How Does A Cell Phone Work?

Cell phones operate across a network of cellular sites called base stations.  When using a cellular phone, sound signals are transmitted in radio and microwave frequencies. Cell phones use a distant base unit, a cell phone antenna, as a means to receive and send communications in a laser-like beam of radiation to and from the cell phone. Smart phones often have 3 or 4 transmitters that transmit information.These phones transmit at frequencies in the microwave range of 700 to 2690 megahertz. Read more

Check your cell phone manual. It most likely says keep the phone some distance from your body. Yet, people commonly place cell phones in their pant pockets.

Research shows that wireless radiation creates biological changes in the brain. Dr. Nora Volkow, in her 2011 research in JAMA, demonstrated that when a cell phone is on and placed at a human ear, glucose in the brain is activated more as indicated in the picture on the left than when the cell phone is off. The right picture with the cell phone off  shows less glucose metabolism in the brain.

Since the World Health Organization determined that wireless radiation emitted from cell phones and other wireless products is a class 2b possible human carcinogen, in the same class as DDT and chloroform, it is important to use cell phones and other wireless products safely.

Recommendations for Safer Cell Phone Use

Minimize the time spent talking on a cell phone.

Use an air tube headset (different than a blue tooth) when talking.

Use the speakerphone.

Text information.

When not in use, keep your phone away from your body in a purse or bag.

Keep a cell phone off or away from your bedroom at night.

Allow older children to text and only speak on the phone in an emergency.

Don’t talk on a cell phone in a car, bus or train. Higher levels of radiofrequency radiation are required by the cell phone as it moves from and locks on one base station to the next antenna in your cell phone network.  Learn more.

Avoid wearing metal-rimmed glasses when speaking on a cell phone.  Metal attracts radiofrequency radiation that can be absorbed by the eye.

Keep cell phones away from small children.

Don't talk on your cell phone when it has weak signal strength.

Don't text and drive.  

Read about the Lack of Health and Safety Testing for Cell Phones







You most likely have many wireless devices in your home such as cordless phones, Wi-Fi, cell phones, laptops, tablets, baby monitors, wireless game consoles, and a smart meter. However, you may unknowingly be exposed to high levels of wireless radiation in your home. Since biological effects have been reported with long-term exposure to wireless radiation, you may be interested in ways to reduce your exposure levels. The Center for Safer Wireless can help you reduce your exposure and maintain a safer home for you and your family.

Be aware that new appliances are equipped with wireless radiation transmitters which can increase wireless radiation in your home.

In 2011, the World Health Organization classified wireless radiation emitted from wireless devices as a class 2b possible human carcinogen. Other toxins in this class include DDT and chloroform.

Read the research demonstrating health effects associated with exposure to wireless radiation.

Learn how to use wireless devices more safely.


Wi-Fi is a class of wireless local area networks based on IEEE 802.11 standards. Wi-Fi operates in 2.4, 3.6 and 5 GHz frequency bands and uses radiofrequency radiation to make connections.

Many office buildings, libraries, schools and homes use Wi-Fi technology to connect home and office equipment on wireless networks. When Wi-Fi is on, there is pulsing microwave radiation present regardless of whether a computer is on or being used. Wireless radiation from Wi-Fi travels through most kinds of matter including walls, furniture, pets, and people, as well as into your neighbors’ homes.

Since microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth also use the 2.4 GHz frequency, Wi-Fi can interfere with these products.

Wi-Fi enabled products entered the marketplace with no prior health trials, like cell phones.  We don’t know the long-term health implications of using Wi-Fi. Environmental impacts may not manifest themselves for 30-40 years.

People with electrosensitivity cannot be around Wi-Fi because it intensifies their adverse health conditions.

Read How Wi-Fi Affects Our Bodies



Tablets and ereaders emit wireless radiation. They were not tested for long-term health and safety when approved for sale. There are as many as 5 transmitters inside tablets.  The transmitters don't power down when not in active use. For instance, when an iPad is on and next to you on a sofa, you are still exposed to 5 transmitters emitting wireless radiation.

Follow these tips to use tablets and ereaders more safely.

1. Place the device on a table or pillow to allow more distance between you and the tablet when in use.  Eight inches off of the body is recommended.  iPads should be placed in portrait mode with the Home button at the bottom of the display, or in landscape mode with the cellular antenna away from your body or other objects.

2. Do not use the device on your lap.

3. Turn off Wi-Fi and/or internet connectivity on the tablet when not needed, such as playing downloaded games.  Turn on Airplane mode.  Also, turn off Bluetooth.

4. Make sure the device is off when not in use.

5. Keep the tablet away from you when charging it.

6. Do not use a tablet an hour or less before bedtime to reduce the chances of insomnia.

7. When using an ereader, download the book then turn off wireless when reading the book.

8. Do not hold the device when downloading. 

9. Use the device for 20 minutes then take a break with your eyes.  Focus away from the device for a minute or so.


 Today's Laptops Are Wireless Whether You Need It or Not

Most laptops sold today have wireless transmitters and antennas that emit radiofrequency radiation to transfer data.  The computer is configured to use this wireless technology whether you operate a wireless or cabled computer network.  If you use cable access to your computer network, the wireless transmitter in the laptop could still be enabled and operating.  You must disable the wireless function if you do not want to use it.

Similar to Wi-Fi, cordless phones, ereaders, cell phones, and tablets, wireless laptops send and receive millions of bits of information via the laptop’s wireless card to a receiving unit such as a Wi-Fi router. These laptops also emit other forms of electromagnetic radiation such as alternating current (AC) magnetic fields and electric fields.

Concerns about Wireless Laptops

People often place laptops on their laps when using these computers.  Yet, the bottom of a typical laptop emits high amounts of AC magnetic fields.  For example, AC magnetic fields at the bottom of a Fujitsu Lifebook Model A6025 measure 35 milligauss. According to the Building Biology Evaluation Guidelines for alternating current magnetic fields, measurements above 5 milligauss are of extreme concern.

Placing a laptop on your lap may reduce fertility among men.


Research on motility of spermatozoa when exposed to the radiation from laptops has been released from Nascentis, a reproductive medicine center located in Córdoba, Argentina.  Conrado Avendaño, a biochemist specializing in andrology, in collaboration with Ariela Mata, reproductive biology specialist and César Sánchez Sarmiento, director of the medical center, found that when spermatozoa are exposed to radiation from a laptop the spermatozoa’s motility is impaired.  When researchers inspected the sperm’s DNA integrity, they found sperm cells with fragmented (broken) DNA.  This groundbreaking research is important because previous research on reproductive medicine found that damaged DNA molecules of sperm cause problems in fertilization and embryonic development.  Though the authors suggest more research in this area, they recommend that men keep laptops off of their legs.



Today Tonight segment from television show in Australia tests radiation levels of cell phones. 9 minute video from August 2008.

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