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Spectral analysis to assess exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields in cars

Paniagua, Jesús M., Rufo, Montaña, Jiménez, Antonio, Antolín, Alicia, Barberá, Jorge
The Science of the total environment 2017 v.584-585 pp. 875-881
automobiles, emissions, guidelines, magnetic fields, spectral analysis, spinning, tires
A type of contamination that has been little studied in cars comes from the extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields generated by the vehicle's electrical devices and the magnetized metal in the tyres. The magnetic fields in cars are frequently analysed with broadband meters sensitive to a frequency range above 30Hz. This has the disadvantage that they neither detect the magnetic field of the spinning tyres nor give any information on the spectral components, which makes it impossible to adequately assess exposure. The objective of the present study was to perform spectral analyses of ELF magnetic fields in cars, to identify their frequencies, and to assess exposure based on the ICNIRP regulatory guidelines. To do this, a meter and a spectrum analyser sensitive to magnetic fields in the 5Hz–2kHz frequency range were used. Spectra were acquired for different seats, heights, and speeds, and spatially averaged exposure coefficients were calculated. The results indicated that the main emissions were detected in the 5–100Hz range, where the wheel rotation frequencies and their harmonics are found. The intensity of the rest of the emissions were negligible in comparison. The exposure quotient increases with speed, and is approximately twice as great at foot level as at head level. The magnetic field levels are lower than the reference levels (the maximum represents 3% of the ICNIRP standard), but higher than those found in residential environments and than the cut-off threshold used by the IARC to classify ELF magnetic fields in Group 2B