Oh Boy, Another Ford Problem-Volvo Plans to Change Due To Electromagnetic Excess

STOCKHOLM, Feb 20 Reuters reports that auto manufacturer Volvo, a Ford Company, known for its safety-conscious luxury sedans, plans technical changes in three of its models due to worries that the electromagnetic fields in these cars may pose a health hazard.

Volvo said there was no evidence that the electromagnetic fields, which subjected the driver to up to 12-18 microtesla, were harmful. But in three months it would devise a way to build the models to reduce these fields to a 10 times lower level.

A microtesla is a unit measuring magnetic field strength. A normal level in Swedish apartments is 0.1 microtesla, but at the workplace the level may be twice that due to electronic appliances such as computers, according to Vi Bilagare.

The magazine said levels above 0.2 microtesla may possibly be harmful especially to children and pregnant women.

``We will investigate as quickly as possible about what we can do in production,'' Volvo Car spokesman Lennart Strom told Reuters, adding changes would be made in factories in Sweden and Belgium.

While Volvo disputed that the fields were harmful, it was nonetheless concerned about owners' worries.

``For us this is not a safety-related question, we act on customers' worries... we don't want to be mixed in a discussion like this,'' he said.

FIELDS NOT HARMFUL

Current owners of the three models would have to pay a couple of thousand Swedish crowns (around $190) for modifying their cars, but prices of new autos would not rise due to the changes made in the manufacturing process, Strom said.

Volvo did not dispute the findings of the Vi Bilagare study but said the magnetic fields in its cars were clearly below the safety levels which the European Union is currently setting for cars.

More than half a million S60, V70 and S80 models have been sold worldwide to date.

Volvo cars are considered a potential engine for growth for Ford, the world's second-biggest car maker, at a time when the entire industry has been hit by the global downturn.

Sweden's Volvo AB sold the car business to Ford in 1999, and now focuses on truck manufacturing

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