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Topic Title: Electrical Hypersensitivity
Topic Summary: EMFs in cars...
Created On: 15 February 2012 05:17 PM
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 15 February 2012 05:17 PM
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averyk

Posts: 2
Joined: 11 March 2010

Can anyone help me to understand the effects of electromagnetic fields on the human body? I have been doing some research and am now convinced that I may have a medical condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. Whilst I have suffered only mild headaches from being in close proximity to mobile phones and Wi-Fi in the past; 3 weeks ago I changed my car and since then every time I drive I get a headache which I didn't get in my last car. Are there any experts out there that can shed some light on the subject? Can EMFs be shielded in some way or cancelled out? If the only option is to sell the new car, how can I measure and compare the EMF levels between cars to make sure I don't get the same problem with the next one I buy? Anyone??
 15 February 2012 10:48 PM
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HKafeman

Posts: 17
Joined: 01 November 2001

averyk

I copied your question to the PG_M9 IET Consultants Exchange Forum and have had the following 5 responses so far.

I will copy any more onto this Forum for you and likewise any other responses on this Forum on to the PG_M9.

Response 1 - Bryan L
-----------------------------
During the war, people standing in front of a radar aerial could tell whether or not it was switched on from a feeling in their bodies. The radiation levels were enormous but they suffered no ill health.

When you go through an MRI scan, the magnetic field is greater than that inside the core of a transformer.

The problem is that people want to be absolutely sure there is no danger and it is impossible to be absolutely sure. What we can be sure that if there is a danger, it's so tiny it to be not worth worrying about.

Response 2 - Mike H
-----------------------------
Headaches in cars. Just something else to consider. I am sensitive to many solvents and one new car gave many headaches due to out-gassing of some of the plastics. (However, I just realised this was far worse in the summer, and did not occur in cold weather)

Response 3 - Michael W
---------------------------------
What happens when you stand in front of an intrusion detector? These work on different principles but I have met someone who, when his back was to the detector, could tell me when the LED was lit or not. Probably someone on this line can tell us more about the types of sensors (IR, microwave, acoustic) and what the influence of the LED might be (do they continue to emit when the detection has been reported = LED lit. My friend was sure that those in question, in a self service restaurant, were microwave. At home, ours are microwave and IR.

Does your car have a volumetric alarm? If so, it might be emitting all the time and only raising the alarm when the "system is activated". However, I always thought that car alarms were acoustic rather than microwave (IIRC IR wouldn't work in a car because of thermal effects)

Response 4 - John B
-----------------------------
I also have had severe problems with solvents in a new car, and these are likely to be far more potent than stray EMFs - which you can encounter, more strongly, in many other environments than in a car. Fortunately I was able to leave the car with all windows open in a garage. In a car kept locked on the street or drive the solvents will accumulate.

In summer the smell of the solvents are readily apparent; but they will still evaporate, albeit more slowly, in cold weather while not so readily being detected.

Before chasing down the rather unlikely EMF route, I suggest that the sufferer should try driving with some windows open for at least the first few minutes each day, and see if this makes a difference.

Response 5 - Harbense D
------------------------------------
Cases of sensitivity to EMFs have been documented and whether or not this is the causative factor would require further investigation. Sensitivity to chemicals is more likely. There are EMF measurement devices available to determine if the car is the source of strong fields. Interesting that mobile phones and WiFi might be triggers too. Do other wireless devices have the same effect? Does bluetooth cause it? Or a hands free kit?

I know that I have typed more questions than answers here but hope it helps.

-------------------------
Henry Kafeman

HDK Solutions Ltd.
Investigate, Analyse, Resolve
Tel: +44 (0)1908 866921
 16 February 2012 01:00 AM
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jwong

Posts: 20
Joined: 18 January 2003

I'm sure that you will be able to find lots of information on the web about the potential effects of EM radiation on the human body. Induction (in oscillating/changing EM field) and heating effects spring to mind. For heating effects, look up 'Specific Absorption Rates' (SAR) - these levels are now usually published by mobile phone manufacturers for their handsets. Extremely strong EM fields would usually be required for any serious heating or induction effects to take place.

I am no expert on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. However, if you suspect that the cause of your headache problems might be EM emission from your car then rather than changing your car consider trying out a different brand of spark plug for your engine. It's a long shot but might be worth a try before shelling out more money on buying a new car. Spark plugs are one of the strongest emitters of EM noise in a car. Using a slighty different spark plug (different brand / design) may mean that the noise spectrum generated is slighty different and may be different enough to be below your threshold of sensitivity. Like I said, it's a long shot but give it some consideration.

Good luck.

-------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jason Wong
Technical Consultant and Founder
XTRONTEC - Embedded Systems and Software

www.xtrontec.com
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Edited: 16 February 2012 at 01:11 AM by jwong
 16 February 2012 01:06 AM
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jwong

Posts: 20
Joined: 18 January 2003

Just another thought... Have you checked that the exhaust system in your new car is sound? Could any exhaust gases be escaping from sections of the pipework close to the engine and getting in to the driver/passenger cabin of the car? Just trying to eliminate other potential causes of your headaches.

-------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Jason Wong
Technical Consultant and Founder
XTRONTEC - Embedded Systems and Software

www.xtrontec.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------
 16 February 2012 10:34 PM
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HKafeman

Posts: 17
Joined: 01 November 2001

averyk

3 more responses from PG_M9 IET Consultants Exchange Forum.

Response 1 - Paul R
-----------------------------
Just to support the comments of others - consider other possible reasons for the headaches. A couple of years ago I started getting them whilst driving home form work. It turned out that the petrol pump, on top of the tank, under the back seat, had started leaking and filling the car with petrol fumes.

The smell wasn't particularly strong so I barely noticed it.

Response 2 - Lawrence S
-----------------------------------
Mike

Your acquaintance who could detect an intruder detector LED switching on, when his back was towards it, must have been sensing the light. The microwave part of a dual technology detector (microwave and passive IR) is transmitting short bursts of RF all the time. It receives reflected RF energy but looks for a doppler component which indicates a moving target. ONLY when the microwave AND passive IR sensor (which looks for a moving warm target against background) detect a target (together) does the LED come on. The LED will not be emitting any RF energy.

Alternatively he might have heard the click of a small relay (maybe reed relay) when a target was detected!

As far as the chap with the headaches goes, I put my money on the volatiles emitted from the plastics in a new car!

All the best

Response 3 - Paul B
----------------------------
Sterilisation: There used to be a belief that whilst working on radio and radar that we became sterilised - it did not happen to me even after many years; I had a vasectomy ! There are still investigations about holding aerials mobiles at ones head with the radiation going straight into our brains.

EMC: In addition to compliance testing to safety standards we used to test medical electronics equipment for EMC but this was mostly to do with respect to other equipment rather than patients ....

Sensitivity: Different people do show different sensitivities and I personannly believe thatthere is still much to be discovered ..
so Henry your Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity may not all be in the mind - it could be you can investigate further and cash in on your findings and/or your sensitivity ...

keep an open mind,

-------------------------
Henry Kafeman

HDK Solutions Ltd.
Investigate, Analyse, Resolve
Tel: +44 (0)1908 866921
 17 February 2012 12:39 PM
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averyk

Posts: 2
Joined: 11 March 2010

Thanks for all your responses and explanations for what may be causing my headaches.

Personally, I still believe that it is the electrical equipment in the car that is the problem. For about 12 years I have been affected by the use of a mobile phone (usually after about 5 minutes duration). It is not so much pain that I feel but rather the sensation of stress or tightness around the temple on one side of my head (phone side). If I sit near somebody using a USB/3g card (or similar) I feel similar symptoms. The feeling I get when driving the new car is again similar but more intense (probably due to the confined cabin space).

Somebody mentioned an instrument for measuring EMFs. Would that person be able to advise on what I need and where to get one? Would anyone be willing to go one step further and assist me in taking some measurements from the car to get some useful data? It may be an opportunity to uncover some facts about EMFs in cars that do seem to be affecting a significant number of people (based on my own online research). All help will be gratefully received.
 24 February 2012 02:58 PM
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PADAVIES

Posts: 42
Joined: 26 July 2002

You might be interested in two relevant documents published by the IET.
A factfile explaining the issues surounding EMFs and health
A position paper on the possible harmful biological effects of low level electromagnetic fields.
These documents were produced by the IET's Biological Effects Policy Panel and can be found on the IET website here . The position paper is the conclusion of a review of all relevant peer reviewed research from around the world and is updated every two years.

-------------------------
Paul Davies
Manager, Policy Dept.
Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Statistics

See Also:



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