio wave, an X-Ray, this is not EMF. This is EMR.

"Clearly tissue absorbs energy from EMF at microwave frequencies."

EMF does not radiate out energy like electromagnetic radiation, just like magnets do not radiate energy. They create a potential. Changes in an EMF, or motion relative to an EMF can induce energy in conductors, but the source of the energy is whatever the source of the motion or modulation is, not the EMF itself.

"Is the EMF in an EV like a power cord or like a cell phone?"

A power cord just has EMF. A cell phone has EMF and EMR. EMR is radiation energy.

olanmills, we are not talking about static fields, which I don't think anybody thinks are even potentially harmful.

We are talking about fields generated by alternating current. A power cord radiates a 60Hz electromagnetic field, a radio signal, and so does an AC motor or any AC device. 60 Hz is a low frequency so the radiation is very low energy (and very long wavelength), but it radiates, for sure, as does any unshielded cable carrying an electric current that varies through time. Speaker cables, for example.

Any effect such fields create is trivial, well within the ability of the body to handle. Making large efforts to prevent trivia is, by definition, a waste of time.

Nice danielccc, you just contradicted yourself in the same post.

Vawlkus, I did? How?

Brian H, I didn't realize you were an expert on this. The body tolerates low levels of ionizing radiation because life has been exposed to cosmic rays for the entire history of the planet. You seem to be extrapolating from that to any other kind of exposure.

The worst part of this conversation is that I don't even think EMF in a Tesla or any other EV is likely to be harmful. I would not even have brought up the subject on my own. I've engaged because of all the mocking comments and the poor thinking they expose, using language almost exactly like that used by tobacco lobbyists.

Just for fun:

So is it safe to ride in or walk around cars that have RADAR based adaptive cruise control?


Keyword is "non-ionizing radiation"

The Earth's EMF is the exact cause why life sustained on Earth, despite the bombarding of cosmic radiation.

The difference with the tobacco lobbyists is that they avoid science at all cost. Here science is applied at all cost.

@danielccc - I don't mean to be disrespectful at any level. There are many electrical engineers on this forum. A lengthy technical explanation would clarify the differences, however, more in-depth technical knowledge is needed to understand it.

There are also medical professionals on the board, I remember at least one of them questioned the effects of EMF pointing to inconclusive research. However, nobody questions if there are harmful effects from MRI diagnostics, where the EMF is thousands of times stronger.


Not sure whether you are suggesting the MRI is dangerous or not, but if so, you may have it confused with X-ray-based CAT scans. MRI involves a strong static magnetic field and moderate (non-ionizing) RF fields and is considered much less potentially harmful than CAT scans.

@shs - Correct.

@shs - People are questioning the safety of the EMF produced by electrical motors, while MRI on purpose produces an EMF thousands of times stronger, and nobody worries. And they shouldn't.

MRI is absolutely safe. Just don't wear any iron accessories.


I used to work for a company that made MRI and NMR spectrometers. Lots of good stories about people walking by magnets with various tools, etc. Or the lady with a bit of iron in her hip. Actively shielded magnets really do help with this problem however, that is unless you get real close.

A modulating EMF caused by AC current is not electromagnetic radiation. Again, you are mixing up two different things. They are not entirely unrelated, but they are not the same thing.

The kid's going to be attached to a cell phone and data plan probably starting in late elementary school anyway, if not all his friends will be. How about about a study on how exposure to carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, soot and a whole bunch of other carcinogenic chemical compounds from not-exactly-pure gasoline effect us all? All of which cannot be avoided while driving on the road either due to your own car or other cars. Oh nevermind, we're used to that already. Not to mention decades of running leaded gasoline which put a few hundred million pounds (not an exaggeration) of lead out into the atmosphere coating almost everything. Danger - it's relative.

Quit trying to sneak CO into the mix. It only occurs when air supply is restricted, like a closed garage.

@Brian H: or you're driving. Anywhere. If you can smell exhaust, then you are getting the whole cocktail including CO. We're surrounded by in on the road. People forgot how nasty it is because it is so ubiquitous. It's not going to go away until every vehicle is on some non-hydrocarbon fuel.

Very little CO. It is "failed combustion" which should generate CO2, resulting from oxygen shortage. It is very reactive, and in the open air is not very stable, oxidizing into CO2. Wiki:
"In the atmosphere it is spatially variable, short lived,
Carbon monoxide is produced from the partial oxidation of carbon-containing compounds; it forms when there is not enough oxygen to produce carbon dioxide (CO2), such as when operating a stove or an internal combustion engine in an enclosed space.
Worldwide, the largest source of carbon monoxide is natural in origin, due to photochemical reactions in the troposphere that generate about 5 x 1012 kilograms per year."

Wiki typo: "5 x 10^12 kilograms per year."

Yes that pure clean car exhaust. Stick your face in the tailpipe and breath in deeply for gentle cleansing of your lungs with pure healing dinosaur extract.

Did I say it was "clean"? Stop changing the subject. I said there is normally little CO, unless run in a confined space.

While lead my no longer be used in cars (or paints), its usage in cars may affect us for a long time in the future. Lead doesn't break down and will stay around for ever. Unlike EMF which will stop as soon as the electrical current stops. Also EMF only affects people in the immediate vicinity, where as car exhausts go everywhere.

The local media ran a story on the lead issue last night.

I had no idea Australia was so late phasing out leaded gasoline. 2002? That's even later than Europe and much of Latin America, and even neighboring New Zealand.

Somebody should be mad about that.

I realize this is an old thread. Thought this may be of interest ...

I agree with the original poster that ELF/EMF is a concern.
I had the same question for Toyota's hybrid models. My Toyota Echo emits 2-3mG at the driver's right leg location when the engine is running.

I was concerned enough about the ELF/EMF from the distribution line across the street that I developed and deployed an EMF cancellation system for my house.

If interested the details are here:


I recently test drove a Model S and measured EMF levels in the backseat using a Bell-4180 Triple-Axis Gaussmeter. A Tesla rep. had mentioned that I was not the first person to do this, and claimed that the EMF levels in a Model S are "below that of a gas-powered car." I did not find that to be true, but the levels are not the worst I have measured.

I found EMF in the Model S to be below an ICE-powered car (nominally 2 mG) at idle and when coasting, but spike to around 15 mG when accelerating. This is actually much better than measured hybrids--the CMax Energi emits 15 mG simply by turning on the car, and a Prius is around 6 mG. Still, it is higher than a LEAF, which never goes above 2 mG. I wonder if this EMF is generated when modulating power to the traction control system, in which case it should be lower when in an eco mode, or with traction control disabled.

15 mG is roughly comparable to standing about a foot from an active microwave, though, to be clear, we are not measuring microwave radiation (what actually cooks your food), but rather EMF, which will be emitted from any electrical device, such as a mobile phone, which will emit much more.

I look forward to measuring the Model X. I would be happier if levels could be kept below 2mG at all times given that my children will likely spend a thousand hours in the car. As it stands now, the LEAF is preferable from an EMF standpoint.

While EMF has been shown to be non-ionizing, the link to childhood leukemia remains statistically significant, albeit weak. One theory supposes that EMF interferes with DNA repair, which could indirectly increase cancer incidence by interfering with natural repair mechanisms in those with particular genes (XRCC1). See

P.S. Reading this thread saddens me. I was hoping for more helpful responses, but the majority of posts serve no purpose, except perhaps to embarrass mankind forever. You are not as clever as you think you are; please refrain.

Why not worry about the far more potent and generally distributed "threat", the mobile phone? As you admit, it "will emit much more", and much closer than 1 foot! And for much more, lifetime, than a thousand hours. Most users will exceed that in a year or two.

the Swedish TOC standard is 2 MG or less for 1 hour or less.

It's very distance limited so only small children with their feet down on the area very close to the motor would be affected. I used my meter in hybrids and pure electrics. The EV1 was quite bad with 10-40 MG right in the front seats.
The Tesla Roadster is high right behind the seats which is where the AC motor is. My Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus 100% pure electric are very clean with only a small reading in the Focus near the drivers right knee.

Small children are affected the most. High power lines are very bad and some schools near them had high cancer rates. In our area the utility lets people walk and bicycle below the 750 Kw lines. I measured 20-100 MG. It's a true hazard but no one cares.

Megagauss is a bit rough magnetic field. I seriously doubt you measured that anywhere. Kw is not a unit of anything that I know of.

Earth magnetic field strength is 250-600mG at ground level.

@ Kaiser

Thank you for measuring the EMF in the Model S, and compare it to other EVs.

In the case of CMax Energi, the source of the EMF is not from the actively running electric motor, since it is measure idle. While for Model S, it seems related to acceleration (spike of current in the wires, inverter/regulator, and the spinning motor).

According to this study, many ICE cars that have much higher EMF. Some BMWs, MBs and Audis have up to 100 mG. What car are you driving now? Please see the list in the site:

It seems that luxury cars with more electronic gadgets have high EMF.

If we are measuring the same thing, then EMF from EVs are the same as ICE cars, and are much lower than those new luxury brands.

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