Mobile Radiation Harmful or Not ?

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An excerpt from Sheshadri K in reply to an innocent question by a layman.

While I agree that wireless routers emit radiation/RF waves, I would like to dispel any fear of its affect on infants or humans in general. Let us look at things from a practical perspective and then it will be clear why this fear is unfounded and baseless. If anyone is interested in the technicalities involved, read on.

First off, many/most of us have at least one cell phone in their homes (I salute the one who doesn’t). Though this doesn’t apply to infants, a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation will tell you that the radiation is in the range of roughly 1 to 1.25 watts. And even when one is not talking on the phone, the radiations from the towers are still making it to the safety of my bedroom, which I can’t avoid. Neither can a 2-month-old infant, for that matter.

A common appliance in modern homes: The microwave. It can easily emit up to a couple of watts despite the presence of a door. No, the magnetron itself has a 1000+ watt power, but that is contained inside the unit. However, no door or enclosure is 100% guaranteed to insulate against microwave radiation.

We have cordless phones in our homes. Most of them operate in the 2.4/5 GHz range. They constantly emit radiation to be able to work – yes, even when a call is not in progress, a handset has to keep communicating with the base unit, just like a cell phone.

Now let me come to the issue of the kind of radiation itself. Wireless devices emit radiation which is part of the spectrum that consists of infra-red radiation, visible light, and other rays like ultraviolet and X rays. However, as any doctor worth his/her salt can attest to, it is only the X ray, UV and gamma rays that can cause mutations and damage to DNA – think cancer. 

An often-overlooked fact is that the power of a transmitting device falls inversely as the square of the distance. 

I would like put to rest all speculation on the ill-effects of radiation from this source. We have more powerful sources of radiation in our lives, some natural (like the sun) and some man-made like our Vividh Bharti radio station (about 15,000 watts) and OTA TV transmission (about 10,000 watts for a low-power transmitter).

The only way to escape from radiation (where taking off to the boonies is not an option) is to have a kind of magnetic shield, but that doesn’t help much, especially when the danger is imaginary and the solution, impractical.

And lest I forget, the so-called “high-power” mode of wireless routers muster barely 100 to 200 milliwatts (i.e. one-tenth of a watt) of output !

Enjoy your wireless devices in peace !


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