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

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.

Timo | 25 februari 2013

This is duplicate, so I post duplicate answer.

Lets change this another way of thinking: we know that gasoline fumes and exhaust gases are unhealthy without any doubt.

So you are changing one known health risk to something so small that it haven't even been proven exist. I wouldn't worry about that.

Joshua Burstyn | 25 februari 2013

Many of the studies you may have seen do not take into account socio-economic issues associated with life near power lines. In other words most people of means not only live away from ugly power lines but also eat what are considered to be healthier foods and may take more notice of their level of activity...

Alex K | 25 februari 2013

The NIH study states, "However, some have wondered whether the electric and magnetic fields (EMF) produced through the generation, transmission, and use of electric power [power-frequency EMF, 50 or 60 hertz (Hz)] might adversely affect our health."

The study deals with electric power EMF (50-60Hz). In addition to measuring EMF strength, you also need to measure frequency, unless your EMF meter has a band pass filter for the 50-60hz range. The motor inverter on the Tesla operates at a much higher frequency, so I'm not sure how relevant the NIH study would be.

danielccc | 25 februari 2013


Has Tesla published any EMF values? I have thought along the same lines. This is part of what I perceive as a need for Tesla to publish data with greater detail.

Which brings me to the Tesla Information Paradox.

The Tesla Paradox is that the company appeals greatly to technical-minded technology geeks, the kind who read component datasheets, but does not provide a lot of meaningful specifications.

Let's set aside controversial stuff like EMF. A simple question is weight. Do all the battery variants really weigh the same? One would expect the difference to be substantial, in the order of several hundred pounds. But Tesla publishes a single weight figure.

EMF is like that. Exposure from cell phones is easy to find. It's called SAR and can be found in any cell phone manual. Is there a cancer link? The data is yet inconclusive. But if you are concerned, you can minimize it by your choice of cellphone, use of hands-free devices, and so forth.

It would be nice to have an EMF figure for the Model S, and some benchmarks. Is it more or less than a cell phone? More or less than standing next to a microwave oven? How does it compare to a CRT television? A CRT computer monitor? A blender? An ICE car? If it is 1,000 times these values, would not a bit of shielding be worth considering? If it is 1/1000th these values, wouldn´t the discussion be rendered moot?

Hiding the number isn't going to make it go away. The phone makers resisted SAR, but publishing it did not result in a drop in phone purchases. Most people don't pay attention, and those that do have a better sense of the magnitudes involved.

olanmills | 25 februari 2013

I do not think they should publish this information because it is not a standard practice to prominently publish such information, and it will give people the impression that there is something they should be concerned about, and since they are trying to sell something, it is not in their favor to do this.

There is no authoritive consensus that says you should be concerned about this either, so I don't think Tesla is under any ethical obligation to publish such data, just like when companies sold CRT monitors and TVs, they didn't put some big disclosure about EMF on the box. It can't be hidden anyways, as it's fairly easy to measure. It's not like anyone's trying to hide it.

danielccc | 25 februari 2013

@olanmills, I did not realize Tesla was a "standard practice" company. In fact I thought the point of the company was to be anything but, so that's a surprising argument.

If there were an authoritative consensus, laws and regulations would be in place. Ethical considerations come in precisely when there is no legal standard.

Your argument is exactly that made by cell phone manufacturers before they were obligated to publish SAR figures. Let's make believe this does not exist and it will go away? Why? It turns out that publishing SAR figures had no impact at all on sales of handsets.

By the way, back in the 1950's the big auto makers also refused to do crash testing, or even include seat belts, for the same reason. It's really quite condescending to say that the public should remain in ignorance because it can't handle simple data.

Tiebreaker | 25 februari 2013

There is a lot of plastic insulation in Model S. And other cars. Is the amount of DHEP released in the cabin published?

olanmills | 25 februari 2013

@danielccc I understand what you're saying, but publishing such stuff due to FUD is not in Tesla's interest, imo, and it's not logical for them to do it unless there is either consensus from either authoritative sources, or public (whether they know what they're talking about or not), or if Tesla itself has data that shows it matters.

Cel phones were in a different market position as peopel were already addicted to them and the choice was basically to use them or not. Model S is competing against ICE cars and out of ignorance (I mean that in the most respectable way), many people are leery about the capability of EV (people ask questions like does it have a working HVAC? Charging impractical? Aren't they slow? Or if it goes fast, then it's only good for 50 miles? etc etc) Adding FUD over EMF into that mix is not something Tesla should proactively do, imo.

If there is some definitive study that comes out and says we need to be concerned, then I will change my tune, but in my opinion, the "controversy" over EMF is FUD, just as it is with flouride in the water or vaccines for your kids. Yeah, there are some persistent people and facts being thrown around, but nothing definitive or gathering authorotative consensus.

Brian H | 26 februari 2013

Chasing away small or minute risks is often a case of, "Be careful what you ask for." Handsfree phones emit vastly more EMF through the headphone wires, which make superb antennas. Oops!

danielccc | 26 februari 2013

@Brian H, but a bluetooth headset emits 0.01W, far less than a phone and is not physically connected to the phone. Or there is speaker phone mode where you don't have contact with anything.

I would not call EMF a minute risk. I would call it an unquantified risk at higher than typical home and office energy levels.

@olanmills, on the contrary, if Tesla published the number people would wonder why nobody else does, and trust Tesla more. You fight FUD with data. Didn't Musk just show that principle?

olanmills | 26 februari 2013

Well I disagree. I don't think the generaly public would accept it as you say. People do fight FUD with data, and still there are lots of people who refuse to vaccinate their children, which endangers everyone else, because you can't disprove a negative assertion.

I think there are aliens somewhere in the universe with 14 eyes that can breathe fire and they want to kill me! I will stop being concerned about it when you show me the data!