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I am planning on buying a used honda insight. I have been researching and have found an article on consumeraffairs.com/automotive that may change my mind about the Insight. The article is by some guy who measured the electromagnetic field (EMF) impacting the driver and passenger using a Trifield meter. He says that the reading was up to 135 milligauss at the hip and 100 milligauss in the upper torso and head area.
According to the institute of Bau-Biology and Ecology, which set the EMF standards, the Insight's readings are up to 100 times higher than the minimum reading considered "strong" in their tables. He also talks of a study that found just 12 milligauss stimulates the growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells.

If anyone has any thoughts/ ideas/ or suggestions on the validity of the information in the article or on it's implications, please respond.
Read the whole article at:
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automoti ... sight.html
 

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It is an old story. That is just one guy writting back in 2001. He even says that it is similar to the Prius (one back seat). I have no data but I beleive that it is not a "standardized" test and the result is questionanble. There was an official reply somewhere stating that the test was not valid (wrong instrument if I remember correctly, because of the current frequency)

I think that your computer screen also emits as much, as your TV, ...

I would be more affraid of a cell phone and everybody has one. The guy from Motorola who invented the cell phone had fried his brain and died a few years later (brain cancer). People still use cell phones.
 

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I think we're more likely to suffer a health hazard just in the act of driving, whether it be an Insight or an H2, from a car accident.
 

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Can anybody offer any insight on this that does not compare it to something else? Smoking is bad, cocaine is worse, but I still dont smoke. If a toaster is worse, maybe we should keep distance from toasters or not use them at all. If Insight is not safe to drive, then we should not drive them. If something is worse, that does not make the Insight better. Anybody have some hard evidence either way?
 

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Hello brpeterson,

I do not know if you will find it as hard evidence but I do not know of anybody who got sick on a toaster (except if you put a metal knife in and get electrocuted). It is the same for hybrid cars.

One thing I am sure of, if the guy's statement where true, it would have gotten more interest back in 2001 and after. Anybody can write bad comments for bad reason and get published anyway

I am sure that you can buy your car without worrying about EMF. If you ride it gently, not much assit will you get and that much amount of EMF

Good luck with your buy either way
 

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brpeterson said:
Can anybody offer any insight on this that does not compare it to something else?
If there is no basis for comarison, how can an exchange of ideas take place?

Smoking is bad, cocaine is worse, but I still dont smoke. If a toaster is worse, maybe we should keep distance from toasters or not use them at all. If Insight is not safe to drive, then we should not drive them. If something is worse, that does not make the Insight better. Anybody have some hard evidence either way?
The problem is that no one has ever conclusivly linked EM fields to health hazards. There are been studies that both prove and disprove that EM fields are harmful...Personally, I tend to think that since everyone on the planet is constantly being penetrated by multiple EM fields at any time, there should be a lot more proven cases of "EM sickness" around if in fact the fields are harmful....

There are SO MANY devices that generate large EM fields that you come in contact with every day:

-power lines
-electric motors (power tools, elevators, vibrating pager, subway cars, trains, electric toothbrush, sexual toys, fans, etc.)
-fluorescent lights
-cell phones, pagers, computers, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
-any radio (CB, broadcast, short wave, etc.)
-the Earth
-space
-etc.

There is just so much strong and constant exposure that if the fields were harmful, MANY people would be getting sick.
 

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I have read every post on this topic each time it comes up. I agree motorcycles, cocaine, smoking, and a bunch of other things are more dangerous. I also have not seen the smoking gun that the insight is dangerous, however I still have not seen one convincing argument that it is not dangerous. Actually motorcycles, cocaine, and smoking are NOT as dangerous to me because I don't do any of those things, I do drive an insight though. Are there any actual studies that debunk this?
 

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kurt said:
I have read every post on this topic each time it comes up. I agree motorcycles, cocaine, smoking, and a bunch of other things are more dangerous. I also have not seen the smoking gun that the insight is dangerous, however I still have not seen one convincing argument that it is not dangerous. Actually motorcycles, cocaine, and smoking are NOT as dangerous to me because I don't do any of those things, I do drive an insight though. Are there any actual studies that debunk this?
I don't believe there's really any studies that debunk it, though there aren't really any stories that support it either. It's like that old myth that listening to classical music makes babies smarter - err, except that one has been more or less proven false while the EM field thing is ambiguous. There's EM fields everywhere, and for every study that says they could give you cancer, there's another that says they make you healthier.

I suspect that it's probrably possible to cause cancer with a strong enough electromagnetic field, just like you can prove that motor oil is carcinogenic because rats swimming in motor oil eventually developed skin cancer. However, at the University I go to, the physics department does some experiments with superconductors to create intense EM fields, so if EM fields really caused cancer, you'd expect people to be dropping left and right.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I want to know from the people that say that an Insight is safe, if they say this because they think (or know) that the EMF is not very high (in the 100's) or because we get exposed to EMF all the time and it has not been proven to be a health hazard?

"The problem is that no one has ever conclusivly linked EM fields to health hazards"
"I don't believe there's really any studies that debunk it, though there aren't really any stories that support it either"

Here is the study the guy on consumeraffairs.com is discussing:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/emfrapid/html/Symposium1/2.htm

And here is information on a bunch of studies that have been done on the effects of EMF:
http://infoventures.com/emf/top/lit-rev.html
It is a lot of information to go through, but from just glancing over it, I can see a lot of inconsistency.
 

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As we run out of oil, cars are likely to become increasingly electric, such as plug in hybrids and electric fuel cell vehicles. The Insight is a mild hybrid and uses relatively little electricity. Furthermore, higher frequency EMF such as that produced by computers, microwaves and cell phones is effectively blocked by the highly conductive aluminum floor, so our Insights would protect us from this kind of EMF if in fact it was being produced by the IMA system. Finally, unlike the Prius where significant electrical power is continuously being used for the synergy drive, the Insight only creates high electrical currents when braking or accelerating quickly, so IMA would be the safer design if there was a safety risk.

The articles linked to above indicate that there may be some measurable effect of EMF under experimental conditions, but these effects are subtle and could be caused by other factors in the procedures. Thus, even after decades of studies, there are no consistently reproducible results.

30 years ago I sat next to a freezer sized electromagnet for a year, when I was doing electro-magnetic resonance testing for Frosst Pharmaceuticals. I realize that this proves nothing, but I did not go crazy, develop cancer, or become sterile. :)

I stand back from the microwave oven, and I avoid trans fats and cigarette smoke, cell phones and prolonged sun exposure. I am concerned about global warming, killer viruses, nuclear proliferation, poverty, and the kind of world we are leaving the next generation. However, I have not seen, read, heard, or studied anything that causes me concern about the Insight's small intermittent electromagnetic field, including the linked articles above.
 

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"I don't believe there's really any studies that debunk it..."

Probably because they're up against the impossibility of proving a negative. It's like proving that UFOs, conspiracy theories, or what have you don't exist. You can look everywhere you can think of without finding anything, and the people who believe will just say that the evidence is somewhere else.

"Smoking is bad, cocaine is worse..."

I don't think so, at least not in terms of affecting the user's health. Never heard of any studies showing that cocaine causes cancer, anyway :)

"I would be more affraid of a cell phone and everybody has one."

Sigh. Another myth: I don't have one, and don't want one. Why, fer gawdsake? So the $#[email protected] recorded political ads can reach me wherever I go?
 

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high magnetic field - yes, health effect? We don't know

I know this came up before, but then again, why not revisit the discussion from time to time.

It would be great if we could have a reasonable discussion this time, without the name calling, etc. we usually resort to on this subject.

I own a magnetic field meter. (I'm and engineer, not an environmentalist). From my measurements, I can confirm that there are magnetic fields in the Insight's driver seat exceeding 100 mG, even exceeding 200 mG on the floor during full assist or charge. The field is caused by the power cable that runs from the inverter in the back to the electric motor in the front. This can be shown from the direction of the field.

100 - 200 mG is significantly higher than the fields you find surrounding even high-power appliances like electric stoves. Certainly a lot higher than toasters, computers, or alarm clocks. (Don't confuse this low frequency magnetic field with high-frequency EM fields and microwaves emitted from TVs, cellphones and such).


So, I don't think we need to debate wether or not the Insight produces high magnetic fields. It does. This is not voodo or fear mongering. It is a measurable physical fact.

What we don't know (and there are studies pointing both ways) is if this has any health effects at all, and if so what they would be. So, I will still drive my Insight once it's fully restored. But I understand people who are cautious. Our current state of knowledge of this phenomenon can be compared with what we kenew about smoking in the 50's. Or what we knew about X-rays back then... So I don't call somebody crazy just because he's asking the very reasonable question: "Is this safe?"
 

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Some thoughts.

First, most EMF concern of which I'm aware centers around high-voltage AC power lines and transformers. OTOH, the Insight is DC. The implications of this difference are unknown to me but should be kept in mind when studying published research on the effects of EMF.

Second, how do the field levels in the Insight compare to those found in or near MRI machines, or the aforementioned power lines, transformers, et. al?
 

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Foxpaw said:
However, at the University I go to, the physics department does some experiments with superconductors to create intense EM fields, so if EM fields really caused cancer, you'd expect people to be dropping left and right.
Just to reiterate - the Physics professors at my university don't seem to mind working around the EM fields of their superconductor coils, which I suspect are very intense. (Strong enough to disrupt magnetic storage (hard drives, etc.) in the room, at the very least.)
 

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Just to keep things in perspective, why not stop to ponder on all the other health hazards, many of which most other cars have more of than the Insight. Let's see... breathing gasoline fumes are a definite health hazard, as is skin contact, not to mention the fire hazard. Used motor oil causes cancer, you know. There's the sulfuric acid in the 12-volt battery, too.

Then there's all the plastics & synthetic fabrics in the interior, which emit measurable amounts of volatile organic chemicals: didn't stop to think that "that new car smell" could be hazardous to your health, did you? And the sodium azide in the airbags: not only explosive, but about as lethal a poison as cyanide.

And all this is before you even start to think of the gunk that comes out the exhaust, or all those other drivers doing their unskilled best to hit you :)
 

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Re: high magnetic field - yes, health effect? We don't know

Armin said:
100 - 200 mG is significantly higher than the fields you find surrounding even high-power appliances like electric stoves. Certainly a lot higher than toasters, computers, or alarm clocks. (Don't confuse this low frequency magnetic field with high-frequency EM fields and microwaves emitted from TVs, cellphones and such).
Man, now you're going to make me have to pull out my meter and start measuring everything. :) I did that as a kid as part of an experiment for school, and it actually got me in trouble (people called the police as I was poking around transformers, etc. with a "strange looking device").

I know that I have a few things around the house that create huge fields...Welders, Tesla Coils, some massive motors, etc. But not everyone has those devices.
 

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Armin: Have you checked the magnetic field creared by the magnets in the loudspeakers located in the doors? and behind the seats?

Aaron: You're a wild man! OK, so I'll admit to building a capacitor discharge magnetic gun in high school that could fire through a Montreal phone book, and later a nasty 30,000 volt, 20KHz, 200 watt power supply! Twitch, twitch :)

200 milligauss is a lot from a wire, although I suppose you would see comparable fields from say a 200 ampere welder or a quick charge battery booster.

Since the current relates directly to the strength of the field, higher voltage systems would have less field compared to similar power systems with lower voltage batteries. I'm thinking golf carts or the 48 volt "hybrid" systems. It also makes me wonder what kind of fields you would see with an all electric vehicle where the currents would be easily five to ten times greater. :roll: Like, maybe a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle? Not to worry, I think we are more likely to see a tooth fairy than an affordable and practical fuel cell car. Then again, if Honda is working on it anything is possible. :wink:
 
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