The Environmental Protection Ministry confirmed to The Jerusalem Post this week that it has launched an independent study of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from hybrid car batteries.
There have been concerns raised both here and abroad that the batteries might generate worrying amounts of electromagnetic radiation over long periods of time. Manufacturers of hybrids have said that the cars and their batteries comply completely with all standards and regulations and pose no threat to the vehicles' occupants.
In Israel, the issue arose because the police wanted to purchase hybrids as patrol cars to save on gas costs. However, the ministry advised them not to because police officers spend many more hours sitting in their cars than average drivers, Ma'ariv reported recently. There was some concern about radiation levels for drivers exposed for more than four hours a day. Since most hybrid owners spend far less than that in their car each day, the ministry did not feel a general warning was warranted, according to the Ma'ariv article.
Ministry Director-General Yossi Inbar first turned to the hybrid vehicle importers, and through them to the manufacturers themselves, the ministry said, asking for information about exposure to electromagnetic fields in the cars. However, it soon became clear that the manufacturers did not have the requested information, the ministry said.
Therefore, a technical plan for measuring exposure in hybrid cars has been drawn up. Once the measurements have been completed and analyzed, the data will be made public, the ministry said.