Impact of wireless networks on human health


In the modern days wireless technology has become indispensible and is a part of our every-day lives. We have it with remote controls, video cameras, baby monitors and of course mobile phones and wireless internet connections. Despite all its benefits many are concerned about its influence on our health.


Wireless computer networks have become commonplace in our environment. Wireless hotspots are found in many public areas and, increasingly, in homes and schools. Wireless networks use low-powered radiofrequency (RF) transmitters called access points to communicate with other low-powered transmitters called client cards that are located in users’ laptop computers or other portable equipment. Nearly all of these wireless networks use Wi-Fi technology, although other wireless technologies are coming into use as well.[1]
Mobile telephony is now commonplace around the world. This wireless technology relies upon an extensive network of fixed antennas, or base stations, relaying information with radiofrequency (RF) signals. Over 1.4 million base stations exist worldwide and the number is increasing significantly with the introduction of third generation technology.

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There has been concern about possible health consequences from exposure to the RF fields produced by wireless technologies. This fact sheet reviews the scientific evidence on the health effects from continuous low-level human exposure to base stations and other local wireless networks.

Health concerns

To date, the only health effect from RF fields identified in scientific reviews has been related to an increase in body temperature (> 1 °C) from exposure at very high field intensity found only in certain industrial facilities, such as RF heaters. The levels of RF exposure from base stations and wireless networks are so low that the temperature increases are insignificant and do not affect human health.
In fact, due to their lower frequency, at similar RF exposure levels, the body absorbs up to five times more of the signal from FM radio and television than from base stations.


Scientific evidence on the distribution of cancer in the population can be obtained through carefully planned and executed epidemiological studies. Over the past 15 years, studies examining a potential relationship between RF transmitters and cancer have been published. These studies have not provided evidence that RF exposure from the transmitters increases the risk of cancer.
Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.[2]
Also, the results, which are detailed in the Health Physics paper, show that in all cases the measured Wi-Fi signal levels were very far below international safety limits, specifically, those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP 2002). These limits were designed to protect against all known hazards of RF energy. [3]
The World Health Organization has acknowledged that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are influencing the environment (but not people), and that some people are worried about possible effects. In response to public concern, the World Health Organization established the International EMF Project in 1996 to assess the scientific evidence of possible health effects of EMF in the frequency range from 0 to 300 GHz. They have stated that although extensive research has been conducted into possible health effects of exposure to many parts of the frequency spectrum, all reviews conducted so far have indicated that exposures are below the limits recommended in the ICNIRP (1998) EMF guidelines, covering the full frequency range from 0–300 GHz, and do not produce any known adverse health effect.[4]


After conducting numerous researches on the subject of impact of wireless networks on human health, the same conclusion was reached: there is no convincing evidence that exposure to RF causes any health problems. However, there are some limitations as to how high a level of frequency people can be exposed to and it should be respected.