Minimize radiation from driving

Healthy HouseTM TechTip

Chances are you are getting exposed to a large amount of EMF while driving. Most vehicles emit significant levels themselves. The process of traveling down a road, in and of itself, also increases your exposure from sources external to your vehicle. Cell towers are strategically placed near interstate corridors and populous areas. Power lines also typically follow and cross major roads. There are some simple steps that you can take to find a low-EMF vehicle and reduce your exposure while driving.

Wireless Radiation

First off, many cars produce radio frequency radiation. This wireless radiation is most commonly in the form of Bluetooth radiation. This is the protocol used for "hands-free" communication with your cell phone. Even if you don't use your "hands-free" feature on your car, chances are that it is still emitting radiation.

Some cars, like Fords have a disable option in the menu system to stop Bluetooth radiation. Other car manufacturers like Toyota don’t have a disable option, but they do not radiate when there are no mobile devices are paired with the system. Other manufacturers like some of the General Motors and Chrysler vehicles continuously radiate even when no devices are paired. Some of the more recent General Motors vehicles that have the most recent firmware do not radiate Bluetooth when no devices are paired. If your GM vehicle is radiating, try having an authorized service shop update the firmware.

More and more cars are now equipped with WiFi. General Motors was one of the first car companies to offer in-vehicle WiFi. Currently, it is impossible for a consumer to disable WiFi in their vehicle. Even when calling GM and OnStar to find out how to turn it off, they sound baffled and tell you that if you are not using it, it is off. This is not true. Other car manufacturers like Ford offer a disable button for their in-vehicle WiFi.

Shielding Characteristics

Also test the cars RF-blocking capability by testing wireless radiation outside the car and inside the car. Cars are made of varying amounts of metal, so some cars will perform better than others. Take a reading in the foot region away from the windows to get a better idea of the performance of the car body. You might also consider shielding the windows with EMF-blocking window film to cut down on the radiation coming from the cellular, broadcast towers, and other cars.

Magnetic Fields

Cars produce magnetic fields. The fields can vary greatly. Different trim packages of the same model of car can also vary greatly. As a whole, Fords and Toyotas seem to be the lowest. This is a generalization though based upon testing many vehicles. It is recommended to test individual cars to find one with low magnetic fields.

When testing a car, take magnetic field measurements on each of the seats, foot regions, and head regions. It is also recommended to take measurements with the vehicle off, with the accessory on, with the engine started, and while driving. Cars produce a lot of high-frequency magnetic fields, so it is ideal to have a gaussmeter with a large dynamic range spanning low to high frequencies. It is important to get a baseline with the car off since many car lots are surrounded by powerlines. While driving, you will notice that fields increase as you travel near and under powerlines. The expressway is often a good spot to get decent stretch of road that is away from powerlines. This will allow you to see how much is coming from the car. Work with someone to write down values so you can keep a good eye on the road.

Power seats often create a constant magnetic field on the seat that will deviate the earth's natural magnetic field due to the motor. Heated seats produce high magnetic fields when in use. The foot region is often where you find the strongest magnetic fields. Hybrid cars typically have high magnetic fields. However, hybrids also vary, so it is best to test.

What is a good level to try to achieve when looking for a car? Well, the lowest that I have measured is .15 mG (milliGauss) on the seat and 1-3 mG in the foot region. This was on a Ford F-150 with basic trim level package. There are many other vehicles that come close to this range. There are also many other vehicles that exceed these levels and average 5-10 mG in the seat and 15-100 mG in the foot region. This are in the extreme level of concern range according to Building Biology Standards.

Electric Fields

Avoid cars with 110 volt outlets as they will have higher electric fields which will increase your body voltage.

Cell Phone Use

It is best to avoid cell phone use in a car. The phone typically has to transmit at a higher power density because of the metal in the body of the car. If you do need to talk on the cell phone, make it brief and use an airtube headset with the phone at a distance from your body. But aside from EMF, put your phone down to focus on safe driving.

Many sensitive individuals report feeling less tired and less depleted when driving a low-EMF vehicle.