Why Is the Enviro-Left Silent on Electric Car Health Hazards?

Once again, Government Motors has had to cut down on production of its Chevrolet Volt. GM is suspending production for four weeks, the second downward adjustment of Volt production this year. This time the union-owned, government-controlled car company tries to deny that the month-long shutdown has anything to do with tepid demand for the Volt. But at the same time it is well known that Government Motors has used taxpayers’ money to boost its sales numbers – private market demand is low, which might have something to do with the fact that the Volt costs 50 percent more than a Toyota Prius, even after the federal $7,500 rebate, yet is smaller, has shorter range and lacks the quality reputation of a Toyota.

Since the federal government is pouring tons of taxpayers’ money into both Government Motors and the Volt, the lack of private-buyer interest is only for the better. There is no environmental need for electric cars, they demand a significant expansion of our power production – and they come with health hazards that the green left has been conspicuously silent about.

The health hazards are rarely discussed in the American press, but there was one in the New York Times back in 2008. Since Obama became president and decided that Government Motors was going to pour an inordinate amount of money into the Chevy Volt, silence has taken over.

Here is what the New York Times wrote back in ’08:

Almost without exception, scientists and policy makers agree that hybrid vehicles are good for the planet. To a small but insistent group of skeptics, however, there is another, more immediate question: Are hybrids healthy for drivers? There is a legitimate scientific reason for raising the issue. The flow of electrical current to the motor that moves a hybrid vehicle at low speeds (and assists the gasoline engine on the highway) produces magnetic fields, which some studies have associated with serious health matters, including a possible risk of leukemia among children. With the batteries and power cables in hybrids often placed close to the driver and passengers, some exposure to electromagnetic fields is unavoidable. Moreover, the exposure will be prolonged — unlike, say, using a hair dryer or electric shaver — for drivers who spend hours each day at the wheel. Some hybrid owners have actually tested their cars for electromagnetic fields using hand-held meters, and a few say they are alarmed by the results.

It is interesting to note that the federal government, which today regulates what every child in a public school eats, does not have a mandate for testing magnetic field radiation in hybrid and electric cars. This is not for lack of testing standards: the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection has created very useful measurements that were recently used in a scientific study by a group of Greek scientists. The group used a Lexus hybrid (unclear which model) and a Honda Civic hybrid. Their results, published by the Istanbul University in Turkey, were quite interesting:

The results showed that the produced magnetic field remained below the ICNIRP’s reference values for the general public for all driving conditions for both cars. The positions with the higher measured values were located mainly at the rear seats of the cars at feet level and instantaneously reached 78,8% of the relevant limits. It should be also noted that remarkable increase of the measured magnetic field values was monitored when the vehicle was moving at 80-100 km/h [50-65 mph] and during braking, speedup and startup.

In other words, if you have your kids in the back seat and go through daily stop-and-go traffic, you will expose your children to frequent magnetic field surges up toward, or possibly in excess of, healthy levels.

It is also interesting to note that hybrid models, like the newest Toyota Camry, often have their battery packs stacked between the rear seat and the cargo space. Based on the Istanbul University study, this location could contribute to further concentration of magnetic field surges around the back seat where children are typically located.

Some hybrids only rely on electric power as a supplement to traditional combustion engines, but vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt are built to rely primarily on electric power. They are therefore more dangerous when it comes to exposing passengers to magnetic field surges. This danger stands in disturbing contrast to the fact that the federal government offers subsidies for cars with an electric bias. At the same time, traditional combustion-engine vehicles are being penalized by the Obama administration’s absolutely ridiculous fuel standards. By simply making certain vehicles illegal, the supposedly people-friendly leftist administration will force more and more manufacturers to offer electric-bias vehicles – and thereby force more and more families to put their children in a back seat where they are exposed to dangerous levels of magnetic fields.

Government Motors, the enviro-left and the Obama administration are totally silent on the health hazards of hybrids and electric cars. It raises an important question: is the federal government so married to its warped idea of saving the world from non-existing man-made global warming that it is willing to expose American children to serious health risks on a daily basis?