Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

04 March 2020

Electromagnetic Radiation due to Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies: How safe are we?

Electromagnetic Radiation due to Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies: How safe are we?

Naren, Elhence A, Chamola V. Guizani M. Electromagnetic Radiation due to Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies: How safe are we? IEEE Access. 4:1-21. 2019. DOI 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2976434

Open access paper: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=9016183


The electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitted out of wireless communication modules in various electronic devices have been identified by researchers as biologically hazardous to humans as well as other living beings. Different countries have different regulations to limit the radiation density levels caused by these devices. The radiation absorbed by an individual depends on various factors such as the device they use, the proximity of use, the type of antenna, the relative orientation of the antenna on the device, and many more. Several standards exist which have tried to quantify the radiation levels and come up with safe limits of EMR absorption to prevent human harm. In this work, we determine the radiation concern levels in several scenarios using a handheld radiation meter by correlating the findings with several international standards, which are determined based on thorough scientific evidence. This study also analyzes the EMR from common devices used in day to day life such as smartphones, laptops, Wi-Fi routers, hotspots, wireless earphones, smartwatches, Bluetooth speakers and other wireless accessories using a handheld radio frequency radiation measurement device. 

The procedure followed in this paper is so presented that it can also be utilized by the general public as a tutorial to evaluate their own safety with respect to EMR exposure. We present a summary of the most prominent health hazards which have been known to occur due to EMR exposure. We also discuss some individual and collective human-centric protective and preventive measures that can be undertaken to reduce the risk of EMR absorption. This paper analyses radiation safety in pre-5G networks and uses the insight gained to raise valuable concerns regarding EMR safety in the upcoming 5G networks.

Excerpt re 5G

Due to the extremely high density of BSs [base stations, i.e., cell antenna sites], street light access points, separate indoor BSs, relays and Massive MIMO [multiple input multiple output] technology employed in 5G, a person will be exposed to very high levels of PFDs [power flux densities], whether he is indoors or outdoors, or whether or not he is using any wireless devices in close proximity. In other words, it may be suspected that even the ambient PFD which a person is exposed to in most situations throughout the day may fall under the category of ‘Severe Concern’ according to the Building Biology Standard, ‘Far above normal’ according to the AMA [Austrian Medical Association] standards, and may be higher than the precautionary action level recommended by the BioInitiative Guidelines. If 5G networks are deployed without careful analysis of expected exposure levels, almost all people in the area of coverage may be exposed to dangerous levels of PFD, the outcomes of which, in the near future, may turn out to be calamitous.


People should be made aware that the EMR from using day to day cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices are harmful to human health. The levels of radiation observed in most cases such as phone calls, internet browsing on laptops and smartphones, using wireless routers and hotspots, Bluetooth smartwatches and smartphones are unsafe when compared with radiation limits determined by medical bodies. According to current medical literature, various adverse health effects from exposure to RF EMR have been well documented. For now, wireless technologies must be avoided as much as possible. New and innovative wired solutions which provide the same level of user-friendliness should be encouraged. Intervention of government and medical bodies with the main purpose of protecting human health is of utmost necessity to ensure good economic development without compromising the health of the population. Countries must adopt the guidelines suggested by medical bodies which take into account both thermal and non-thermal effects of EMR. At present, all individuals must take preventive and protective measures to protect themselves from harmful EMR exposure.

TABLE 7: Recommendations for using Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices:

Cell Phones/ Smartphones on cellular networks
1. Network: For internet connectivity, prefer Wi-Fi. If not available, prefer to use 4G networks for both calling and browsing/data streaming.
2. Calling: Use wired headphones and keep the phone at least 1m away while calling.
3. Browsing/ Video Streaming: Keep device on a table/platform at least 50 cm away

Wi-Fi Devices
1. Prefer smartphones over laptops for casual work such as e-mails/ browsing.
2. Keep smartphone/laptop on a table and operate from an arm’s distance (50cm).
3. Avoid keeping smartphone in the pocket while it is connected to a Wi-Fi router.
4. Avoid keeping laptop on the lap while it is connected to a Wi-Fi router.
5. Wireless (Adhoc transfer) : Stay at least 1m away from both sender and receiver.
6. 4G Wireless Hotspot: Stay at least 2m away from the device while it is active.

Bluetooth Devices
1. Speakers: Keep speakers at least 25 cm away and connected smartphones at least 50 cm away.
2. Smartwatch: Avoid unless absolutely necessary.
3. Earphones: Avoid unless absolutely necessary

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.