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 can you reduce your daily electromagnetic exposure? How do you avoid radiation from neighbouring wireless devices? Are there safe alternatives with low or zero radiation?


 "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 

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

The handset emits radiation only while talking to another cell phone.

On the other hand, the cordless phone base emits radiation constantly creating 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 wireless radiation.

"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) 

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

Since you don't want a cell phone mast next to your house, why would 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 a very short distance from our body.


Wireless tablets, laptops and smartphones 

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

These might have lower power compared to the antennas of cordless phones, 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 in the range of > 30 km).

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

Unfortunately, those not subscribed 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 the 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 and skin problems, salivary gland issues, male infertility, miscarriages pregnancy, leukemia, etc.

The levels of exposure to radiation from 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 problems, cardiovascular and motor problems ).More about the effects of mobile phone masts..


The risk of brain cancer is 220% higher for people that use cordless phones for more than a decade 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 phone bases causes tachycardia and arrhythmias [8].


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 a significant reduction in the mobility of sperm and DNA fragmentation of sperm after 4-hours of laptop use, while being connected to the Internet wirelessly.

More about the association of wireless radiation with infertility..


Radiation from cordless phones and Wi-Fi networks is associated with the 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 with work and their social life. As a result electrohypersensitivity is now recognized as a disability in Sweden (where it is assumed that it affects 3% of the population!), while Britain and Canada are considering doing 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 iPad should be used in 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 an iPad more than 15 cm (6 inches) from a pacemaker when the wireless device is turned on."

Higher risks 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 . Penetration of radiation is deeper due to their thinner bones and increased conductivity.

The wireless pulses of 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 is 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..

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 safety limits

When are the safe limits of exposure to the radiation of cordless phones, wireless modems, laptops etc 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 your DECT base station or wi-fi antenna.
  • However, in recent years several scientific organizations revealed numerous new studies showing health effects from much lower levels of radiation and have proposed new safe limits for long-term exposure.
  • Most recommended exposure limits are <100μW/m 2.
  • In rooms with cordless phones or wireless modems 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 your neighbors).
  • The nearby use of a wireless enabled desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone usually gives exposure values in the range of > 1000μW/m 2.
  • High exposures to wireless radiation may be caused by non-visible radiation sources such as camouflaged cell phone towers, your 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]

Tips to reduce exposure to radiation from wireless phones and modems

  • Replace the cordless phone with a wired one or at least with a cordless phone with zero radiation in stand-by (see below).
  • Replace the wireless connection to the internet with a wired one using a 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). In order to do this you have to install a Powerline adapter into an outlet and connect it with the modem - you have to install the other Powerline adapters in the sockets of remote rooms where you want Internet access. You then connect them with your desktop, laptop or any device that has an ethernet port).
  • Some tablets or smartphones can also connect with an ethernet cable via an ethernet-mini USB adapter but you have to check with the manufacturer first.
  • In the case you don't intend to replace the wireless modem and DECT phone, we advise you to switch them off at night (or during sleep hours in general) and place them far away from other high use areas.
  • Turn off the wireless function of the laptop, tablet and mobile when it is not in use. 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. while at work). Although the range of the phone and the modem will be limited, it is possible that you will not have any problems with functionality, especially when the areas covered are small.
  • To reduce the electromagnetic fields that your genitals are subjected to when you keep your Wi-Fi enabled laptop or tablet next to your body, you can use 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).


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

Even if you are among the few people which do not use wireless phones or modems, you are just as likely to be exposed to these types of radiation from one of your neighbors. This is especially the case if you live in an apartment building (eg. you can do a simple search of wireless networks with your mobile phone, laptop or your PC). What else can you do?

  • You can locate your neighbors devices and see how much radiation they emit with a high frequency radiation meter.
  • If there are high radiation readings due to your neighbors, you can move your bed, 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 them.
  • You can paint your walls or ceiling with special shielding paint to reduce the radiation that enters your rooms.


  • The shielded bed canopies are a practical solution for your bedroom, as they are especially useful in buildings with dozens of wireless phones and Internet networks. 


More about electromagnetic shielding materials..


Are there low or zero radiation cordless phones?

In cordless telephones, low or "zero" radiation is limited to models such as the Gigaset ECO DECT, which support an ECO+ mode for zero radiation in standby mode.ECO DECT ZERO

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

The base station transmits the signal only when necessary, ie. while talking on the phone when the phone rings, when you are preparing for an outgoing call or when requesting information from the base station (eg. missed calls). When the device isn't being used, there is cessation of any communication from the base station to the handset.

This applies whether the handset is in the base station or away from the base station.

Some cordless Gigaset ECO DECT devices support an ECO mode for 80% less emission of radiation during use.

Gigaset continually releases new phone models that support ECO+ functions and ECO. Ask manufacturers or outlets for new and / or more economic models that emit no radiation in standby mode (ECO+ mode). If you want to check specifications of each phone, you can do so on the Gigaset website. Examples of phones that support ECO+ mode: A220 (economic model), AL110, AS180, A380, A580, C380, C590, C610, E490, S790, SL780 etc. You can find Gigaset phones in most electronic 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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