Friday, February 22, 2019

5G Wireless Technology: Millimeter Wave Health Effects

Nov 14, 2018 (Updated Feb 22, 2019)

The emergence of 5G, fifth-generation telecommunications technology, has been in the news lately because the wireless industry has been pushing controversial legislation at the state and federal level to expedite the deployment of this technology. The legislation would block the rights of local governments and their citizens to control the installation of cellular antennas in the public “right-of-way.” Cell antennas may be installed on public utility poles every 10-20 houses in urban areas. According to the industry, as many as 50,000 new cell sites will be required in California alone and at 800,000 or more new cell sites nationwide.

Although many major cities and newspapers have opposed this legislation, the potential health risks from the proliferation of new cellular antenna sites have been ignored. These cell antennas will expose the population to new sources of radio frequency radiation including millimeter waves.

5G will employ low- (0.6 GHz - 3.7 GHz), mid- (3.7 – 24 GHz), and high-band frequencies (24 GHz and higher). In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has allocated “low-band” spectrum at 0.6 GHz (e.g., 600 MHz), “mid-band” spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range, and 11 GHz of “high-band” frequencies including licensed spectrum from 27.5-28.35 GHz and 37-40 GHz, as well as unlicensed spectrum from 64-71 GHz which is open to all wireless equipment manufacturers.

Prior to widespread deployment, major cell phone carriers are experimenting with new technologies that employ “high-band” frequencies in communities across the country. The “high-band” frequencies largely consist of millimeter waves (MMWs), a type of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths of one to ten millimeters and frequencies ranging from 30 to 300 GHz (or billions of cycles per second). 

The characteristics of MMWs are different than the “low-band” (i.e., microwave) frequencies which are currently in use by the cellular and wireless industries. MMWs can transmit large amounts of data over short distances. The transmissions can be directed into narrow beams that travel by line-of-sight and can move data at high rates (e.g., up to 10 billion bits per second) with short lags (or latencies) between transmissions. The signals are blocked by buildings, and foliage can absorb much of their energy. Also, the waves can be reflected by metallic surfaces. Although antennas can be as small as a few millimeters, “small cell” antenna arrays may consist of dozens or even hundreds of antenna elements.

What does research tell us about the biologic and health effects of millimeter waves?

Millimeter waves (MMWs) are mostly absorbed within 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin and in the surface layers of the cornea. Thus, the skin or near-surface zones of tissues are the primary targets of the radiation. Since skin contains capillaries and nerve endings, MMW bio-effects may be transmitted through molecular mechanisms by the skin or through the nervous system. 

Thermal (or heating) effects occur when the power density of the waves is above 5–10 mW/cm2. Such high-intensity MMWs act on human skin and the cornea in a dose-dependent manner—beginning with heat sensation followed by pain and physical damage at higher exposures. Temperature elevation can impact the growth, morphology and metabolism of cells, induce production of free radicals, and damage DNA.

The maximum permissible exposure that the FCC permits for the general public is 1.0 mW/cm2 averaged over 30 minutes for frequencies that range from 1.5 GHz to 100 GHz. This guideline was adopted in 1996 to protect humans from acute exposure to thermal levels of radiofrequency radiation. However, the guidelines were not designed to protect us from nonthermal risks that may occur with prolonged or long-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation.

With the deployment of fifth generation wireless infrastructure (aka 5G), much of the nation will be exposed to MMWs for the first time on a continuous basis. Due to FCC guidelines, these exposures will likely be of low intensity. Hence, the health consequences of 5G exposure will be limited to non-thermal effects produced by prolonged exposure to MMWs in conjunction with exposure to low- and mid-band radiofrequency radiation.

Unfortunately, few studies have examined prolonged exposure to low-intensity MMWs, and no research that I am aware of has focused on exposure to MMWs combined with other radiofrequency radiation.

Although biologic effects of low-intensity MMWs have been studied for decades, particularly in Eastern Europe, study results are often inconsistent because the effects are related to many factors including the frequency, modulation, power density, and duration of the exposures, as well as the type of tissue or cells being investigated.

Results vary across studies—MMWs have been shown to induce or inhibit cell death and enhance or suppress cell proliferation. Some studies found that the radiation inhibits cell cycle progression, and some studies reported no biologic effects (Le Drean et al., 2013)

A review of the research in 2010 noted that “A large number of cellular studies have indicated that MMW may alter structural and functional properties of membranes.” Exposure to MMWs may affect the plasma membrane either by modifying ion channel activity or by modifying the phospholipid bilayer. Water molecules also seem to play a role in these effects. Skin nerve endings are a likely target of MMWs and the possible starting point of numerous biological effects. MMWs may activate the immune system through stimulation of the peripheral neural system (Ramundo-Orlando, 2010).

In 1998, five scientists employed by U.S. Army and Air Force research institutes published a seminal review of the research on MMWs. They reported:

“Increased sensitivity and even hypersensitivity of individual specimens to MMW may be real. Depending on the exposure characteristics, especially wavelength, a low-intensity MMW radiation was perceived by 30 to 80% of healthy examinees (Lebedeva, 1993, 1995). Some clinical studies reported MMW hypersensitivity, which was or was not limited to a certain wavelength (Golovacheva, 1995).”

“It is important to note that, even with the variety of bioeffects reported, no studies have provided evidence that a low-intensity MMW radiation represents a health hazard for human beings. Actually, none of the reviewed studies with low-intensity MMW even pursued the evaluation of health risks, although in view of numerous bioeffects and growing usage of MMW technologies this research objective seems very reasonable. Such MMW effects as alterations of cell growth rate and UV light sensitivity, biochemical and antibiotic resistivity changes in pathogenic bacteria, as well as many others are of potential significance for safety standards, but even local and short-term exposures were reported to produce marked effects. It should also be realized that biological effects of a prolonged or chronic MMW exposure of the whole body or a large body area have never been investigated. Safety limits for these types of exposures are based solely on predictions of energy deposition and MMW heating, but in view of recent studies this approach is not necessarily adequate.” (Pakhomov et al., 1998)

Microbes are also affected by MMW radiation. In 2016 a review of the research on the effects of MMWs on bacteria was published (Soghomonyan et al., 2016). The authors summarized their findings as follows:

“…bacteria and other cells might communicate with each other by electromagnetic field of sub-extremely high frequency range. These MMW affected Escherichia coli and many other bacteria, mainly depressing their growth and changing properties and activity. These effects were non-thermal and depended on different factors. The significant cellular targets for MMW effects could be water, cell plasma membrane, and genome….The consequences of MMW interaction with bacteria are the changes in their sensitivity to different biologically active chemicals, including antibiotics….These effects are of significance for understanding changed metabolic pathways and distinguish role of bacteria in environment; they might be leading to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”

Changing the sensitivity of bacteria to antibiotics by MMW irradiation can be important for the understanding of antibiotic resistance in the environment. In this respect, it is interesting that bacteria [that] survived near telecommunication-based stations like Bacillus and Clostridium spp. have been found to be multidrug resistant (Adebayo et al. 2014).”  (Soghomonyan et al., 2016)

In sum, the peer-reviewed research demonstrates that short-term exposure to low-intensity millimeter wave (MMW) radiation not only affects human cells, it may result in the growth of multi-drug resistant bacteria harmful to humans. Since little research has been conducted on the health consequences from long-term exposure to MMWs, widespread deployment of 5G or 5th generation wireless infrastructure constitutes a massive experiment that may have adverse impacts on the public’s health.

Early Russian research on millimeter radiation

Russian scientists conducted much of the early research on the effects of exposure to millimeter radiation. The U.S.Central Intelligence Agency collected and translated the published research but did not declassify it until decades later. 

In 1977, N.P. Zalyubovskaya published a study, "Biological effects of millimeter waves," in a Russian-language journal, "Vracheboyne Delo." The CIA declassified this paper in 2012. 

The study examined the effects of exposing mice to millimeter radiation (37-60 GHz; 1 milliwatt per square centimeter) for 15 minutes daily for 60 days. The animal results were compared to a sample of people working with millimeter generators.

Here is a brief summary of the paper:


The paper can be downloaded from

Related Posts

Following are summaries of research reviews of the effects of MMW exposure and a list of recently published studies.

Millimeter Wave Research Reviews
(Updated Aug 9, 2017)

Belyaev IY, Shcheglov VS, Alipov ED, Ushakov VD. Nonthermal effects of extremely high-frequency microwaves on chromatin conformation in cells in vitro—Dependence on physical, physiological, and genetic factors. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. 2000; 48(11):2172-2179.


There is a substantial number of studies showing biological effects of microwaves of extremely high-frequency range [i.e., millimeter waves (MMWs)] at nonthermal intensities, but poor reproducibility was reported in few replication studies. One possible explanation could be the dependence of the MMW effects on some parameters, which were not controlled in replications. The authors studied MMW effects on chromatin conformation in Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells and rat thymocytes. Strong dependence of MMW effects on frequency and polarization was observed at nonthermal power densities. Several other factors were important, such as the genotype of a strain under study, growth stage of the bacterial cultures, and time between exposure to microwaves and recording of the effect. MMW effects were dependent on cell density during exposure. This finding suggested an interaction of microwaves with cell-to-cell communication. Such dependence on several genetic, physiological, and physical variables might be a reason why, in some studies, the authors failed to reproduce the original data of others.

Le Drean Y, Mahamoud YS, Le Page Y, Habauzit D, Le Quement C, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R. State of knowledge on biological effects at 40–60 GHz. Comptes Rendus Physique. 2013; 14(5):402-411.


Millimetre waves correspond to the range of frequencies located between 30 and 300 GHz. Many applications exist and are emerging in this band, including wireless telecommunications, imaging and monitoring systems. In addition, some of these frequencies are used in therapy in Eastern Europe, suggesting that interactions with the human body are possible. This review aims to summarise current knowledge on interactions between millimetre waves and living matter. Several representative examples from the scientific literature are presented. Then, possible mechanisms of interactions between millimetre waves and biological systems are discussed.


Pakhomov AG, Akyel Y, Pakhomova ON, Stuck BE, Murphy MR. Current state and implications of research on biological effects of millimeter waves: a review of the literature. Bioelectromagnetics. 1998; 19(7):393-413.

In recent years, research into biological and medical effects of millimeter waves (MMW) has expanded greatly. This paper analyzes general trends in the area and briefly reviews the most significant publications, proceeding from cell-free systems, dosimetry, and spectroscopy issues through cultured cells and isolated organs to animals and humans. The studies reviewed demonstrate effects of low-intensity MMW (10 mW/cm2 and less) on cell growth and proliferation, activity of enzymes, state of cell genetic apparatus, function of excitable membranes, peripheral receptors, and other biological systems. In animals and humans, local MMW exposure stimulated tissue repair and regeneration, alleviated stress reactions, and facilitated recovery in a wide range of diseases (MMW therapy). Many reported MMW effects could not be readily explained by temperature changes during irradiation. The paper outlines some problems and uncertainties in the MMW research area, identifies tasks for future studies, and discusses possible implications for development of exposure safety criteria and guidelines.

Ramundo-Orlando A. Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane - A brief review. Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves.  2010; 31(12):1400–1411.


The millimeter waves (MMW) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending from 30 to 300 GHz in terms of frequency (corresponding to wavelengths from 10 mm to 1 mm), is officially used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many Eastern European countries against a variety of diseases such gastro duodenal ulcers, cardiovascular disorders, traumatism and tumor. On the other hand, besides technological applications in traffic and military systems, in the near future MMW will also find applications in high resolution and high-speed wireless communication technology. This has led to restoring interest in research on MMW induced biological effects. In this review emphasis has been given to the MMW-induced effects on cell membranes that are considered the major target for the interaction between MMW and biological systems.


Ryan KL, D'Andrea JA, Jauchem JR, Mason PA. Radio frequency radiation of millimeter wave length: potential occupational safety issues relating to surface heating.  Health Phys. 2000; 78(2):170-81.


Currently, technology is being developed that makes use of the millimeter wave (MMW) range (30-300 GHz) of the radio frequency region of the electromagnetic spectrum. As more and more systems come on line and are used in everyday applications, the possibility of inadvertent exposure of personnel to MMWs increases. To date, there has been no published discussion regarding the health effects of MMWs; this review attempts to fill that void. Because of the shallow depth of penetration, the energy and, therefore, heat associated with MMWs will be deposited within the first 1-2 mm of human skin. MMWs have been used in states of the former Soviet Union to provide therapeutic benefit in a number of diverse disease states, including skin disorders, gastric ulcers, heart disease and cancer. Conversely, the possibility exists that hazards might be associated with accidental overexposure to MMWs. This review attempts to critically analyze the likelihood of such acute effects as burn and eye damage, as well as potential long-term effects, including cancer.


Soghomonyan D, Trchounian K, Trchounian A. Millimeter waves or extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields in the environment: what are their effects on bacteria? Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016; 100(11):4761-71. doi: 10.1007/s00253-016-7538-0.


Millimeter waves (MMW) or electromagnetic fields of extremely high frequencies at low intensity is a new environmental factor, the level of which is increased as technology advance. It is of interest that bacteria and other cells might communicate with each other by electromagnetic field of sub-extremely high frequency range. These MMW affected Escherichia coli and many other bacteria, mainly depressing their growth and changing properties and activity. These effects were non-thermal and depended on different factors. The significant cellular targets for MMW effects could be water, cell plasma membrane, and genome. The model for the MMW interaction with bacteria is suggested; a role of the membrane-associated proton FOF1-ATPase, key enzyme of bioenergetic relevance, is proposed. The consequences of MMW interaction with bacteria are the changes in their sensitivity to different biologically active chemicals, including antibiotics. Novel data on MMW effects on bacteria and their sensitivity to different antibiotics are presented and discussed; the combined action of MMW and antibiotics resulted with more strong effects. These effects are of significance for understanding changed metabolic pathways and distinguish role of bacteria in environment; they might be leading to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The effects might have applications in the development of technique, therapeutic practices, and food protection technology.


Torgomyan H, Trchounian A. Bactericidal effects of low-intensity extremely high frequency electromagnetic field: an overview with phenomenon, mechanisms, targets and consequences. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2013; 39(1):102-11.


Low-intensity electromagnetic field (EMF) of extremely high frequencies is a widespread environmental factor. This field is used in telecommunication systems, therapeutic practices and food protection. Particularly, in medicine and food industries EMF is used for its bactericidal effects. The significant targets of cellular mechanisms for EMF effects at resonant frequencies in bacteria could be water (H2O), cell membrane and genome. The changes in H2O cluster structure and properties might be leading to increase of chemical activity or hydration of proteins and other cellular structures. These effects are likely to be specific and long-term. Moreover, cell membrane with its surface characteristics, substance transport and energy-conversing processes is also altered. Then, the genome is affected because the conformational changes in DNA and the transition of bacterial pro-phages from lysogenic to lytic state have been detected. The consequences for EMF interaction with bacteria are the changes in their sensitivity to different chemicals, including antibiotics. These effects are important to understand distinguishing role of bacteria in environment, leading to changed metabolic pathways in bacteria and their antibiotic resistance. This EMF may also affect the cell-to-cell interactions in bacterial populations, since bacteria might interact with each other through EMF of sub-extremely high frequency range.

Recent Millimeter Wave Studies
(Updated: November 29, 2018)

Bantysh BB, Krylov AY, Subbotina TI, Khadartsev AA, Ivanov DV, Yashin AA. Peculiar effects of electromagnetic millimeter waves on tumor development in BALB/c mice. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2018 Sep;165(5):692-694.

Foster KR, Ziskin MC, Balzano Q. Thermal response of human skin to microwave energy: A critical review. Health Phys. 2016; 111(6):528-541. (Note: This work was sponsored by the Mobile Manufacturers Forum. The authors state that MMF had no control over the contents.)

Gandhi OP, Riazi A. Absorption of millimeter waves by human beings and its biological implications. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. MTT-34(2):228-235. 1986.

Haas AJ, Le Page Y, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R, Le Dréan Y. Effects of 60-GHz millimeter waves on neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells using high-content screening. Neurosci Lett. 2016 Apr 8;618:58-65.

Haas AJ, Le Page Y, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R, Dréan YL, Saligaut C. Effect of acute millimeter wave exposure on dopamine metabolism of NGF-treated PC12 cells. J Radiat Res. 2017 Feb 24:1-7.

Hovnanyan K, Kalantaryan V, Trchounian A. The distinguishing effects of low intensity electromagnetic radiation of different extremely high frequences on Enterococcus hirae: growth rate inhibition and scanning electron microscopy analysis. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2017.

Koyama S, Narita E, Shimizu Y, Suzuki Y, Shiina T, Taki M, Shinohara N, Miyakoshi J. Effects of long-term exposure to 60 GHz millimeter-wavelength radiation on the genotoxicity and heat shock protein (Hsp) expression of cells derived from human eye. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Aug 8;13(8). pii: E802.

Sivachenko IB, Medvedev DS, Molodtsova ID, Panteleev SS, Sokolov AY, Lyubashina OA. Effects of millimeter-wave electromagnetic radiation on the experimental model of migraine. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2016 Feb;160(4):425-8. doi: 10.1007/s10517-016-3187-7.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Hybrid & Electric Cars: Electromagnetic Radiation Risks

Hybrid and electric cars may be cancer-causing as they emit extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF). Recent studies of the EMF emitted by these automobiles have claimed either that they pose a cancer risk for the vehicles' occupants or that they are safe.

Unfortunately, much of the research conducted on this issue has been industry-funded by companies with vested interests on one side of the issue or the other which makes it difficult to know which studies are trustworthy. 

Meanwhile, numerous peer-reviewed laboratory studies conducted over several decades have found biologic effects from limited exposures to ELF EMF. These studies suggest that the EMF guidelines established by the self-appointed, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) are inadequate to protect our health. Based upon the research, more than 230 EMF experts have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal which calls on the World Health Organization to establish stronger guidelines for ELF and radio frequency EMF. Thus, even if EMF measurements comply with the ICNIRP guidelines, occupants of hybrid and electric cars may still be at increased risk for cancer and other health problems. 

Given that magnetic fields have been considered "possibly carcinogenic" in humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization since 2001, the precautionary principle dictates that we should design consumer products to minimize consumers’ exposure to ELF EMF. This especially applies to hybrid and electric automobiles as drivers and passengers spend considerable amounts of time in these vehicles, and health risks increase with the duration of exposure.

In January, 2014, SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia, proposed manufacturing design guidelines that could reduce the magnetic fields in electric vehicles (see below).  All automobile manufacturers should follow these guidelines to ensure their customers' safety. 

The public should demand that governments adequately fund high-quality research on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation that is independent of industry to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. In the U.S., a major national research and education initiative could be funded with as little as a 5 cents a month fee on mobile phone subscribers.

Following are summaries and links to recent studies and news articles on this topic. 


Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles

Lin J, Lu M, Wu T, Yang L, Wu TN. Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 182(2):190-199. Dec 2018.


In the electric vehicles (EVs), children can sit on a safety seat installed in the rear seats. Owing to their smaller physical dimensions, their heads, generally, are closer to the underfloor electrical systems where the magnetic field (MF) exposure is the greatest. In this study, the magnetic flux density (B) was measured in the rear seats of 10 different EVs, for different driving sessions. We used the measurement results from different heights corresponding to the locations of the heads of an adult and an infant to calculate the induced electric field (E-field) strength using anatomical human models. The results revealed that measured B fields in the rear seats were far below the reference levels by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Although small children may be exposed to higher MF strength, induced E-field strengths were much lower than that of adults due to their particular physical dimensions.


Radiofrequencies in cars: A public health threat

According to Theodore P. Metsis, Ph.D., an electrical, mechanical, and environmental engineer from Athens, Greece, modern conventional gas- and diesel-powered automobiles incorporate many EMF-emitting devices.
"EMFs in a car in motion with brakes applied + ABS activation may well exceed 100 mG. Adding RF radiation from blue tooth, Wi Fi, the cell phones of the passengers, the 4G antennas laid out all along the major roads plus the radars of cars already equipped with, located behind, left or right of a vehicle, the total EMF and EMR fields will exceed any limits humans can tolerate over a long period of time."

PDF of Dr. Metsis' graphics (2 pages):


Mobile Phone Antenna’s EM Exposure Study on a Human Model Inside the Car

Nozadze T, Jeladze V, Tabatadze V, Petoev I, Zaidze R. Mobile phone antenna’s EM exposure study on a homogeneous human model inside the car. 2018 XXIIIrd International Seminar/Workshop on Direct and Inverse Problems of Electromagnetic and Acoustic Wave Theory (DIPED). Tlibisi, Georgia. Sep 24-27, 2019. DOI:  10.1109/DIPED.2018.8543310


Mobile phones’ radiation influence on a homogenous human model located inside a car is studied in this research. One of the novelty of proposed research is earth surface influence consideration under the car on EM field formation inside it. The inner field and its amplification by the car’s walls that in some cases act like a resonator are studied. The problem was solved numerically using the Method of Auxiliary Sources. Numerical simulations were carried out at the 450, 900, 1800 [MHz] standard communication frequencies. Obtained results showed the presence of resonant phenomena inside the car.


On Fig. 9 are presented point SAR peak values at the considered non-resonant and resonant frequencies. As it seen, point SAR peak values for resonant frequencies are approximately 5–8 times higher than non-resonant frequencies.

Based on the analysis of the obtained results we can conclude that at some frequencies car’s walls acts as the resonator and amplifies the field radiated from the mobile phones; which is cause of high point SAR values inside the human body. For the low frequency the EM field energy deeply penetrates into the human body, while for the high frequencies is mostly absorbed in the skin.


The mobile phone’s EM exposure problem for a homogenous human model inside the car is studied using the MAS. MAS were used to simulate earth reflective surface. The obtained results, conducted with the MAS based program package, showed the presence of resonance and reactive fields inside the car, that causes high SAR in human tissues. The reason of this is that at the considered frequencies car’s metallic surface acts as the resonator. So, it isn’t desirable speak on phones for a long time inside the car, that can be hazardous for the cell phone users located in it.


Electric cars and EMI with cardiac implantable electronic devices: A cross-sectional evaluation

Lennerz C, O'Connor M, Horlbeck L, Michel J, Weigand S, Grebmer C, Blazek P, Brkic A, Semmler V, Haller B, Reents T, Hessling G, Deisenhofer I, Whittaker P, Lienkamp M, Kolb C. Letter: Electric cars and electromagnetic interference with cardiac implantable electronic devices: A cross-sectional evaluation. Annals of Internal Medicine. Apr 24, 2018.

No Abstract
Cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are considered standard care for bradycardia, tachycardia, and heart failure. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can disrupt normal function … Electric cars represent a potential source of EMI. However, data are insufficient to determine their safety or whether their use should be restricted in patients with CIEDs.
Objective: To assess whether electric cars cause EMI and subsequent CIED dysfunction.
Methods and Findings: We approached 150 consecutive patients with CIEDs seen in our electrophysiology clinic … 40 patients declined to participate, and 2 withdrew consent … Participants were assigned to 1 of 4 electric cars with the largest European market share…we excluded hybrid vehicles.
Participants sat in the front seat while cars ran on a roller test bench … Participants then charged the same car in which they had sat. Finally, investigators drove the cars on public roads.
Field strength was generally highest during charging (30.1 to 116.5 µT) and increased as the charging current increased. Exposure during charging was at least an order of magnitude greater than that measured within 5 cm of the CIED in the front seat (2.0 to 3.6 µT). Field strength did not differ between the front and back seats. Peak field strength measured outside the cars ranged between the values measured during charging and those measured within the cars during testing … Field strength measured inside the cars during road driving was similar to that measured during test bench studies.
We found no evidence of EMI with CIEDs ...The electrocardiographic recorder did observe EMI, but CIED function and programming were unaffected.
Our sample was too small to detect rare events ... Nevertheless, other evidence supports a lack of EMI with CIEDs. Magnetic fields are generated in gasoline-powered vehicles if the vehicles' steel-belted tires are magnetized (3); average fields of approximately 20 µT were reported in the back seat of 12 models, and those as high as 97 µT were reported close to the tires (4). Similar values were reported in electric trains and trams (5). The lack of anecdotal reports of CIED malfunction associated with such transportation is consistent with our findings.
Electric cars seem safe for patients with CIEDs, and restrictions do not appear to be required. However, we recommend vigilance to monitor for rare events, especially those associated with charging and proposed “supercharging” technology.


Evaluating ELF magnetic fields in the rear seats of electric vehicles

Lin J, Lu M, Wu T, Yang L, Wu T. Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2018 Mar 23. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncy048.

In the electric vehicles (EVs), children can sit on a safety seat installed in the rear seats. Owing to their smaller physical dimensions, their heads, generally, are closer to the underfloor electrical systems where the magnetic field (MF) exposure is the greatest. In this study, the magnetic flux density (B) was measured in the rear seats of 10 different EVs, for different driving sessions. We used the measurement results from different heights corresponding to the locations of the heads of an adult and an infant to calculate the induced electric field (E-field) strength using anatomical human models. The results revealed that measured B fields in the rear seats were far below the reference levels by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Although small children may be exposed to higher MF strength, induced E-field strengths were much lower than that of adults due to their particular physical dimensions. 
Small children and infants sitting in a safety seat at the rear part of the vehicle is a common occurrence. Children have smaller physical dimensions and, thus, their heads are generally much closer to the car floor, where the MF strength has been reported to be higher due to tire magnetization and the operation of the underfloor electrical systems (6, 7). The matter of children being potentially subject to greater magnetic field exposure may be relevant as leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer (8). In particular, Ahlbom et al. (9) and Greenland et al. (10) indicated that the exposure to 50 and 60 Hz MF exceeding 0.3–0.4 μT may result in an increased risk for childhood leukemia although a satisfactory causal relationship has not yet been reliably demonstrated. Also, it was reported that a combination of weak, steady and alternating MF could modify the radical concentration, which had the potential to lead to biologically significant changes (11).
... the B field values measured at location #4 (floor in from of rear seat) were the highest, followed by values from location #3 (rear seat cushion), #2 (child’s head position) and #1 (adult’s head position) (p < 0.012, α = 0.05/3 = 0.017). There was a significant difference between the driving scenarios (F(3, 117) = 3.72, p = 0.013). The acceleration and deceleration scenarios generated higher B fields compared with the stationary and the 40 km/h driving scenarios (p < 0.01, α = 0.05/3 = 0.017) while no difference was identified between acceleration and deceleration (p = 0.16).
... The results demonstrate that the induced E-field strength was lower for the infant model compared with that of the adult in terms of both the head and body as a whole.
The infant was reported to have higher electrical conductivity (29) but there was no database dedicated to the infant. Furthermore, below 1 MHz, the database was hard to be measured and the uncertainty was large (30). Therefore, we would not include the issue in the study.

Although several SCs (spectral components) on higher frequencies have been observed (can spread to 1.24 kHz), the spectral analysis revealed that the SCs concentrated on bands below 1000 Hz. The EVs under test used aluminum alloy wheel rims, which have low magnetic permeability. However, the steel wire in the reinforcing belts of radial tires pick up magnetic fields from the terrestrial MF. When the tires spin, the magnetized steel wire in the reinforcing belts generates ELF MF usually below 20 Hz, that can exceed 2.0 μT at seat level in the passenger compartment (6). The measurement did not identify the ELF MF by different sources because the purpose of the study was to investigate the realistic exposure scenario for the occupants. To note, degaussing the tires or using the fiberglass belted tires can eliminate this effect and provide the MF results solely introduced by the operation of the electrified system.

ICNIRP proposed guidelines to evaluate the compliance of the non-sinusoidal signal exposure(3). The measurements rendered the maximal B field at the level of one-tenth to several μT, far below the reference level of the guidelines (e.g. 200 μT for 20–400 Hz). The similar non-sinusoidal MF signal magnitudes can only account for 6–10% of the reference levels according to the previous reports(32). However, as noted in the Introduction, ‘… 50 and 60 Hz MF exceeding 0.3–0.4 μT may result in an increased risk for childhood leukemia’. Therefore, it is necessary to measure the MF in the EVs to limit the exposure and for the purpose of epidemiological studies.
In this study, we measured ELF MF in the rear seats of ten types of EVs. The measurements were performed for four different driving scenarios. The measurement results were analyzed to determine the worst-case scenario and those values were used for simulations. We made numerical simulations to compare the induced E-field strength due to the physical difference between children and adults using detailed anatomical models. The results support the contention that the MF in the EVs that we tested was far below the reference levels of the ICNIRP guidelines. Furthermore, our findings show that children would not be more highly exposed compared to adults when taking into consideration of their physical differences. However, the measurement results indicated that further studies should be performed to elucidate the concerns on the incidence of the childhood leukemia for infant and child occupants.

Evaluation of electromagnetic exposure during 85 kHz wireless power transfer for electric vehicles

SangWook Park. Evaluation of Electromagnetic Exposure During 85 kHz Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. Volume: PP, Issue: 99. Sep 1, 2017. 10.1109/TMAG.2017.2748498

The external fields in the proximity of electric vehicle (EV) wireless power transfer (WPT) systems requiring high power may exceed the limits of international safety guidelines. This study presents dosimetric results of an 85 kHz WPT system for electric vehicles. A WPT system for charging EVs is designed and dosimetry for the system is evaluated for various exposure scenarios: a human body in front of the WPT system without shielding, with shielding, with alignment and misalignment between transmitter and receiver, and with a metal plate on the system for vehicle mimic floor pan. The minimum accessible distances in compliance are investigated for various transmitting powers. The maximum allowable transmitting power are also investigated with the limits of international safety guidelines and the dosimetric results.

Electric and magnetic fields <100 KHz in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles

Tell RA, Kavet R. Electric and magnetic fields <100 KHz in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2016 Dec;172(4):541-546.
Measurements were conducted to investigate electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) from 120 Hz to 10 kHz and 1.2 to 100 kHz in 9 electric or hybrid vehicles and 4 gasoline vehicles, all while being driven. The range of fields in the electric vehicles enclosed the range observed in the gasoline vehicles. Mean magnetic fields ranged from nominally 0.6 to 3.5 µT for electric/hybrids depending on the measurement band compared with nominally 0.4 to 0.6 µT for gasoline vehicles. Mean values of electric fields ranged from nominally 2 to 3 V m-1 for electric/hybrid vehicles depending on the band, compared with 0.9 to 3 V m-1 for gasoline vehicles. In all cases, the fields were well within published exposure limits for the general population. The measurements were performed with Narda model EHP-50C/EHP-50D EMF analysers that revealed the presence of spurious signals in the EHP-50C unit, which were resolved with the EHP-50D model.

Passenger exposure to magnetic fields due to the batteries of an electric vehicle

Pablo Moreno-Torres Concha; Pablo Velez; Marcos Lafoz; Jaime R. Arribas. Passenger Exposure to Magnetic Fields due to the Batteries of an Electric Vehicle. IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. 65(6):4564-4571. Jun 2016.
In electric vehicles, passengers sit very close to an electric system of significant power. The high currents achieved in these vehicles mean that the passengers could be exposed to significant magnetic fields (MFs). One of the electric devices present in the power train are the batteries. In this paper, a methodology to evaluate the MF created by these batteries is presented. First, the MF generated by a single battery is analyzed using finite-elements simulations. Results are compared with laboratory measurements, which are taken from a real battery, to validate the model. After this, the MF created by a complete battery pack is estimated, and results are discussed.
Passengers inside an EV could be exposed to MFs of considerable strength when compared with conventional vehicles or to other daily exposures (at home, in the office, in the street, etc.). In this paper, the MF created by the batteries of a particular electric car is evaluated from the human health point of view by means of finite-elements simulations, measurements, and a simple analytical approximation, obtaining an upper bound for the estimated MF generated by a given battery pack. These results have been compared with ICNIRP's recommendations concerning exposure limitation to low-frequency MFs, finding that the field generated by this particular battery pack should be below ICNIRP's field reference levels, and conclusions concerning the influence of the switching frequency have been drawn. Finally, some discussion regarding other field sources within the vehicle and different vehicles designs has been presented. Due to the wide variety of both available EVs and battery stacks configurations, it is recommended that each vehicle model should be individually assessed regarding MF exposure.


Magnetic field exposure assessment in electric vehicles

Vassilev A et al. Magnetic Field Exposure Assessment in Electric Vehicles. IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 57(1):35-43. Feb 2015.
This article describes a study of magnetic field exposure in electric vehicles (EVs). The magnetic field inside eight different EVs (including battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell types) with different motor technologies (brushed direct current, permanent magnet synchronous, and induction) were measured at frequencies up to 10 MHz. Three vehicles with conventional powertrains were also investigated for comparison. The measurement protocol and the results of the measurement campaign are described, and various magnetic field sources are identified. As the measurements show a complex broadband frequency spectrum, an exposure calculation was performed using the ICNIRP “weighted peak” approach. Results for the measured EVs showed that the exposure reached 20% of the ICNIRP 2010 reference levels for general public exposure near to the battery and in the vicinity of the feet during vehicle start-up, but was less than 2% at head height for the front passenger position. Maximum exposures of the order of 10% of the ICNIRP 2010 reference levels were obtained for the cars with conventional powertrains.

Characterization of ELF magnetic fields from diesel, gasoline and hybrid cars under controlled conditions

Hareuveny R, Sudan M, Halgamuge MN, Yaffe Y, Tzabari Y, Namir D, Kheifets L. Characterization of Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields from Diesel, Gasoline and Hybrid Cars under Controlled Conditions. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 30;12(2):1651-1666.

This study characterizes extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field (MF) levels in 10 car models.
Extensive measurements were conducted in three diesel, four gasoline, and three hybrid cars, under similar controlled conditions and negligible background fields.

Averaged over all four seats under various driving scenarios the fields were lowest in diesel cars (0.02 μT), higher for gasoline (0.04-0.05 μT) and highest in hybrids (0.06-0.09 μT), but all were in-line with daily exposures from other sources. Hybrid cars had the highest mean and 95th percentile MF levels, and an especially large percentage of measurements above 0.2 μT. These parameters were also higher for moving conditions compared to standing while idling or revving at 2500 RPM and higher still at 80 km/h compared to 40 km/h. Fields in non-hybrid cars were higher at the front seats, while in hybrid cars they were higher at the back seats, particularly the back right seat where 16%-69% of measurements were greater than 0.2 μT.

As our results do not include low frequency fields (below 30 Hz) that might be generated by tire rotation, we suggest that net currents flowing through the cars' metallic chassis may be a possible source of MF. Larger surveys in standardized and well-described settings should be conducted with different types of vehicles and with spectral analysis of fields including lower frequencies due to magnetization of tires.
Previous work suggests that major sources of MF in cars include the tires and electric currents [4,5]. The level of MF exposure depends on the position within the vehicle (e.g., proximity to the MF sources) and can vary with different operating conditions, as changes to engine load can induce MFs through changes in electric currents. Scientific investigations of the levels of MF in cars are sparse: only one study evaluated fields only in non-hybrid cars [6], two studies of hybrid cars have been carried out [4,7], and few studies have systematically compared exposures in both hybrid and non-hybrid cars [8,9,10,11,12], some based on a very small number of cars 
In hybrid cars, the battery is generally located in the rear of the car and the engine is located in the front. Electric current flows between these two points through cables that run underneath the passenger cabin of the car. This cable is located on the left for right-hand driving cars and on the right for left-hand driving cars. Although in principle the system uses direct current (DC), current from the alternator that is not fully rectified as well as changes to the engine load, and therefore the current level, can produce MFs which are most likely in the ELF range. While most non-hybrid cars have batteries that are located in the front, batteries in some of them are located in the rear of the car, with cables running to the front of the car for the electrical appliances on the dashboard. In this study, all gasoline and diesel cars had batteries located in the front of the car.
...the percent of time above 0.2 µT was the most sensitive parameter of the exposure. Overall, the diesel cars measured in this study had the lowest MF readings (geometric mean less than 0.02 μT), while the hybrid cars had the highest MF readings (geometric mean 0.05 μT). Hybrid cars had also the most unstable results, even after excluding outliers beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles. With regard to seat position, after adjusting for the specific car model, gasoline and diesel cars produced higher average MF readings in the front seats, while hybrid cars produced the highest MF readings in the back right seat (presumably due to the location of the battery). Comparing the different operating conditions, the highest average fields were found at 80 km/h, and the differences between operating conditions were most pronounced in the back right seat in hybrid cars. Whether during typical city or highway driving, we found lowest average fields for diesel cars and highest fields for hybrid cars.
Previous works suggest that the magnetization of rotating tires is the primary source of ELF MFs in non-hybrid cars [5,15]. However, the relatively strong fields (on the order of a few μT within the car) originating from the rotating tires are typically at 5–15 Hz frequencies, which are filtered by the EMDEX II meters. ....
Overall, the average MF levels measured in the cars’ seats were in the range of 0.04–0.09 μT (AM) and 0.02–0.05 μT (GM). These fields are well below the ICNIRP [17] guidelines for maximum general public exposure (which range from 200 μT for 40 Hz to 100 μT for 800 Hz), but given the complex environments in the cars, simultaneous exposure to non-sinusoidal fields at multiple frequencies must be carefully taken into account. Nevertheless, exposures in the cars are in the range of every day exposure from other sources. Moreover, given the short amount of time that most adults and children spend in cars (about 30 minutes per day based on a survey of children in Israel (unpublished data), the relative contribution of this source to the ELF exposure of the general public is small. However, these fields are in addition to other exposure sources. Our results might explain trends seen in other daily exposures: slightly higher average fields observed while travelling (GM = 0.096 μT) relative to in bed (GM = 0.052 μT) and home not in bed (GM = 0.080 μT) [1]. Similarly, the survey of children in Israel found higher exposure from transportation (GM = 0.092 µT) compared to mean daily exposures (GM = 0.059 µT). Occupationally, the GM of time-weighted average for motor vehicle drivers is 0.12 μT [18].
Open access paper:

Design guidelines to reduce the magnetic field in electric vehicles

SINTEF, Jan 6, 2014

Based on the measurements and on extensive simulation work the project arrived on the following design guidelines to, if necessary, minimize the magnetic field in electric vehicles.

  • For any DC cable carrying significant amount of current, it should be made in the form of a twisted pair so that the currents in the pair always flow in the opposite directions. This will minimise its EMF emission.
  • For three-phase AC cables, three wires should be twisted and made as close as possible so as to minimise its EMF emission.
  • All power cables should be positioned as far away as possible from the passenger seat area, and their layout should not form a loop. If cable distance is less than 200mm away from the passenger seats, some forms of shielding should be adopted.
  • A thin layer of ferromagnetic shield is recommended as this is cost-effective solution for the reduction of EMF emission as well EMI emission.
  • Where possible, power cables should be laid such a way that they are separated from the passenger seat area by a steel sheet, e.g., under a steel metallic chassis, or inside a steel trunk.
  • Where possible, the motor should be installed farther away from the passenger seat area, and its rotation axis should not point to the seat region.
  • If weight permits, the motor housing should be made of steel, rather than aluminium, as the former has a much better shielding effect.
  • If the distance of the motor and passenger seat area is less than 500mm, some forms of shielding should be employed. For example, a steel plate could be placed between the motor and the passenger seat region
  • Motor housing should be electrically well connected to the vehicle metallic chassis to minimise any electrical potential.
  • Inverter and motor should be mounted as close as possible to each other to minimise the cable length between the two.
  • Since batteries are distributed, the currents in the batteries and in the interconnectors may become a significant source for EMF emission, they should be place as far away as possible from the passenger seat areas. If the distance between the battery and passenger seat area is less than 200mm, steel shields should be used to separate the batteries and the seating area.
  • The cables connecting battery cells should not form a loop, and where possible, the interconnectors for the positive polarity should be as close as possible to those of the negative polarity.


Magnetic fields in electric cars won't kill you

Jeremy Hsu, IEEE Spectrum, May 5, 2014
“The study, led by SINTEF, an independent research organization headquartered in Trondheim, Norway, measured the electromagnetic radiation—in the lab and during road tests—of seven different electric cars, one hydrogen-powered car, two gasoline-fueled cars and one diesel-fueled car. Results from all conditions showed that the exposure was less than 20 percent of the limit recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).”
“Measurements taken inside the vehicles—using a test dummy with sensors located in the head, chest and feet—showed exposure at less than 2 percent of the non-ionizing radiation limit at head-height. The highest electromagnetic field readings—still less than 20 percent of the limit—were found near the floor of the electric cars, close to the battery. Sensors picked up a burst of radiation that same level, when the cars were started.”

ELF magnetic fields in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles

Tell RA, Sias G, Smith J, Sahl J, Kavet R. ELF magnetic fields in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles. Bioelectromagnetics. 2013 Feb;34(2):156-61. doi: 10.1002/bem.21730.

We conducted a pilot study to assess magnetic field levels in electric compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, and established a methodology that would provide valid data for further assessments. The sample consisted of 14 vehicles, all manufactured between January 2000 and April 2009; 6 were gasoline-powered vehicles and 8 were electric vehicles of various types. Of the eight models available, three were represented by a gasoline-powered vehicle and at least one electric vehicle, enabling intra-model comparisons. Vehicles were driven over a 16.3 km test route. Each vehicle was equipped with six EMDEX Lite broadband meters with a 40-1,000 Hz bandwidth programmed to sample every 4 s. Standard statistical testing was based on the fact that the autocorrelation statistic damped quickly with time. For seven electric cars, the geometric mean (GM) of all measurements (N = 18,318) was 0.095 µT with a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 2.66, compared to 0.051 µT (N = 9,301; GSD = 2.11) for four gasoline-powered cars (P < 0.0001). Using the data from a previous exposure assessment of residential exposure in eight geographic regions in the United States as a basis for comparison (N = 218), the broadband magnetic fields in electric vehicles covered the same range as personal exposure levels recorded in that study. All fields measured in all vehicles were much less than the exposure limits published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Future studies should include larger sample sizes representative of a greater cross-section of electric-type vehicles.

Mythbuster: EMF levels in hybrids

Consumer Reports News: August 4, 2010


“Some concern has been raised about the possible health effects of electromagnetic field radiation, known as EMF, for people who drive in hybrid cars. While all electrical devices, from table lamps to copy machines, emit EMF radiation, the fear is that hybrid cars, with their big batteries and powerful electric motors, can subject occupants to unhealthy doses. The problem is that there is no established threshold standard that says what an unhealthy dose might be, and no concrete, scientific proof that the sort of EMF produced by electric motors harms people

“We found the highest EMF levels in the Chevrolet Cobalt, a conventional non-hybrid small sedan.”

[The peak EMF readings at the driver’s feet ranged from 0.5 mG (milligauss) in the 2008 Toyota Highlander to 30 mG in the Chevrolet Cobalt. The hybrids tested at 2-4 mG. Here are some highlights from the tests. EMF readings were highest in the driver’s foot well and second-highest at the waist, much lower higher up, where human organs might be more susceptible to EMF.

“To get a sense of scale, though, note that users of personal computers are subject to EMF exposure in the range of 2 to 20 mG, electric blankets 5 to 30 mG, and a hair dryer 10 to 70 mG, according to an Australian government compilation. In this country, several states limit EMF emissions from power lines to 200 mG. However, there are no U.S. standards specifically governing EMF in cars.”

“In this series of tests, we found no evidence that hybrids expose drivers to significantly more EMF than do conventional cars. Consider this myth, busted.”


Israel preps world’s first hybrid car radiation scale

Tal Bronfer, the truth about cars, March 1, 2010

“The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) recommends a limit of 1,000 mG (milligauss) for a 24 hour exposure period. While other guidelines pose similar limits, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deemed extended exposure to electromagnetic fields stronger than 2 mG to be a “possible cause” for cancer. Israel’s Ministry of Health recommends a maximum of 4 mG.”
“Last year, Israeli automotive website Walla! Cars conducted a series of tests on the previous generation Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid, and recorded radiation figures of up to 100 mG during acceleration. Measurements also peaked when the batteries were either full (and in use) or empty (and being charged from the engine), while normal driving at constant speeds yielded 14 to 30 mG on the Prius, depending on the area of the cabin.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is expected to publish the results of the study this week. The study will group hybrids sold in Israel into three different radiation groups, reports Israel’s Calcalist. It’s expected that the current-gen Prius will be deemed ‘safe’, while the Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid (as well as the prev-gen Prius) will be listed as emitting ‘excessive’ radiation.”


Fear, but few facts, on hybrid risk

Jim Motavalli, New York Times, Apr 27, 2008

“... concern is not without merit; agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute acknowledge the potential hazards of long-term exposure to a strong electromagnetic field, or E.M.F., and have done studies on the association of cancer risks with living near high-voltage utility lines.

While Americans live with E.M.F.’s all around — produced by everything from cellphones to electric blankets — there is no broad agreement over what level of exposure constitutes a health hazard, and there is no federal standard that sets allowable exposure levels. Government safety tests do not measure the strength of the fields in vehicles — though Honda and Toyota, the dominant hybrid makers, say their internal checks assure that their cars pose no added risk to occupants.”

“A spokesman for Honda, Chris Martin, points to the lack of a federally mandated standard for E.M.F.’s in cars. Despite this, he said, Honda takes the matter seriously. “All our tests had results that were well below the commission’s standard,” Mr. Martin said, referring to the European guidelines. And he cautions about the use of hand-held test equipment. “People have a valid concern, but they’re measuring radiation using the wrong devices,” he said.”
“Donald B. Karner, president of Electric Transportation Applications in Phoenix, who tested E.M.F. levels in battery-electric cars for the Energy Department in the 1990s, said it was hard to evaluate readings without knowing how the testing was done. He also said it was a problem to determine a danger level for low-frequency radiation, in part because dosage is determined not only by proximity to the source, but by duration of exposure. “We’re exposed to radio waves from the time we’re born, but there’s a general belief that there’s so little energy in them that they’re not dangerous,” he said.”