Radiation from cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, tablets, laptops, smartphones: Health effects and safer alternatives

Are there health effects due to the radiation of wireless modems, phones, tablets and laptops? How you can reduce your daily electromagnetic exposure? How to avoid radiation from neighbors wireless devices? Are there safe alternatives with low or zero radiation?

family on couch with wireless devices

"The European Parliament,(…), whereas wireless technology (mobile phones, Wi-Fi/WiMAX, Bluetooth, DECT landline telephones) emits EMFs that may have adverse effects on human health, (…) proposes that the EU's indoor air quality policy should encompass the study of "wireless" domestic appliances, which, like Wi-Fi for Internet access and digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) telephones, have been widely adopted in recent years in public places and in the home, with the result that citizens are being continuously exposed to microwave emissions” European Parliament resolution on the health problems associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211) [1]

Cordless phone (DECT) radiation

dect wireless phone Cordless phones usually use DECT technology (= Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) emitting at a frequency of 1900MHz.

The handset emits radiation only while talking similarly to a cell phone.

On the other hand, the cordless phone base emits constantly create a major electromagnetic burden depending on where it is situated.

The strength of the DECT base varies depending on the phone model. A typical maximum power rating is ~ 250mW with strong periodic pulses.

According to surveys [2] cordless phones account for 23% of our daily exposure to artificial radiation wireless.

"WiFi/wLAN routers, DECT phones and other wireless devices like baby monitors produce radio frequency emissions that will affect millions of people and babies in their homes, and should be halted until other, less harmful options are investigated." Lukas Margaritis, professor, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Athens, Greece [3]

Wireless internet modem / routers (WLAN or Wi-Fi)

wi fi modem router The second most common antenna inside homes are the wireless Internet modems Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) or WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network).

Wireless modems continuously emit radiation at 2400 MHz frequency and usually their power varies depending on the model. A typical maximum power rating is 100mW.

Since you don't want a cell phone mast next to your house, why do you install wi-fi antennas inside it?

Did you know that the antennas of wireless phones and modems may expose you to higher high-frequency electromagnetic fields than a nearby cell phone mast?

This is because they are used indoors in very short distance from our body.

house on a wi fi modem

Wireless tablets, laptops and smartphones

Unfortunately what most do not realize is that the Wi-Fi antennas installed in desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphone also emit radiation to connect wirelessly to the wi-fi modems.

These might have lower power from the antennas of cordless phones and wireless modems and routers, but due their smaller distance from the body, they usually expose us to greater radiation.

Wi-Max networks = Wi-Fi radiation for everyone!

Wi-Max networks are wireless networks with much greater range than the typical Wi-Fi antennas.

Wi-Max antennas are installed by telecommunications companies at various locations in residential areas to provide wireless Internet in entire cities or parts of cities (usually range> 30 km).

Subscribers WiMax services are able to have wireless internet in any areas covered.

Unfortunately, those not subsrcibed to Wi-Max services will also receive their radiation. (see impact in Sweden: Swedes hit Hard by WiMAX Waves )

What are the health effects

Although there have not been many studies on the effects of radiation emitted by wireless phones and modems it is likely that in long-term  they can cause symptoms similar to other high frequency electromagnetic field sources.

DECT phones and WI-FI modems emit pulsed radiation which is considered biologically more burdensome than the older analogue signals (e.g. tv and radio antennas).

The conclusion of the Panel BioInitiative Working Group [4], which took into account more than 2000 surveys on the subject of electromagnetic radiation was that:

"There is substantial scientific evidence that some modulated fields (pulsed or repeated signals) are bioactive, which increases the likelihood that they could have health impacts with chronic exposure even at very low exposure levels. Modulation signals may interfere with normal, non-linear biological processes. Modulation is a fundamental factor that should be taken into account in new public safety standards; at present it is not even a contributing factor. To properly evaluate the biological and health impacts of exposure to modulated RF (carrier waves), it is also essential to study the impact of the modulating signal (lower frequency fields or ELF-modulated RF). Current standards have ignored modulation as a factor in human health impacts, and thus are inadequate in the protection of the public in terms of chronic exposure to some forms of ELF-modulated RF signals. The current IEEE and ICNIRP standards are not sufficiently protective of public health with respect to chronic exposure to modulated fields (particularly new technologies that are pulse-modulated and heavily used in cellular telephony)."

Wireless radiation is now listed by the World Health Organization as a possible carcinogenic and is linked to insomnia, depression, brain cancer, testis, skin, salivary gland, male infertility, miscarriages pregnancy, the leukemia, etc.

The levels of exposure to radiation of wireless phones and modems inside the houses is often larger than the ones found in residences near mobile phone masts.

At least five epidemiological studies have linked the presence of mobile phone masts with the significant deterioration of health of the neighboring population (increase of cancers, insomnia, headaches, inability to concentrate, memory loss, visual and hearing disorders, nausea, irritability, skin, cardiovascular and motor problems ). More about the effects of mobile phone masts..

Cancer

The risk of brain cancer is 220% higher for more than a decade cordless phone users and 440% higher when holding the phone mainly from the same side of the head (Hardell et al. [5], [6] ).

"Studies of people have shown that both ELF and RF exposures result in an increased risk of cancer, and that this occurs at intensities that are too low to cause tissue heating.  Unfortunately, all of our exposure standards are based on the false assumption that there are no hazardous effects at intensities that do not cause tissue heating. Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to WiFi and other wireless devices.  Thus it is important that all of us, and especially children, restrict our use of cell phones, limit exposure to background levels of Wi-Fi, and that government and industry discover ways in which to allow use of wireless devices without such elevated risk of serious disease. We need to educate decision-makers that ‘business as usual’ is unacceptable. The importance of this public health issue can not be underestimated.”  Dr. David Carpenter, School of Public Health, Albany, New York University [7]

Cardiac arrhythmias

A recent study by Dr. Magda Havas shows that radiation from wireless phones bases causes tachycardia and arrhythmias [8].

Infertility

For Wi-Fi enabled laptops there is evidence that they affect male fertility, due to their close contact with the genital area.

Recent research [9] showed significant reduction in the mobility of sperm and DNA fragmentation of sperm after the 4-hour use of laptop connected wirelessly to the Internet.

More about the association of wireless radiation with infertility..

Electrohypersensitivity

Radiation from cordless phones and Wi-Fi networks is associated with the greater increase of electrohypersensitivity: allergic reactions to artificial electromagnetic radiation, with symptoms such as skin rashes, dry eyes and mouth, swollen sinuses, ringing of the ears, nausea, migraines, etc.

The people affected have difficulties to work and have social life and therefore the electrohypersensitivity is now recognized as a disability in Sweden (where it is assumed that affects 3% of the population!), while Britain and Canada are considering to do the same.

The European Parliament "calls on Member States to follow the example of Sweden and to recognize persons that suffer from electrohypersensitivity as being disabled so as to grant them adequate protection as well as equal opportunities." [10].

According to Swedish researchers Hallberg and Oberfeld, by 2017 50% of the population will develop symptoms of electrohypersensitivity [11]!

Learn more about the "allergy of the 21st Century "..

What Apple says about the safety of the iPad

According to Apple, the use of the iPad should be done a certain way so as not to exceed the safe levels of exposure to electromagnetic radiation!

Note that the permissible exposure limits to radiation from wireless devices are already hundreds of times higher than the limits proposed by various scientific bodies in recent years (see our article about the safe exposure limits here).

For the iPad, Apple states the following [12]:

"iPad contains radio transmitters and receivers. When on, iPad sends and receives radio frequency (RF) energy through its antenna.

The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® antennas are located behind the screen to the left of the Home button, and behind the Apple logo. A cellular antenna is located at the top edge of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G, when oriented with the Home button at the bottom.

For optimal mobile device performance and to be sure that human exposure to RF energy does not exceed the FCC, IC, and European Union guidelines, always follow these instructions and precautions:

Orient the device in portrait mode with the Home button at the bottom of the display, or in landscape mode with the cellular antenna (located under the black edge at the top of the device) away from your body or other objects.

If you are still concerned about exposure to RF energy, you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad Wi-Fi + 3G in wireless mode, since time is a factor in how much exposure a person receives, and by placing more distance between your body and iPad Wi-Fi + 3G, since exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.

You should always keep iPad more than 15 cm (6 inches) from a pacemaker when the wireless device is turned on."

Higher risk for children and pregnant women

Developing organisms are more vulnerable to radiation because their immune system is not fully developed, youthful cells proliferate faster making them more vulnerable to genetic damage and penetration of radiation is deeper due to their thinner bones and increased conductivity.

The wireless pulsed radiation emitted by wireless phones and modems (Wi-Fi) is considered by some scientists to inhibit the formation of normal electromagnetic activity of the brain and to be associated with the rapid increase in autism cases, attention deficit syndrome etc.

The Russian Committee for the Protection against Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection warns [13]:

"Electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi creates an additional burden for the child brain, whose body is in a state of development and the formation of mental activity. During this period, children are most susceptible to adverse environmental factors".

More about the effects of wireless radiation on children and pregnant women..More about the effects of wireless radiation on children and pregnant women..

Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) in schools. It is a good idea?

BBC documentary on the impact of Wi-Fi and Wi-Max in schools and cities

See the story "BBC Panorama - Wi-Fi - A Warning Signal" :

  • radiation Wi-Fi in the classroom more powerful than 100 meters from a cell phone mast
  • what do top scientists suggest to parents
  • the new Wi-Max antennas
  • possible health effects
  • false safe limits

When are the safe limits of exposure to the radiation of cordless phones, wireless modems, laptops etc are exceeded?

  • The official exposure limits to radio frequency radiation, which are based only on short-term immediate effects such as heating of the tissues, are not exceeded even if you sit on you DECT base station or wi-fi antenna.
  • However, in recent years several scientific organizations, based in numerous new studies showing health effects from much lower levels of radiation, have proposed new safe limits for long-term exposure.
  • Most recommended exposure limits are <100μW/m 2.
  • In rooms with cordless phone or wireless modem bases radiation levels are usually greater than 1000μW/m 2.
  • The limit of 100 μW/m 2  is frequently exceeded even when the base of the cordless phone or modem is in adjoining rooms (yours or neighbors).
  • The nearby use of a wireless enabled desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone usually gives exposure values> 1000μW/m 2.
  • High exposures to wireless radiation may be caused by non-visible radiation sources such as camouflaged cell phone towers, neighbors cordless phones, modems, baby monitors, etc.  You can easily detect these sources and measure their radiation with a high frequency radiation meter.

"We need to test the electromagnetic exposure of the sleeping location of the mother during pregnancy and also her working area, if she is working. If the mother is sleeping in strong electromagnetic fields the child will be neurologically abnormal. Within 2 years the child will develop all the signs of autism, neurological dysfunction, hyperactivity, learning disorders and so on." Dr. Dietrich Klingkchart, Institute of Neurobiology Washington [14]

Reduction Tips of exposure to radiation from wireless phones and modems

  • replace the cordless phone with a wired one or at least with cordless phone with zero radiation in stand by (see below)
  • replace the wireless connection to the internet with a wired one using network (Ethernet) cable to connect the computer to the modem
  • alternatively use Powerline adaptors that pass the internet signal through the existing power cables (Broadband over power lines BPL or power-line Internet): you install a Powerline adapter into an outlet and connect it with the modem - the other Powerline adapters you install them in sockets of remote rooms where you want Internet and you connect with them there your desktop or laptop or any device that has an ethernet port).
  • some tablets or smartphones also can connect with an ethernet cable via an ethernet-mini USB adaptor but you have to check with the manufacturer first.
  • in the case you don't replace the wireless modem and dect phone, we advise you to switch off at least at night (or during sleep hours in general) and place them away from high use areas
  • turn off the wireless function of the laptop, tablet and mobile when it is not necessary. Their wi-fi antenna is transmitting even if you are not connected to the Internet!
  • Shielding fabric can be wrapped around the cordless phone and wireless modem when it can not be switched off (eg at work). Although the range of the phone and the modem will be limited, it is possible that you wiil not have functional problems especially when the areas covered are small.
  • to reduce the electromagnetic fields that your genitals receive when you keep your wi-fi enabled laptop or tablet, nest to tour body is feasible by using electromagnetic shielding materials that reflect more than 99% of wireless radiation. Examples of related electromagnetic shielding materials: disc Defenderpad (www.defenderpad.com), clothes and aprons Belly Armour (www.bellyarmor.com), Naturell fabric.

woman holding belly armor emf shielding blanket

What to do with the wireless devices (cordless phones, wireless modems etc.) of your neighbors

Even if you are among the few which do not use wireless phones or modems, you are most likely to receive these radiations from one of your neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment building (eg you can do a simple search of wireless networks with your mobile phone, laptop or the / your PC). What can you do?

  •  You can locate your neighbors devices and see how much radiation they expose to with a  high frequency radiation meter.
  • If there are high radiation measurements due to your neighbors, you can move the bed, the sofa or office desk away from the wirless hotspot you have located.
  • Fabric reflecting wireless radiation can be placed under your sofa  or your bed when the radiation source is located underneath.
  • With special shielding paint you can paint the walls or ceilings from which the radiation enters to your rooms.

emf shielding fabric under bed

  • Practical solution for the bedroom, offer the shielding bed canopies, which is especially useful in buildings with dozens of wireless phones and Internet networks.

emf shielding canopies

More about electromagnetic shielding materials..

wi fi from neighbors

Are there low or zero radiation cordless phones?

dect phone with zero radiation transmission on stand by mode

Cordless telephones low or "zero" radiation is specific models Gigaset ECO DECT supporting ECO + mode for zero radiation in standby mode.

Activating the optional ECO + mode the base station signal transmission reset when you are not talking on the phone.

The base station transmits signal only when necessary, ie while talking on the phone when the phone rings when you are preparing for an outgoing call, or when asking for some information from the base station (eg Missed calls).

When there is no use of the device, there is cessation of any communication of the base station to the handset. This applies whether the handset is in the base station or outside the base station.

Some cordless Gigaset ECO DECT support and ECO mode for 80% less emission of radiation during the speech.

To emit these Gigaset cordless phones reduced radiation should first energopoieisete optional ECO functions and ECO +!

These phones further save 60% energy compared with conventional wireless.

The Gigaset puts continually new phone models that support ECO functions + and ECO. Ask the manufacturer or outlets for new and / or more economic models that emit no radiation in standby mode (ECO + mode). If you want to make sure to check specifications of each phone in the Gigaset website. Examples phones that support ECO mode +: A220 (economic model), AL110, AS180, A380, A580, C380, C590, C610, E490, S790, SL780 etc. Phones Gigaset find them in most electronics stores (Kotsovolos, German, Frame etc).


[1] European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (2008/2211(INI))

[2] Temporal and spatial variability of personal exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Frei et al, Environ Res. 2009 Aug; 109 (6): 779-85. doi: 10.1016 / j.envres.2009.04.015. Epub 2009 May 23.

[3] New, Biological Effects based, EMF / RF Exposure Guidelines, www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20110203-biological-guidelines.asp

[4] http://www.bioinitiative.org

[5] Hardell L et al, (October 2006) Tumour risk Associated with Use of Cellular Telephones Or Desktop Cordless Telephones, World J Surg Oncol 2006 Oct the 11th? the 4th: 74

[6] Hardell L et al, (February 2006) Case-Control Study of The Association Between The Use of Cellular and Cordless Telephones and malignant tumors diagnosed Brain During, Agents 2,000 to 2003, Environ Res. 2006 Feb; 100 (2): 232-41

[7] http://electromagnetichealth.org/quotes-from-experts/ 

[8]  http://emf.mercola.com/sites/emf/archive/2011/01/12/cordless-phone-emfs-trigger-heart-rhythm-abnormalities.aspx

[9] Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation, Conrado Avendaño, MS t al, Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva, Córdoba, Argentina, Fertility and Sterility, Volume 97, Issue 1, Pages 39-45.e2, January 2012 

[10] European Parliament resolution on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields(2008/2211), http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2F%2FEP%2F%2FTEXT+REPORT+A6-2009-0089+0+DOC+XML+V0%2F%2FEL

[11] Hallberg O., G. Oberfeld (2006), we Will All Become electrosensitive; Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 25: 189-191

[12] http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/iPad_Important_Product_Information_Guide.pdf

[13] http://www.emfacts.com/2012/06/wi-fi-recommendations-from-the-russian-national-committee-on-non-ionizing-radiation-protection-rncnirp/

[14] Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, Why the U.S. Needs Pre-Conception Healthcare, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSit3i_-z0w

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