Wireless routers have made our lives much easier by enabling us to connect to the internet from anywhere without dealing with messy cables.
They’re almost everywhere, from your home to your office and even on planes, transmitting and receiving data.
Does a wireless router emit dangerous radiation?
Can it cause cancer or other health issues?
Is it safe to have a wireless router around?
In this article, we’ll discuss whether wireless waves harm your health and how far away you should stay from them.
We’ll also cover electromagnetic hypersensitivity and give you a few tips on how to reduce the radiation you get from your wireless router.
Is It Safe To Sit Next To A Wireless Router?
Yes, sitting next to a wireless router is safe because the radio waves they emit are too weak to mutate your cells and cause health issues.
There have been numerous studies on the subject, but none have provided legitimate evidence that WiFi is harmful.
For a wireless router to cause damage, it must give off about 50 to 100 times the RF power it’s built for.
Wireless routers use frequencies between 2.4 and 5 GHz, which are outside the ionizing radiation range and cannot damage your cells.
The amount of radiation you receive from the sun every day is much higher than the radiation a wireless router puts out.
The sun’s UV light is ionizing and can damage your cells and cause cancer.
Similarly, the microwave in your kitchen is at least 700 watts.
In contrast, a wireless router only emits less than 1 watt of RF power.
That amount is about the same energy emitted by almost all wireless devices, including wireless headphones and speakers.
If you’re not concerned about wearing headphones, you shouldn’t worry about sitting next to a wireless router either.
In the last three decades, we have gone from having no WiFi to having it everywhere, but cancer levels haven’t exploded.
Cancer levels would have shot up in recent years if the energy coming from a wireless router were harmful.
However, if you still don’t feel safe sitting next to a router, you can get some distance from it.
When you get away from a wireless router, the energy you receive drops with the square of the distance.
If you double the distance between yourself and the router, the energy levels drop by four.
Also, if you’re worried that wireless frequencies might affect your sleep, you can keep wireless routers and all electronic devices out of your bedroom.
Another effective option is turning off your wireless router when you’re not using it.
Some people claim to have feelings of discomfort when sitting near a wireless router.
Although scientists have found no sign of actual harm, it’s better to move away until you don’t have that feeling anymore.
Does A Wireless Router Emit Dangerous Radiation?
A wireless router operates by emitting radiation, but its radiation isn’t dangerous for your health.
Most people think about cancer when they hear the word “radiation,” but they don’t know that it’s just the scientific term for “energy moving through space.”
There are two types of radiation based on wavelength: ionizing and non-ionizing.
Only the former is dangerous for your health.
The radiation from your wireless router is non-ionizing and cannot damage cells and tissues.
Let’s consider each type separately.
1. Ionizing Radiation
Ionizing radiation results from knocking electrons out of their standard orbit and can break the molecules that make up materials.
It can damage human DNA and lead to cancer.
Whether you get a heavy dose of ionizing radiation at once or a gradual exposure over a long period, it can mutate your cells and increase your risk for cancer.
Examples of ionizing radiation include gamma radiation, x-ray radiation, ultraviolet, and nuclear radiation.
The burn you feel in your skin after prolonged exposure to the sun isn’t because of the heat.
It’s because the sun’s UV rays damage the DNA of your skin cells.
2. Non-Ionizing Radiation
Non-ionizing radiation, on the other hand, doesn’t have as much energy and can’t break electrons out of their circuits.
Visible light, infrared radiation, RF signals, and radio waves are examples of non-ionizing radiation.
You can find them in many of the devices we use daily.
This type of radiation just passes through objects or converts to heat when it hits them without changing the object’s composition.
The heat a WiFi network can cause when hitting your body is so small that it’s not even measurable.
Over the past 30 years, about 25,000 articles have been published about the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation.
Still, none has provided any evidence that WiFi is harmful.
The World Health Organization (WHO), which is overly cautious about making judgments, also confirms these results.
The radio waves from a router work in the same 2.4–5GHz electromagnetic spectrum as microwaves.
These waves deteriorate rapidly and lose their strength when traveling away from the router.
Considering the amount of electromagnetic radiation you receive from an electronic device, wireless routers emit much less than other sources.
The maximum output of a wireless router is usually 1W, while your cellphone can emit up to 2W.
What Is The Safe Sitting Distance From A Wireless Radiaton?
Wireless routers use very weak radio signals that are non-ionizing and harmless, so you can easily sit at any distance from them and still be safe.
WiFi signals follow the inverse square law, meaning the further the distance from the source, the less the energy.
If you double the distance from a wireless router, you’d be exposed to a quarter of its energy.
Even at a close distance, however, the energy intensity is still relatively low.
The intensity of the WiFi signal is about 100,000 times less than the radiation coming from a microwave oven.
Also, the radiation you get from the phone in your hand and the laptop on your thighs is much more than the radiation from a wireless router that’s probably far away.
Radio frequencies aren’t harmful in themselves.
Over-exposure to high levels of them might cause health issues.
Every electronic device in your house, including electric ovens, toasters, walkie-talkies, and games, give off some form of radio emission.
As long as you’re not sitting next to a wireless router or using any radiation-emitting device 24/7, you’re not over-exposed and will be safe.
The safe distance from a source of radio frequencies is calculated based on how much power they put out and what frequencies they operate on.
In the US, this information is usually available on the instructions that come with any wireless device you purchase.
Although there has been no compelling evidence that wireless routers cause health issues, it’s recommended to not have them closer than necessary.
Also, it’s better not to be exposed to WiFi signals from different routers simultaneously, even if they’re far away.
Does Sitting Next To A Wireless Router Cause Cancer?
Over the past two decades, many scientists have examined a potential relationship between RF transmitters and cancer.
Still, none of them has provided any evidence that RF exposure from the transmitters can cause cancer.
Similarly, long-term animal studies haven’t shown that exposure to RF fields, even at levels much higher than those emitted by wireless routers, can increase cancer risk.
Therefore, there’s no correlation between sitting next to a wireless router and getting cancer.
Also, several human and animal studies have examined brain wave patterns, cognition, and behavior after exposure to RF fields, such as radiation from cellphones.
Still, none of them has identified any adverse effects.
These studies used RF exposures about 1,000 times higher than those you get from wireless networks and base stations.
Sitting next to a wireless router can’t cause brain damage either.
Is It Safe To Have A Wireless Router In Your Bedroom?
Wireless routers give off non-ionizing RF energy that can’t damage your cells or change your DNA.
The radio waves from your router can only convert to heat when they hit you, so they don’t cause health issues.
There’s no scientific evidence to confirm WiFi signals adversely affect your sleep or overall health.
Therefore, it’s safe to have a wireless router in your bedroom.
However, removing wireless routers and other electronic devices from your bedroom will improve your overall health.
Having a cell phone on your bedside table and a strong WiFi connection can tempt you to browse the net or check your emails while in bed and cause sleep deprivation.
Science has proven sleep deprivation can damage your brain tissue, but it hasn’t confirmed that radio energy does the same.
Even if you keep your wireless router out of your bedroom for the wrong reason, you can still enjoy its benefits.
Some people relate morning anger to WiFi signals and claim they were cured by turning off the wireless router at night.
However, there has been no scientific evidence to prove this claim.
Although there’s no legitimate evidence to prove sleeping next to a wireless router is harmful, it doesn’t mean nothing can go wrong.
If you have to keep your wireless router in your bedroom, put it in an alternate location and turn it off at night for extra safety.
After all, studies on this subject are still ongoing, and we’ve seen scientists change their minds before.
It might be wise to take some precautions and not sleep next to a wireless router at night.
Turning off your wireless router at night will also stop its blinking lights which might cause you discomfort.
Is It Safe To Sit Next To A Wireless Router During Pregnancy?
Based on the past research on the potential biological effects of RF exposure, there has been no proven evidence that exposure to wireless routers can have any adverse short-term or long-term health effects on a fetus.
According to the WHO, exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields, including radiation from a wireless router, doesn’t increase the risk of malformations, spontaneous abortions, congenital diseases, and low birth weight.
Here, low level means intensity below the standard exposure limits devised by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, endorsed by WHO.
Is It Safe For Children To Sit Next To A Wireless Router?
So far, many scientific studies have confirmed that wireless routers are safe for everyone, including children.
However, some people claim that WiFi has impacted their children negatively and caused them to be angry, aggressive, or even depressed.
These problems are probably related to other medical or psychological conditions or brought on by factors in their physical environment.
However, to ensure whether your wireless router affects your children, do some simple experiments at home.
You can turn off the router at night or when not in use and see if your child’s comfort varies.
If there’s no change, consult a doctor.
What Is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity?
With technological advancements, the number and diversity of electromagnetic field (EMF) sources we use daily have increased.
These sources include wireless routers, cellphones, and computers which we can’t live without.
Although these devices have made our lives much easier and richer, there are concerns about possible health risks caused by their EMF emissions.
Some individuals have reported various health problems they believed were due to EMF exposure.
This sensitivity to EMF is aptly called electromagnetic hypersensitivity or EHS.
Some individuals complaining about EHS report mild symptoms and try to avoid electromagnetic fields as much as possible.
Others are severely affected and have to completely change their lifestyles.
EHS is characterized by various non-specific symptoms that differ from individual to individual and aren’t part of any recognized syndrome.
The most common symptoms include redness and burning sensation on the skin, fatigue, concentration difficulties, nausea, dizziness, digestion issues, and heart problems.
Most studies show that EHS individuals can’t detect EMF exposure more than others.
Also, well-controlled double-blind studies have shown that symptoms aren’t related to EMF exposure.
Some experts believe that EHS symptoms might be due to environmental factors unrelated to EMF, such as poor indoor air quality and stress.
They may also be due to pre-existing psychological conditions and worrying about EMF health risks rather than exposure.
EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria, and it isn’t clear that it represents a single disease.
However, whatever its cause, the symptoms are real and can be quite disabling.
Rather than reducing or eliminating EMF around the patient, the treatment should focus on medical and psychological conditions.
It should also aim to identify and reduce the physical factors in his environment that might contribute to the symptoms.
How Can You Minimize Radiation From A Wireless Router?
WiFi enables us to access information all the time and has become a necessity in our lives, so doing away with it isn’t an option.
Still, if you’re worried about its impact on your health, however small it is, you can minimize the amount of radiation you receive from your wireless router.
1. Turn The Wireless Router Off
Your wireless router won’t emit radiation when it gets no power, so you can turn it off at night and whenever you’re not using it.
Also, many wireless routers can be programmed to switch on and off at desired times.
However, this might reduce the lifespan of your router.
2. Use WiFi Router Guards
Wireless router guards or cages help block out a good proportion of the radiation from your router.
However, they can affect your signal strength.
3. Don’t Use Signal Boosters
WiFi repeaters and signal boosters give a more expansive network and increase radiation.
If you keep your coverage to a minimum and use fewer devices, you’ll receive less radiation.
4. Keep Your Wireless Router At A Distance
The radiation you receive from your wireless router decreases the more distance you get away from it.
Therefore, putting your router a few meters away can minimize the radiation you get.