6 Sources of Radiation that You Might Have in Your Home

If you look around your home, you’ll probably see a lot of electronic devices. As you might already know from reading our blog, all of these devices emit electromagnetic radiation of differing frequencies. Being exposed to radiation is harmful to our health as proven by scientific research. You can find more information about this here and here.

Now we would like to take a closer look at some of the sources of radiation where you live. This might come as a surprise to you but it’s not only laptops and smartphones that emit electromagnetic fields (EMF). Nowadays, television sets can be connected to the Internet via WiFi and some TV remote controls use a Bluetooth connection. All of the technology surrounding us is emits more radiation than we are aware of. Remember to use electronic devices carefully. 

 

Cordless baby monitors

Baby monitors help us to take care of infants, they’re useful. They enable you to hear your baby breathing or crying. You’ll be able to tell when they’ve woken up from their nap, even if you’re in another room, but do you know how they work?

Some parents are concerned about the impact of baby monitors on their child’s health because infant intercom devices consist of a transmitter and a receiver (or two transceivers) that constantly emit high-frequency radiation, most of the time they’re wireless.

Baby monitors are located indoors and when placed within shorter distances between one another, their radiation is more powerful. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that RF exposure “may be more hazardous for the fetus and child due to their greater susceptibility, prudent avoidance is one approach to keeping children’s exposure as low as possible”.[1] Based on this statement, it isn’t a good idea to put an electronic device emitting radiation next to or even near the head of a toddler, as most parents do with baby monitors.

Scientific research has proved that children exposed to radiation from a young age might be more likely to become hyperactive in the future[2][3]as their nervous systems are still developing and it should be protected. It’s advised that you remain aware of the possible harm certain devices can do to infant’s brains, don’t put baby monitors close to them.

If you need to use these electronic devices, here are some tips: Do not attach them to the baby’s body as this is too dangerous (radiation is absorbed by the skin). You should keep them at a reasonable distance from the crib. Some baby monitors have a voice communication option but it’s best not to use it. While you’re talking on this device, radiation emissions are increased because it works on a higher power. Children are more vulnerable; you can read about their exposure to radiation here.

Smart appliances

You might be astonished by the sheer number of home appliances which can be controlled by your smartphone. This kind of technology is becoming more and more popular in a lot of homes. On the one hand, it is convenient as it makes things faster but on the other hand, it means you might find yourself bathing in the radiation emitted by WiFi and Bluetooth systems.

We can purchase smart fridges with large displays showing the products you need to buy or what’s inside the fridge without opening the door. They even help you make an order at the nearest grocery shop. There are robotic bartenders who can make you a drink of your choice via the use of a mobile application. Of course, some coffee makers now work that way too. You can turn things on and off with your smartphone whilst you lie in bed and the fresh coffee will wait for you in the kitchen. There are smart bulbs and smart glasses helping you control the amount of light in each room. All of them are working via a wireless connection.

When you put it all together, you get quite an impressive radiation level, you’ve not only exposed yourself but your family too. Consider going back to making coffee and shopping manually as you used to for most of your life. Do you really need all of those appliances? You should remember what’s more important: your family. Their health depends on many factors, including their living conditions. What is convenient could easily turn out to be an additional risk factor. It is good to think about future adverse health effects as radiation could affect yours and your family’s health even after years of being exposed.

Smart home technology

Smart homes are a form of modern technology which can help you manage your household better. You won’t have to think about whether or not you have turned off lights or locked the doors. With this system, you can control your house via smartphone or tablet, regardless of your location at any particular moment. It sounds like a great idea and an improvement in everyday life. But is it safe? As you might have guessed, the system works on Bluetooth and WiFi technology so it increases the level of radiation in your home. You probably already have laptops, cordless phones, and WiFi routers at your place, they are emitting radiation constantly.

Do you really need to expose yourself and your family to an even greater amount of radiation? 

EMFs emitted from smart home technology is considered to be of a lower frequency but its level is not as important as the amount of time we are exposed to it. With this technology working in the background all the time on a grand scale, imagine that you are sitting in your living room, talking on your smartphone, while your laptop is constantly connected to the Internet via WiFi and somewhere nearby you have a tablet with the latest news. Moreover, you could use one of these electronic devices to control your smart home technology. That is a lot, don’t you think?

People exposed to radiation have trouble falling asleep. That is why you need to remember to keep smartphones and tablets away from your bedroom. With smart home technology, putting the electronic devices in another room won’t help because the system covers the whole of the house. It is not possible to turn it off for a night because it is supposed to be working all the time. Deactivated is not useful. Other problems caused by being exposed to radiation are a lack of focus and tiredness. Too much radiation might make your home an unhappy place. Think twice before buying, do you really need more tech gadgets in your house?

Tablets and e-readers

In almost every household there is at least one tablet. People are now used to checking the news on the Internet or on social media using these kinds of devices. In terms of emitting radiation, they are no different than laptops or smartphones. The main problem is that children use tablets to play games and you should be aware that they are advised not to use any electronic devices at all.

Parents need to be more careful about letting children play with touchscreens. At least, if you need to give your kid a tablet for entertainment, check that it is on airplane mode with no WiFi connection and it is not plugged into a power source so as not to expose children to unnecessary radiation. It is hazardous to their health in the long term because they are more vulnerable, We wrote about it here. In some countries, mobile phones targeted at children are prohibited (for example in France[4] or in Belgium[5]).

Young children shouldn’t get used to mobile technology too soon. In Taiwan, there is even a law which requires that parents control their children’s time spent on tablets or mobile phones. For children under the age of two, it is prohibited to use electronic devices at all. If this is not followed, parents are obliged to pay a fine. This is a unique law regulation; in other countries, authorities decided to educate parents on the matter. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended limiting kids’ screen time exposure to a minimum[6] as it has an impact on their mental development.

E-readers emit low-frequency radiation and while they are popular mostly among adults, people need to be aware that these devices should be used with the same caution as smartphones. They usually have a lower SAR value than most popular mobile phones but the SAR value of an e-reader is almost as high as that of a tablet. It is not good to use these devices before bedtime because it can affect your sleep. It is better to switch them to offline mode and use the Internet connection only when necessary.

Microwave ovens

Microwave ovens are used in the kitchen when we have no time to cook and need to eat something quickly or to reheat a dinner. Moreover, a lot of people consider microwaved popcorn as one of the best snacks. What is important to remember is that microwave ovens emit radio waves with frequencies ranging from around 300 million cycles per second (300 MHz) to 3 GHz and if you read our blog carefully you already know it is not healthy to be exposed to radiation. Read more about this in our earlier blog post here.

Microwave ovens supposedly leak radiation even if they have a metal mesh to protect the waves from coming out. We read the opinions of professor Magda Havas who tested over a dozen of the most popular brands. She said that every single one leaked radiation. Perhaps you have also heard that it is not advised to use a microwave oven for long periods of time or to look at it while it is working.  You should follow this advice and try not to use a microwave oven when any person is in its vicinity. It has one of the highest amounts of radiation among items you might own in your house.

Smoke detectors

Smoke detectors, something everyone should have in their household, also emits radiation but in tiny amounts. They use a radioactive isotope, americium-241, to alert if there is smoke in the air. Americium-242 emits alpha particles and beta radiation so it is important to place a smoke detector in a place where it could eventually accumulate an isotope with no harm in landfills. This device has the lowest radiation level among all listed above so there is no need to worry. Unless you break apart your smoke detector and inhale the radioactive source, you are safe. Do not remove your smoke detector.

If you are interested in the specific doses of radiation you get in your house, you can easily measure them using a home radiation detector. That way you’ll know in which areas of your home you are exposed to greater doses of radiation. Radiation detectors are not cheap but it is good to know about the radiation levels in your home, so it could be something to consider in future.

As you know, we are exposed to radiation on a daily basis: when you are on the streets, you are exposed to radiation from all the WiFi routers nearby, GSM towers and the hundreds of mobile phones which pedestrians have. That is why there is no need to increase the doses of radiation in your own home. It is not like you should throw away all the electronic devices from your household, that’s not necessary. But you should use them reasonably and carefully. Some of them are constantly working if you do not remember to unplug them when they are not in use.

Try to reconsider how you can reduce radiation exposure in your household. This is not hard and it would not inconvenience you but it might help you feel better and healthier.

 

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Sources:

If you want to keep up to date with us and our articles (or follow what we’re doing in general) then you can find us via Facebook: Slow Digital

[1]WHO (2002) Children’s Health and Environment: A Review of Evidence: A Joint Report from the European Environmental Agency and The World Health Organization [Online] http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/98251/E75518.pdf (Accessed 23/08/2017)

[2]Baby Centre (2013) Is screen time good or bad for babies and children? [Online] https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a25006035/is-screen-time-good-or-bad-for-babies-and-children (Accessed 23/08/2017)

[3]AAP (2016) American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use [Online] https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx (Accessed 23/08/2017)

[4]LegiFrance (2010) Article 183 [Online] https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexteArticle.do;jsessionid=1E9805FB777CC9228F41FE523855508D.tpdjo14v_1?idArticle=JORFARTI000022471504&cidTexte=JORFTEXT000022470434&dateTexte=29990101&categorieLien=id (Accessed 23.08.2017)

[5]Health Belgium (2014) New rules for selling mobile phones: Practical guide for sellers and distributors [Online] https://www.health.belgium.be/sites/default/files/uploads/fields/fpshealth_theme_file/19096044/Guide%20mobile%20phone%20v5.pdf (Accessed 23.08.2017)

[6]AAP (2016) American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use [Online]  https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-recommendations-for-childrens-media-use.aspx (Accessed 23.08.2017)