Most of us are living pretty close to cell towers, power lines, wifi routers, etc. But when are we getting too close to the radiation sources?
Let’s look at some of the most common radiation sources and how far we need to be away from them to be safe.
Abbreviations used in this article:
EMF: Electromagnetic Fields (All types of radiation)
RF: Radio Frequencies (Radiation from wifi, cell towers, and other wireless technologies)
ELF: Extreme Low Frequencies (Radiation from power lines)
mG: milliGauss (How we measure magnetic fields)
V/m: Volts over meters (How we measure RF radiation)
How Quickly Does Radiation Wear Off Over A Distance?
That aren’t many good things to say about radiation from EMF. But there is actually one.
When you doubled your distance to the radiation source you will lower the amount of radiation by four times.
This is known as the inverse-square law and it’s a principle that applies to all types of EMF radiation. So, as you can see, distance is really your friend when it comes to protecting yourself from the many types of EMF radiation such as RF radiation, ELF radiation, magnetic fields, electric fields, and dirty electricity.
You can read a good introduction here to the many different types of EMF radiation.
Want to learn everything you should know about EMF?
I can absolutely recommend the digital e-book The Non-Tinfoil Guide to EMFs" that you find here.
It's one of the first books I read about EMF and it's still my go-to guide. I can fully recommend it. It will give you a good introduction and base knowledge about EMF and it's actually also a quite entertaining piece!
What’s A Safe Distance To A CELL TOWER?
The FCC limit for RF radiation is 61.4 V/m. That is easy to maintain even if people live 100 ft. from a tower. Other countries such as Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland only allow between 6 and 21 V/m. That requires much longer distances like 500 yards or even a mile.
Cell towers are being put up everywhere. You probably have a few of them in your neighborhood that is way too close to your home. Things are only getting worse as we are quickly shifting from 4G to 5G networks.
Here are some readings I took outside our main entrance. I am standing around 50 yards (46 meters) from a cell tower:
As you can see, my EMF meter is picking up very strong and RF radiation at around 1.9 V/m. This is much higher than what most building biologists advise. They want us to stay within 0.2 V/m for daytime and 0.06 for nighttime.
But when you look at the guidelines from that FCC we are well below the 61.4 V/m that they have advised. These are numbers that were decided on more than 20 years ago and today we know much more about your math radiation and how it affects our health.
Unfortunately, we are stuck with the old numbers and regulations on this matter.
If you want to do your own readings you need an EMF meter like the one I’m holding above.
So, what’s really a safe distance to a cell tower?
Well, let’s take a look at how people are approaching this in other countries such as France. Many countries are taking down cell phone towers around kindergarten since schools and they are quickly being prohibited in more and more countries these years.
In India, Switzerland, Greece, Chile, New Zealand, & Austria they have decided not to put cell towers close to places like kindergarten, malls, schools, etc. The rules vary from country to country but the signal is clear, they don’t want to have the cell towers to close to the population.
It’s hard to say exactly what the right distances because the towers do not emit radiation with the same strength.
Here are some of the factors that affect the strength of the signal from a cell tower:
- The number of antennas:
Some cell towers have many transmitters mounted in order to create networks for several different mobile companies. You have probably noticed some of the very high-end tennis with more than five RF emitting devices mounted on them. It will typically look something like this:
This makes it very hard to guess how much is RF radiation is being admitted from a cell tower. Sometimes it will also be hard to see exactly how many transmitting devices that are being mounted on the antenna because they are disguised.
- The signal strength
Some cell towers are admitting very strong signals while other arms are mellow. This depends on how big a region the antenna and the transmitters are supposed to service.
- The type of network
Someone antennas are built for 4G while others are built for the 5G network. We are quickly changing everything into 5G which may affect all of the cell towers around us. This also makes things more problematic because some of these transmitting devices are really getting small so they are harder to spot and count.
How To Block The Signal
The biggest problem about cell towers and other external radiation sources is that they are outside your control. It’s much easier to control the radiation inside your house because you can decide to turn off your devices and remove the Wi-Fi signal.
So, what do you do if you have a cell tower right outside your window or across the street?
This is exactly how we have it in our city. We have a very strong south tower just across the street which is mounted at the top of the next building and it is pointing directly toward our street.
We have decided to block our wall that points in that direction with EMF protective paint. It’s a pretty drastic step to take but it’s actually not that hard to do. It can be done is a Saturday project. You can read more here about how the emf blocking paint works.
There are things to consider if you are putting this thing on your wall. First, you need to make sure that the paint is grounded by inserting a little metal plate that connects to a grounding rod. Next, you will need to limit your radiation sources inside your house because they will not get out through that wall.
So, you should definitely turn off your Wi-Fi altogether but you might have done that already if you’re considering EMF blocking paint.
What’s A Safe Distance To WIFI & ROUTERS?
You should always place your wifi routers and access points as far away from beds, sofas, and chairs as possible. When you are around 15 feet away the signal will be weaker and typically stay below 0.2 V/m which is advised by building biologists.
Wi-Fi routers are not as strong as cell towers. At least not the ones we are using inside our homes. So how do you protect yourself?
Most building biologist and EMF expert will strongly advise you to get rid of the Wi-Fi signal altogether. That is easy to do inside our homes because we can wire our laptops and computers. But this makes it impossible to get our tablets online and many people rely on this technology.
I have decided to place our Wi-Fi router at the far end corner off the living room and our sofa and chairs at the other end of the room. I am planning to move the router to the other side of the wall so it is placed at the entrance. There we will never stay for too long at the time and it’s a safer distance.
As soon as you place the Wi-Fi router at the other side of a solid brick wall you will lower where the radiation significantly. You can read more here about 9 different wall types and how they block Wi-Fi radiation.
Here are some numbers I measured around my wifi router yesterday:
|0 inches||6.7 V/m|
|1 inch||3.7 V/m|
|5 inches||2.6 V/m|
|1 foot||1.3 V/m|
|14 feet||0.2 V/m|
As you can see, I need to get 14 feet away from the source in order to get the ration low enough for building biologist to nod their heads. According to building biologist, we should get it down to 0.2 V/m.
But I should mention here that I do have cell towers just outside our house. We do not (yet) have the EMF shielding paint applied to the wall at the other side of the Wi-Fi router so I might also be measuring some of the radiation from the cell phone tower.
In fact, I’m pretty sure the numbers I measured the closest to the Wi-Fi router are being influenced by the cell phone tower radiation, to some extent. It’s simply not possible to do readings on the Wi-Fi router without also measuring the radiation from outside the window. This is always a problem around I will houses. But when you think about it, the radiation from the cell tower is always there so we simply need to take this into account as constant background radiation.
Let’s hope that changes in the future, but for now we have to live with cell towers being placed close to our homes.
How To Block The Wifi Signal
You can lower the RF radiation from your Wi-Fi router by putting up a protective shield around it. There are several products on the market for this.
Here are some great options at Amazon.
These are cases and shields you can place on top of your router to reduce the radiation:
The products we’ll tell you that they can block the radiation everything between 80- 100%. But you shouldn’t expect those high levels because there will be some RF radiation along with the wifi signal.
If you want to completely block off the RF radiation from the Wi-Fi routers and your access points you will need to turn them off. You can easily do this and just install ethernet cables everywhere you need to connect a computer or laptop.
Whenever you need to connect the phone you can do so over the cellular network. When you use your phone with a protective shield cover you will be able to limit the radiation almost 100%.
In order to do so, you need to avoid putting emf blocking paint on your walls. If you do that you won’t be able to receive the cellphone signal from outside your house. That’s why people typically limit the use of that paint to bedrooms where you don’t need any signal at all.
What’s A Safe Distance To Smart Meters?
Smart meters emit very strong RF radiation so you need at least 30-40 feet distance. This is often impossible as they are installed in our houses. You can lower the radiation with a smart meter shield to decrease the radiation to the 0.2 V/m at a 10 feet distance which is advised by building biologists.
Smart meters are emitting the same type of signal as our Wi-Fi routers. But they emit a much stronger signal several times per minute, for some models, and a couple of times per 5-minute intervals.
They do so in order to transmit data about your power usage and in order to synchronize and connect to other smart meters in your neighborhood.
I know, because we have one installed in the basement.
They should definitely not be inside our houses are mounted outside on the wall of our houses. If you cannot convince the electricity company to remove the thing you should cover it with a smart meter cover. Here are our recommendations for covers for smart meters.
They are pretty easy to recognize. You can start by looking at this list of manufacturers and see if one of these names pops up on your circular breaker panels:
- Elster Group
- General Electric
- Scheider Electric
You can see more here about what smart meters look like.
They are relatively easy to spot when you see all the pictures of what they look like.
What’s A Safe Distance To POWER LINE?
Power lines are another source of EMF radiation that tends to get too close to our homes, schools, and workplaces.
Powerlines send out what we call ELF radiation. This is radiation at the very low frequencies which are lower than the EMFs we find around Wi-Fi and cell towers. They are creating magnetic and electric fields around the powerlines and the generators that convert the power before it reaches our buildings from the power grid.
We have put all the information about safe distances to power lines in this article.
What About Home Appliances And Electronic Devices?
We also find a lot of EMF emitting devices inside our homes.
The biggest polluters here are typically refrigerators and freezers. They create strong magnetic feels because they have strong electric motors and transformers. It’s important to take precautions around these appliances and it’s easy to do.
Here you can read more about how to keep a safe distance to freezers and refrigerators.
The kitchen is where we find most of the strong magnetic fields. That are several EMF emitting transformers which you can read about here. These are a problem because they create a strong magnetic field just like the freezer and all refrigerators.
We also have a long list of electronic devices that can be problematic when we talk about electromagnetic fields.
Most of the devices here are wireless devices that connect to either our wifi routers or the cellular antennas outside. It’s a good idea to limit the number of wireless devices inside your home because these are typically emitting a constant level of radiation.
Here are some of the devices you should look for:
- Access Points
- Baby alarms
- Wireless cameras
- Wireless printers
- Smart TVs
- Smart meters
- Smart watches
- Car stereos
- Gaming consoles
- Remote controls
As you can see, it can take a while to tear your house of all the many EMF emitting devices. But it’s really important to take this seriously, especially if you have kids in your house.
What About Kids?
Kits are being exposed to RF radiation constantly. Whether we are talking about the countless smartphones, tablets, and Wi-Fi routers at school or the many devices they surround yourself with at home.
The problem with the kids and EMFs is that they have thinner skulls and bones and their bodies are generally smaller. This means that the EF radiation can quickly penetrate their heads when they place a cell phone right next to their ears.
But there’s another and more serious reason to be extra cautious with radiation around kids.
Kids are being exposed to EMF radiation from the day they are conceived in the womb. It’s impossible for mothers to stay in a complete radio silent and EMF-free environment during the pregnancy. And when they are born, people quickly place baby monitors and other RF emitting devices right next to them on a daily basis.
You probably start to see the pattern here.
Our kids are constantly being bombarded with EMF radiation and they probably will be for most of their lives. All this radiation adds up over time and they will be much more exposed over their 70-100 year-lifespan than you and I. So we need to protect them as early on as possible.
What’s A Safe Distance To A SUBSTATION?
Substations emit strong magnetic fields around them. When you are more than 15-20 yeards (14-18 meters) the ELF radiation should be below 1 mG for magnetic fields and 10 V/m for electric fields. These are the recommended guidelines set by building biologists.
Let’s first clarify what an electrical substation is in regard to radiation and EMF.
What’s the deal about the substations and how much radiation will they typically emit?
Substations are typically sheds or small brick buildings (even though they can also be harder to spot) that contain equipment to convert the power from power lines. You find transformers and switches inside the substation that will convert the power from power lines to be suitable for household electronics.
Much like the electric utility transformers you will find mounted directly on the power line system.
Cell towers, smart meters, and other strong radiation sources are crawling into our everyday lives every day.
So it’s important to pay attention here and know exactly what’s going on in our environment around our homes and houses. I hope this article was helpful and informative enough to teach you about how to keep a safe distance to the strongest EMF sources in our everyday lives.