Radiation from Battery/Electric Motor

Radiation from Battery/Electric Motor

Was thinking about whether there is ELF or ionizing radiation emitted from the huge battery pack and electric motor underneath the vehicle. Obviously ionizing radiation would be a major concern if that was the case, but even ELF radiation over long periods could be of concern.

If radiation is emitted, does the 85kwh emit more than a 60 let's say. Better yet, does an ICE vehicle produce less than an EV given the lack of battery?

Wondering if anybody has looked at what of anything the MS emits in terms of radiation and potential effects on long term health?

olanmills | January 2, 2013

Can we please stop having a thread like this every other month?

Either you can choose to believe this, or not:

Robert22 | January 2, 2013


The recurrent discussion is likely due to persistent interest. Please ignore the thread if it distresses you. I for one always learn something. There is also the possibility that wikipedia may not be the final authority on this issue.


I would very much like to view the evidence. Please provide a citation for the nursing study. You seem to have quite a few study details for a "buried" manuscript. Well-designed studies usually find a home in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal. "No safe level" is supported by a preponderance of the peer-reviewed literature.

"No safe level [for ionizing radiation] proving false again and again"- Could you please cite specific peer-reviewed references for this? Please disregard the botanical literature.


Tesla was indeed fascinating and is well-deserving of his new museum. Thanks for sharing the interesting anecdote.

Sudre_ | January 2, 2013

"No safe level [for ionizing radiation] proving false again and again"-Brian

I think Brian is saying this because we require ionizing radiation for our bodies to make vitamin D. Vitamin D is proving to be a very important vitamin to have. That means there must be a safe level. The level at witch we get the needed amount of vitamin D.

Robert22 | January 2, 2013

Actually, most physicians do not encourage obtaining one's daily requirement for vitamin D from sunlight. It's too unreliable for a variety of reasons relating to individual factors (age, skin color, etc.) and meteorology. The recommendation now is to obtain most vitamin D through dietary means and supplements. If you want to see the vein bulge in a dermatologist's neck, tell them you plan to get your daily dose of D through sunlight.

Brian H | January 2, 2013

The LNT assumption of an ideal "bubble boy" existence is simply contrary to experience and fact, and research. The immune system and DNA repair mechanisms have an optimum "challenge" level, or they are "dialed down" to dangerously low levels (for when a challenge does occur, as is almost inevitable). There is no research support for the LNT assumptions. They're just convenient. It's easier to kill a few rats with megadoses and divide the mortality by 1,000,000 than to unravel the actual biological responses, and what dosage it takes to overwhelm them.

One test was Bernard Cohen's study in the 1990s. As a physicist, he was sure he would find a strong radon-cancer correlation. He did, but it was negative (covered about 90% of the counties in the country).

Don't have personal access to journal indices, and don't have previous links to hand. Will post them if I come across them again.

Robert22 | January 2, 2013

To summarize, in Jan 2013:

Radon gas: Avoid where possible at any level to reduce your risk of lung cancer.
Ionizing radiation: Avoid where possible at any level to reduce your risk of malignancy.
Non-ionizing EMF: Jury still out on potential health effects

Whether up-regulation of DNA repair enzyme activity occurs at extremely low exposure levels and is sufficient to confer cellular protection has yet to be confirmed in multiple independent peer-reviewed studies.

RobS | January 3, 2013

My wife is a Ph.D epidemiologist who did research on the effects of EMF in the 1980s. I asked for her take on this. She told me that EMF emissions from DC sources are not a risk. We’re exposed to them every day from nature and they have no biological effect on the body. So the big DC battery pack is not a concern. But, EMF emissions from AC sources could be a concern. That means the question is how much AC EMF comes from the motor.

I remember when she had some cool meters to measure EMF, but they are long gone.

As has been stated here, distance from the field is important as the energy dissipates very quickly. Personally, we’re not getting the jump seats and don’t expect the back seat to be used very often, so we’re not concerned about exposure to ourselves or to passengers in the car.

We’re looking forward to getting our car next week. My wife’s in a school of public health and we’ll see if any of her colleagues have access to a meter to do some real measurements. No guarantee there. But if we’re lucky, we’ll get back with details.

On a side note – this reminds me of purchasing granite for our kitchen a few years ago. We took a Geiger counter to the warehouse that had lots of granite slabs. Yes, several of them got the Geiger counter very excited (mostly dark reds). Not a good idea to have a radioactive kitchen if you can avoid it.

TeslaModelSOwner | January 3, 2013

@RobS - Would love to see what the meters say when you get your Model S.

Brian H | January 3, 2013

It's the "extremely low only" which research is now disputing. Radon etc. does cause damage. What it doesn't cause is linear mortality; in fact the reverse at low to average exposure. You seem to be committed to the LNT assumption. Why?

olanmills | January 4, 2013

You just said it yourself Robert22, "Non-ionizing EMF: Jury still out on potential health effects".

That's a polite way of saying there's no evidence it does anything, and it's only been studied because people were concerned about it, though the concerns were not based on scientific evidence.

By dragging the topic up over and over again, it makes some people believe that there actually is something to be concerned about or that there's even some sort of conspiracy to hide concerns, regardless of evidence.

Also, am I wrong about the following?
Electromagnetic radiation =/= EMF

...though they are related.

shs | January 4, 2013

For measuring EMF one would use a gauss meter that reports the EMF in either (milli) gauss or (micro)Tesla. I have used such meters to check out laboratories for their suitability for scientific instrumentation. Such meters are readily available on Amazon. Low cost units start in the $30 range, but ideally one should get a 3-axis model that are available for about $200. That said, I am sure that the engineers at Tesla know exactly what the EMF levels are around the car and that there is most likely an engineering drawing with exactly that information. And again, I suspect that the shielding by the motor casing will keep these levels pretty low. So now you have the measurement or number from a drawing, what do you do since there are no agreed upon safety standards for low levels of low frequency EMFs? One could compare the level found around your house: near appliances, hair dryers, electric blankets, clock radios, main electrical panel, where power enters your house via underground cables, etc, or near power lines. That would at least put things in perspective.

One other thing, for anybody really worried about the EMFs from the motor, if one avoids rapid acceleration and limits the speed of the car to less than 20 mph, it will considerably reduce the risks. Just kidding.

DouglasR | January 4, 2013

I used to work with electric utilities, including transmission utilities, and they would occasionally be faced with demands that they relocate their high voltage transmission lines because of potential EMF health effects. The demands always seemed to me to be misplaced. The cost of relocating a transmission line is enormous. If a tiny fraction of that cost were devoted to, say, prenatal health care, the verified improvement in a population's health would be far greater than even the hypothetical benefits from moving the line. I think perspective is required here.

Brian H | January 4, 2013

Yeah, Fear of the Invisible is a potent driver of political and pseudo-scientific paranoia. I think it's the modern equivalent of blaming stuff on Evil Spirits.

shs | January 5, 2013

Speaking of evil spirits, if you search on gauss meter on Amazon a number of them are being promoted as ghost detectors and/or detectors of paranormal activity!

Robert22 | January 5, 2013


Again, rather than shadowbox, please provide the peer-reviewed support for your statement above "radon, at low to average exposure does not cause linear mortality, in fact the reverse" which implies a protective effect. I'm not wedded to any hypothesis, but I do find an overwhelming body of research that contradicts your statement. You seem to recall many details of the (single) study you have offered up as proof of your contention. You have demonstrated considerable resourcefulness in the past on this forum in sourcing your comments so I'm sure with minimal effort you can produce this nurse's study for critical review with a little time spent on pub med. You're asking this forum to accept your radon statement as fact without qualification based on one paper that you can't produce?


There's plenty of evidence as I've mentioned before that EMF causes perturbations and alterations within the cell that are reversible. There is no doubt that the cell undergoes reversible change with abnormal movement of cellular proteins and disruption of other cellular processes. Current studies are looking for definitive evidence of irreversible pathologic change. Yes, the concerns ARE based on scientific evidence which have led to further studies. Wait for the data before making broad comments about obvious safety. I don't expect this to resonate with the tinfoil hat-comment types, but than it never does. Why the desperate need to convince yourself and others that a cautious approach is foolish when no one can know dor sure whether it is or not at this time.

TeslaModelSOwner | January 5, 2013

+1 Robert22

Timo | January 8, 2013

There's plenty of evidence as I've mentioned before that EMF causes perturbations and alterations within the cell that are reversible

...with high enough field strength. Which is not the case of BEV.

Unless you are living in MRI device this kind of "concern" is nuts, everything using electricity around you causes EMF. ICE car spark plugs are huge source of EMF, far far stronger than anything inside BEV:s, also toxic fumes from them are real health risk, so unless you are going without cars at all you are far bigger health risk around your current car than you are ever in BEV.

Proof that this concern is nuts is that it takes so long to find anything if there even is something to find.

Fact that nothing has been found is not proof that there is something:

Brian H | January 10, 2013

Not going to try and assemble the journal refs (which I don't have direct access to anyway). But here's the experience of a famous journalist (long-time anti-nuclear activist, shocked into recanting) George Monbiot (nicknamed Moonbat by sceptics for his previously extreme adherence to the "consensus"):
(referencing this article: )
when he tried to get references supporting the LND position taken by one of its most prominent global advocates.

Amusingly, the premier references Dr. Caldicott gives actually refute her assertions when read in detail.

handymanpro9 | November 22, 2015

Just got a solar battery charge controller (SMART2 MPPT solar Charge Controller). Trying to set it up, now reading manual.
"Caution! Unite may emit some radiation which may be harmful.
Do not stay within 1 foot of controller for any extended period of time."

Oh boy. Which brings up the question of everything in my house that is electrical. Which things are bad to be very close too and which are harmless.

When the power went out in the city some years ago, there was no hum from all the household wires and electrical devices. It was at that time you got to know your swimming in an electrical field cloud or near one. Is there a known limit of health exposure to this kind of radiation and what kind are we talking about anyway. Is there shielding possible for this?

sule | November 22, 2015

Oh boy...

1. There is no nuclear radiation from a BEV. The closest to nuclear radiation from a piece of electronic equipment is the electron ray from an electron and the back of cathode ray tube (CRT) screens. Nothing like it in BEVs.

2. There are electromagnetic fields / energy (EMF) created. Not all EMF is bad. Some is good. Sunlight is EMF. You need it to get vitamin D. You also need it to see. You don't like certain ranges of the spectrum such a microwave or ultraviolet or X rays. None of these in a BEV.

3. Distance matters. EMF strength goes down with the square of the distance. It is ten thousand times weaker one metre (or a yard) away than it is 1 cm (half inch) away. At regular distances it is weaker than you may get from nature alone.

4. I'll take any BEV EMF over ICE exhaust, any time.

handymanpro9 | November 22, 2015

By the way, I was referring to any Electro-magnetic radiation if any.
I remember a story of this electrical engineer in the old days of vacuum tubes working away near heavy equipment. He had the chocolate bar in his shirt pocket that was melting. It was not from the heat in the room, but from other sources. So he looked into it and found it was microwave radiation coming from some of these tubs. It was from this he invented our microwave ovens we have today. WOW!

So I have this friend that is in electrical big time, now a days he just works for bell in communications. I asked him about this subject and was told that yes different metals/materials will emit radiation at different levels when heated. Which I should really know that anyway, just that you never think that far with that toaster in front of you in the morning with only just one coffee in you.

So everything that heats up to high enough levels can and will emit something. Is that still a problem with all these integrated circuits in computers and the like?

I once had a TRS-80 radio shack computer. In this store that had other computers also in the room, would be getting interference from the unshielded TRS-80 computer. Guys would know right away you turned that thing on because it would screw up there other computer. Now that's not EMF (Electro-magnetic field) effecting the whole room here. That's more than that.

Where's a good source to read up on this subject of every day radiation (electro-magnetic frequencies).

SbMD | November 22, 2015

Talk about raising the titanic with this thread and topic...
Also a ton of misinformation out there, and embedded into other threads on this forum, dating back even earlier than this thread.

Here is some info from the World Health Organization:

sule | November 22, 2015

@handy: Chocolate melts at body temperature. He had it in his pocket. He may also have been sweating. Interference is not necessarily harmful. Reflected light coming from one angle interferes with light coming from another, causing changes in what you see, precisely as you want and need.

You need to understand the subject before you start assuming things.

Did you know that Dihydrogen Monoxide can be dangerous for you in large quantities, for example, but is completely harmless in normal quantities? People live with lots of it in their bodies, yet there have been death cases due to too much intake of it - it messed up the electrolytes in her body.

I suggest caution.

sule | November 22, 2015

Here is one such death case I googled out.