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Hello, I am new to this forum. I test drove an 04 Prius and was so impressed that I am seriously considering purchasing one. However, after some careful thought, I had a serious question regarding the health of Prius owners (after several years or long term effects). What I am about to ask is, and I don't mean to offend any Prius owners, is, "can the Prius generate harmful electromagnetic radiation over time"? As an engineer, I know that electromagnetic energy is generated when either you have a powerful electric transmission or magnetic waves are generated. The Prius, from what I understand, has a HIGH voltage motor (the new 04 has now even more than the old one). Because the motor and engine are both located physically close to the person (say within 3-4 feet) of the firewall, and there is no "lead" protection walls that I know of in the vehicle, can this proximity be a hazard in the long term? I don't know if tests where done, but, I am wondering if this could be a health hazard. I am posting this one also in the technical to see if there is anyone who could answer this question. Thanks alot!
 

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Electromagnetic Fields

I don't know if this helps at all, but a regular compass is useless inside the car. You have to move 30-40 feet away for a compass to read correctly.

This probably gives no indication of the strength of the magnetic field, since a compass is easily affected by flux lines; but your question is interesting and I await an educated response.

Thanks...
 

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Yeah, the electric motor/generators also emit ozone, so be sure to wear your O3-neutralizing masks and by the way, never ride the subways, trolleys, or Amtrak between WashDC and Boston because those electric locos are death-on-wheels!

I live near a very high voltage (?22K AC) overhead power line so my statements reflect fried brain thanks to PP&L.

I'm waiting for the "Prius Causes Cancer" article in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
 

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Henry, Beware of boyscouts, they often carry magnetic compasses with them.

About the difficulty of using a compass in a Prius. Proper use of flinders bars might help.

:D Pat :D
 

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AronRubin said:
I believe the Prius motor is brushless, therefore not O-Zone emitting.

Aron
Hmmm, and the 500 volts from the inverter is not enough for good ozone production either....

Got me there! Maybe the new car smell will mask the odor of a troll.

:D Pat :D
 

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Harmful Electro-Magnetic Radiation

Despite the jeers from the peanut gallery, this remains a valid question. Having worked around high voltage and military RADAR systems earlier in my life, electro-magnetic radiation could be hazardous over the long term and might be a valid concern.

Along with the first writer, I would like to hear if anyone has measured the flux density inside a Prius. We all live in areas that are bombarded with low levels of radiation, but a couple of hours a day at close proximity (in your Prius) might significantly increase that exposure.

There seems to be several technical people on this site. Does anyone have access to test equipment to take readings?
 

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:D What next ???? Make burritos illegal because of the day after gas ? :lol:
 

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Of course not! Think green, recycle the gas through the ICE for increased mileage.

:D Pat :D
 

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The major answer to this question is "faraday shield" or "magnetic shield" . The engine, inverter and motors (three phase ac and one DC) are in a metal enclosed case (IE: strange shaped box consisting of hood, front fenders and firewall) Most magnetic lines of flux will be shunted by the creation of eddy currents in those metalic elements. (no it doesn't have to be lead. Lead is shielding is for high-energy particles such as x-rays, neutrons, alpha particles etc) I have not done the compass thing in our Prius yet, but suspect that there is enough flux leakage to disrupt same, but that is far below the levels of magnetic flux which are being considered by some medical experts as "potentially dangerous" to humans.

Consider this, if you have a 17" or larger CRT display on your computer, you probablily are subjecting yourself to more magnetic field strenth (flux) than that from sitting in the new Prius.

(I LOVE THIS CAR)
 

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Don't forget cell phones. You hold a radio transmitter and transmiting antenna up to your temple and worry about a shielded source like a motor behind a firewall. Do the words swallow a camel and strain at a gnat, sound familiar?

:D Pat :D
 

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patrickg said:
Do the words swallow a camel and strain at a gnat, sound familiar?
Actually, these words are new to me. What the.. ?

Geez. To me, it seems everything is cancerous. Especially the fun stuff. So let's enjoy our Prius-es (Priui? Prius'?) and not let cancer ruin our day 8)
 

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AllegroNg, Words are from "the Bible."

You got me confused with someone else. I am on the side of the issue where it is supposed that the shielding provided by a sheet of conducting media (firewall etc.) between a varying EM source (motors, inverters, wires carying heavy AC currents, etc.)and a vehicular occupant will provide adequate shielding such as to prevent harmful EM radiation sufficiently to permit driving a Prius without growing extra fingers or eyes.

It has been suggested that computer monitors and dirty microwave oven doors cause lots worse exposures. Holding a radio transmitter and antenna to your temple (using a cell phone) is worse. A single transcontinental flight at standard cruising altitudes or a dental X-Ray is a more REAL hazard.

Get a Prius, drive it, have fun. You are more likely to be exposed to cancer risk breathing the "new car smell" with its VOC content that to be irradiated by rogue EM fields.

:D Pat :D
 

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Cell phone radiation

This is being brought up a couple of times, and it seems to me that ppl are missing the point. Cell phone antennas have very minimal power output precisely because higher wattages would be harmful to your brain. Heard this from a teacher in school, that over 10 years ago when cell phones were huge, they had separate antennas, whose power was much greater, and this wasn't a concern because you didn't put them to your head.
In addition, how much time do you spend continuously talking on the cell? Hopefully not hours at a time.
Just something to think about...
Paul
 

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The exact reduction in field strength for a cell phone with increasing distance from living tissue to antenna may not be a perfect square law but that is probably a fair approximation (closer than linear). With that in mind, considering the antenna is typically pressed to the users temple, I'd think the potential for harmful effects should not be so ephemeral as to not give cause for concern to a person otherwise concerned with the effect of the EM fields in the passenger compartment of a Prius.

I am not claiming that the efects of cellphone usage are a clear and present danger, certain to cause brain tumors or even increase the probability significantly (there are reports from folks much better informed than I). I'm stating that for someone to worry about EM in the Prius passenger compartment due to "leakage" past the shielding (metal dash, hood, and other body components but to not worry about a radio transmitter pressed to their temple or hours of exposure to a CRT, is inconsistent and strangely selective.

FWIW there have been studies and there are published findings. In the Government sector, I have read a published report about an inch or so thick in 8 1/2 by 11 size that covered what is known and what is suspected regarding EM exposure in humans. Unfortunately, that report predated widespread distribution of Prii. If I recall correctly the prelim version hit the streets about 1996 give or take a few years. It does cover cell phones and other hand held radio transmitters. Being a ham radio operator and also having a federal liscense for working on commercial radio telephones and ships radar systems, I had a vested interest in this topic predating Prii.

Does "swallow a camel but strain at a gnat" sound familiar?

ADENDUM: And now, this just in...

http://www.popsci.com/popsci/medicine/a ... 49,00.html

Popular science isn't exactly the "National Enquirer." It might be prudent to consider a headset to get the antenna off the user's temple and a phone with an antenna connection to allow an external antenna for car usage. The external antenna would give much better performance while mobile and would be a good thing even if there were no long term health considerations.

There are "glove" type adaptors that you slide your cell phone into to couple it to an external antenna to be used with phones that have no provision for external antenas. They are not nearly as good as a direct connect external antenna but are sill better than the antenna on the phone. Small simple mag mounts will allow changing the antenna from vehicle to vehicle if you don't want to install a permanent antenna in each vehicle.

Of course the Toyota Prius and BlueTooth technology can reduce your exposure via cell phone to head proximity.

I'm not spouting DOOM AND GLOOM, just suggesting prudence.

:D Pat :D (Prudent Pat!)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Wow, Thank you all for responding! I must say I learned a few things from this post- some things about EM, some things about Cell Phones, and some things about the people who responded! It was rather a bit amusing to read some of them! But, seriously, I think there must be more information that we still don't know regarding long term effects. I still believe that when you are dealing with High Voltage, there are significant electromagnetic waves present that cannot not be overlooked. It simply comes with the territory. But, as to how much of this affects the front driver and passenger being so physically close to the source, I begin to wonder....and also how much has Toyota designed the car to shield us from it?
 

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I still believe that when you are dealing with High Voltage, there are significant electromagnetic waves present that cannot not be overlooked.
This is wrong. High voltage does'nt mean necessarily electromagnetic waves at all, actually. Electromagnetic waves are produced by alternating voltages / currents, and their frequency is of paramount importance in their potential harmfulness. Cell phones frequencies are in the GHz range (billions cycles per second), far above frequencies produced by the power electronics of the Prius or any electric motor. These high frequencies, comparable to the ones used in a microwave oven, can produce tissue heating because of resonance effects with water molecules. Nothing similar in the low frequency electromagnetic waves produced by a Prius or a lot of electric motors that surround you and you don't even notice.
 
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