Tesla Causes Cancer

Tesla Causes Cancer

I was having lunch in Willow Glen (San Jose, CA.) yesterday and overheard a conversation from the table next to me about why the Tesla was a bad idea. There were 8 young folks (mid 20's to mid 30's) discussing the car and one fellow said he wouldn't touch the car because it would give you cancer.

His argument was that you're sitting on top of a giant cell phone battery and that has been proven to cause cancer. What surprised me was that the remaining 7 (4 men & 3 women) people all chimed in and agreed.

I couldn't contain myself and turned around and told them they had no idea of what they were talking about. I have read all the studies about cell phone battery's and draw the same conclusion of those conducting the studies that cell phones don't cause cancer. I also told them that it's stupid and ignorant people like themselves that is driving this country into the toilet. Needless to say they didn't like my assessment of their moronic view about things they have no basis to make statements about. Fortunately, I was finished with lunch and I left them in the dust when I pulled out of the parking lot.

Pbfoot | 5 March 2013

Shocking how many people rely on Facebook posts and pop culture for their sources of information. Explains why we can't fix Congress; people like this vote.

petero | 5 March 2013

Love2krz. Enjoyed your post, thank you. Got to go, killing myself "driving my 'S' off" and smiling all the way!

David Trushin | 5 March 2013

It's not the battery that is reputed to cause cancer. It's the RF. The battery causes a warm happy feeling as you pass by gas stations that are charging $4 for gas.

dortor | 5 March 2013

@David Trushin - +1

funny how people will believe batteries cause cancer, while sitting in a car texting that is spewing Hydro-carbon by-products into the atmosphere while they idle in traffic…

riceuguy | 5 March 2013

+1. A modern smartphone puts a wifi radio, a cellular radio, a Bluetooth radio, and more within two inches of your brain. I won't say they don't cause cancer, but it sure as heck isn't the battery that's the culprit if they do!!

c.bussert67 | 5 March 2013

Ha good story! Those people have NO IDEA what they're talking about! Glad you put them in their place.
When I get told stupid stuff like that I usually turn it around on their ICE. Like I would've told those folks, "Gee it sure is a good thing you drive a car that doesn't consume or emit anything that causes cancer in any way..." LOL
I had a guy tell me that he thought my S was a dangerous car to drive because the battery could catch on fire. I told him "It's a good thing you drive something much safer that's only powered by GAS."
His reply? "Gas isn't flammable." I just started busting up at that point! He tried to justify it saying that it only burns in the combustion chamber, or something like that. I couldn't hear him very well over my laughter.

Thumper | 5 March 2013

Leadfoot +1

stigcell | 5 March 2013


I can understand why you got smoking mad, but it doesn't sound like it was necessary to insult them... I really don't want Tesla owners to appear high and mighty - snobbish, and from your post it sounds like you may have come off that way. Just because we have an environmentally friendly car doesn't give us the right to be a jerk.

I can remember when the Prius first came out and it seemed that when there was a disagreement on the road the Prius owner had a much higher tendency of offering the middle finger than other car drivers. Of course I have no data to back this up, but it sure felt that way on my daily commute through LA.

Lets not allow this kind of behavior to become synonymous with Tesla owners.

fluxemag | 5 March 2013

+1 riceuguy.

ChristianG | 5 March 2013

Getting information isn't difficult, actually you'll get so many that they'll contradict each other quiet often. It's hard to really know somthing without doing a lot of work yourself. Insulting people seldom opens them up for new information or to change their minds.

mikeadams | 5 March 2013

Although I agree with the original poster and think it is silly to think that the car could give you cancer, I really don't like the choice of subject line. Its similar to the one that said something like 'car sitting at the airport bricking'. Anyone that comes to the forums for the first time is going to see the subject headings and even though there is no actual issue, it may instill unnecessary fear/uncertainty/doubt and I don't believe further response is needed.

TeslaRocks | 5 March 2013

Many young people are like sheep, so that explains why the rest chimed in. In a group, teenagers also tend to lower their IQ to that of the biggest moron present, again to avoid rejection and from fear of standing out. It's sad.

It takes some sort of courage and boldness to drive something different like an EV despite all the doubters around. Only the pioneers can do it now, until it becomes "normal" and it will become shameful to be driving anything else, such as whatever will be new then. Dare to be different, but remain cool and mostly respectful doing it, otherwise the effect is lost.

I agree that the radio frequency was suspected to cause cancer, and not the battery.

sandman | 5 March 2013

Many young people would rather be ignorant than ostracized. It takes a lot of work to be informed. It is a lot easier to take orders from a political party, a professor, talking head on radio/tv or a friend expressing more emotion on a topic you don't care about. It is a problem. Teach your kids to think for themselves and challenge ignorance.

But in their defense(and the reason to be polite) it is difficult to stay informed on ALL topics. I can't do it. Not enough time in the day. Maybe I just suck at life though...

It was the waves not the battery suspected in causing cancer. Leaking cell batteries of the NiCd variety have quite a few health concerns or even older lead batteries that are still in use by ICE cars driven by the same people at that lunch. But that is *leaking* batteries not properly disposed of.

joe12pack | 5 March 2013

I have no idea if sitting on top of a giant battery could give you cancer but I would not rule anything out. There's a lot of foods as an example that are "generally recognized as safe" by the masses but are actually extremely toxic including msg, sodium fluoride, GMO's, and aspartame to name just a few. There's a lot of intelligent people that believe electromagnetic pollution is harmful also. I don't know. But I would have an open mind and research for yourself as you would be amazed by what you don't know.

Just research Building 7 to find out what little you don't know. 47 stories. Not hit by an airplane. Fell in perfect symmetry. Controlled demolition? Looks like it.

shop | 5 March 2013

I've come to realize that people can believe anything. Including many logically contradictory thoughts at the same time. The solace I get from all this is that it takes all kinds for a society to function smoothly. Society would literally fall apart if we were all geniuses.

gianni.terragni | 5 March 2013

we live in a highly technologized world, we have never had before so great scientific knowledge, but there are many people who think the radio as a kind of magic, who believe in creationism. How can we be surprised if seven people confuse the batteries with electromagnetic waves. It's just ignorance and sometimes, but rarely, stupidity. Maybe we have to thank the bad work of our school

David Trushin | 5 March 2013

In the absence of compelling evidence, people rightfully believe conflicting things. It is when conflicting opinions persist in the presence of compelling evidence that I have problems.

And now my brain hurts from this thread and I don't think its from RF.

Roll1ngSt0ne | 5 March 2013

@lov2krz, unfortunately you belong to that same group of people that speak of something they don't know about.

1) Cell phones are now listed as "possible cause of brain cancer" by WHO since June 2011

2) Assuming cell phones DO cause cancer - it is NOT THE BATTERY that can possible be the cause! What is asserted to cause brain cell damage is high frequency microwaves emitted by cell phone antenna.

3) So, when you insulted those uninformed individuals from your high pedestal of knowledge - you yourself missed the whole point of the argument. Batteries and low-frequency EMF emissions of electric motor are 100% safe and are not considered carcinogenic. Cell phone high-frequency antenna in in a completely different category!

EVTripPlanner | 5 March 2013

such silliness...
The proof that [high frequency] RF can cause cancer is lacking, but the experience with hydrocarbons causing cancer is overwhelming! Those concerned individuals, if weighing risk-adjusted behaviors, should definitely buy Teslas!

sshrivas | 5 March 2013

Oh the ignorant few. If they think battery in the phone causes cancer, I wonder if they still carried an iPod/iPod touch in their pockets or keep the laptop on their laps when working. Definitely, little knowledge is dangerous!

David70 | 5 March 2013

Life causes cancer. Anyone who doesn't die for some other reason will get cancer.

prash.saka | 5 March 2013

Thanks ... I needed the laughter. Batteries cause cancer? :)

lph | 5 March 2013

Common sense is not very common. Unfortunately.

noel.smyth | 5 March 2013

probably should not eat the batteries

jbunn | 5 March 2013

Rolling Stone,

The origional poster was primarily addressing the battery topic and is correct. Other agencies such as the FCC, CDC, FDA, and NIEHS, and recent studies fail to replicate some of the earlier work. Jury is still out on the cellphone link, and the accepted methodology is the Null Theory. Unless we can demonstrate a link and reproduce the results, we do not accept the theory that cell phones cause cancer.

Cellphones do emit electromatic radiation, but the photons are not enegertic enough to cause celular damage. Flashlights emit photons too, and don't create cancer. Larger lights like headlights don't cause cancer either, even though they may be closer or brighter. What's important is not the quantity of photons, but their energy. A bigger flashlight has more photons, but they don't add up to higher energy per particle.

"Where do cell phones fall on this spectrum? According to phys­i­­cist Bernard Leikind in a technical article in Skeptic magazine (Vol. 15, No. 4), known carcinogens such as x-rays, gamma rays and UV rays have energies greater than 480 kilojoules per mole (kJ/mole), which is enough to break chemical bonds. Green-light photons hold 240 kJ/mole of energy, which is enough to bend (but not break) the rhodopsin molecules in our retinas that trigger our photosensitive rod cells to fire. A cell phone generates radiation of less than 0.001 kJ/mole. That is 480,000 times weaker than UV rays and 240,000 times weaker than green light!" Michael Shermer, Scientific American. Full article at the jump

Brian H | 5 March 2013

Spark plugs, anyone?

jbunn | 5 March 2013

Very true. They throw off lots of emf.

lov2krz | 5 March 2013

I posted this experience because I do know the difference between EMF and it's hazards as noted by JBUNN above. As I stated in my original post I have read extensively about cell phones and it's links to cancer or no links to cancer.

My point is many people say things they have no basis of understanding and should not speak to thing they know nothing of (congress persons speaking about a womens ability to fight off rape, etc.)

For those of you who thought I was high and mighty thanks for pointing out my errors. Stupid can not be fixed but it can be medicated.

TikiMan | 6 March 2013

Well, I guess if they are correct, that would mean the carbon-monoxide emitted from ICE is perfectly safe. Thus, anyone who believes LI Batteries are unsafe, should have no problem sitting in their closed garage with their ICE running (let them ponder that for a few decades).

GeirT | 6 March 2013

@ jbunn

True - ionizing radiation meaning radiation with enough energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. That is the nasty radiation causing cancer. Low energy radiation as in radio waves or microwaves can cook as it sets molecules in motion, ref. your microwave oven. That is the real issue with cell phones, not the ionizing issue. But I guess frying the brain would be equally nasty as cancer...

Brian H | 6 March 2013

Strawman stuff. Sitting in a closed garage is not the issue. That causes poor combustion. That is not relevant to normal combustion.

danielccc | 6 March 2013

Batteries do cause cancer, I would guess. If you eat them.

We had the RF discussion elsewhere, and I am not going back there. But this battery thing is truly bizarre. I think of the battery as a safety feature. A nice chunk of mass right under the safety cage.

Brian H | 6 March 2013

Batteries use and supply electricity. Electricity is invisible. Invisible things cause cancer. Ergo, ...

The stupid. It hurts.

Vawlkus | 6 March 2013

Sounds like those kids might be related to ol' Jimmy Broder.......

A generation of Jimmy Broders....... now THAT'S gonna give me nightmares -.-

GeirT | 6 March 2013



Darmok | 6 March 2013

@Brian H reminds me of the Burn the Witch scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

GoTeslaChicago | 6 March 2013

Referring back to the original post. It's my experience that only about one person in 10 has either the training or inclination to think logically (critically). Since there were only 8 young people at that table, that explains it!

wrenhour | 18 March 2013

When you read this kind of stuff, it gives you less and less faith in our youth and for the average american. Hard to believe that people are that dumb.

David Trushin | 18 March 2013

Hey wait a minute GoTeslaChicago. There are about 10 different posters to this thread.

Garth | 24 March 2013

I heard CO2 emissions [that come out of tail pipes] cause smog and indirectly asthma, drought which could lead to starvation and mass species extinction... Another scary thing is: large concentrations of CO2 can lead to brain damage (likely what you observed) and even death.

Brian H | 24 March 2013

U.S. Submarines are limited to 8,000 ppm, about 20X current atmospheric levels. Below that, don't worry.

Lastrock625 | 24 March 2013

I have to agree with some of the post above. While you made your point and satisfied your ego. I do not think it helped the bigger picture. Minimally, it did not give them a good impression of Telsa owners.

Think of the impact of patiently and kindly explainkng the facts may have had......

Lastrock625 | 24 March 2013

By the way, many of the comments about the age of the kids are just as unhelpful as the original post. And are not demonstrative of a "higher level" of intellect...

DTsea | 26 March 2013

Did not occur to these folks that the ignition spark system puts out a bunch of unshielded EMF?

DTsea | 26 March 2013

on an ICE car I mean.

olanmills | 26 March 2013

@josh Sometimes we just want to have fun. We have seen this types of ridiculous posts over and over.

@wrenhour yes, I am also very disturbed by people's lack of basic physics and math understanding, and perhaps more disturbed by the attitude that the ignorance should be normal. However, it is not a phenomenon isolated to "the youth". I have had more than one older person ask me if the my car charges itself as it drives and if it has unlimited range. I also know that while it is difficult to truly comprehend the value of numbers even as small as a ten thousand, still it is alarming that many grown adults don't understand the relative differences between numbers like a million, a billion, and a trillion. I don't understand how these people operate, it's like everything is magic and rocket science to them, and we wonder why people don't understand their finances or why American companies can't find enough qualified engineers locally, etc.

Steve_P445 | 28 March 2013

Well then, I guess I should just start smoking in my Model S Performance and drive it as fast as I can until I crash into something since it's giving me cancer anyway.

RonaldA | 28 March 2013

What about hydrocarbons and fumes from gasoline? There are warnings at the gas pump, these are known cancer risks. Not to mention carbon monoxide and other direct toxins in all ICE, and the lubricants needed, heavy metals in emmision systems the list goes on.

Brian H | 28 March 2013

All true, except CO is produced only when the oxygen supply is limited or "stifled" in an enclosed space like a garage, leading to incomplete combustion.

roseland67 | 28 March 2013

What we should all really be concerned about is
That people like this can vote