What Is RF Radiation? Simple Answers & Practical Tips

A lot of people are learning about radiation from cellphones, tablets, wifi, etc. these days. This is what we call RF radiation which stands for radio frequencies.

What Is RF Radiation?
RF is an abbreviation for “Radio Frequencies” which is one type of EMF radiation. The RF radiation comes from radio signals and wireless technologies like wifi, Bluetooth, and cell phone signals. Microwaves are also counted as RF radiation.

As you can see, the RF radiation is EVERYWHERE.

This is exactly why we need to pay attention and educate ourselves a little bit on the long-term effects of this specific type of EMF.

Abbreviations used in this article:
EMF: Electromagnetic Fields (All types of radiation)
RF: Radio Frequencies (Radiation from wifi, cell towers, and other wireless technologies
V/m: Volts over meters (How we measure RF radiation and electric fields)

So, What Exactly Is RF Radiation?

RF radiation explained

RF Radiation is radiation waves that come from our wireless technologies such as radio signals, smartphones, wifi, microwaves, etc.

The reason why this is so important to talk about it is that the amount of radiation we are exposed to is exploding these days.

10 or 20 years ago people would only use their smartphones for a couple of minutes per day. These were the days when we decided on the limits for RF radiation we would allow being emitted from our everyday devices. But as you can imagine, today we have a TON of connected items in around us every day.

Here’s just a short list of some of the devices that emit RF radiation:

  • Wifi signals
  • Routers
  • Access Points
  • Thermostats
  • Wireless cameras
  • Wireless printers
  • Baby alarms
  • Smartphones
  • Smart meters
  • Smart watches
  • Car stereos
  • Smart TVs
  • Gaming consoles
  • Remote controls
  • etc.

As you can see, the list goes on and on and this is why we need to start paying more attention to these types of radiation.

Just because we cannot see any short-term effects on our bodies doesn’t mean that they won’t have any long-term effects. This is especially important when we are talking about in the next generations. Kids are constantly being bombarded with RF radiation and they probably will for a lifetime.

Since we don’t know how RF radiation affects our bodies over a lifetime we will have to take out precautions.

Is RF Radiation Harmful?

It’s hard to say for sure exactly how RF radiation will affect our bodies over the long-haul.

We simply don’t have any evidence of this yet because we are talking about new technologies that have only been around for a couple of decades. This also means that scientists and researchers haven’t got enough data to conclude anything yet.

But this doesn’t mean that the long-term effects aren’t there.

It just means that we cannot know yet.

Here are some of the ways that scientists have found RF radiation to affect the cells in our bodies.

RF radiation can cause sleep disorders

Scientists know by now that our if radiation can cause us to lose sleep or to have a hard time entering into the important REM phase of the sleep.

This is really important because when we are talking about EMF exposure, we need our bodies to rest at night so they are ready for a new load of exposure the next day.

Some people are extra sensitive to radio frequencies. They can sense when smartphones and other electronic devices are connected wirelessly. There are many reports of people who started to sleep better when they turned off the Wi-Fi and all the different wireless signals around the bedroom.

RF radiation can cause brain fog

Another way people report being affected by the RF radiation is brain fog.

Brain fog typically means that our minds get cluttered and we have a hard time remembering details. It can also cost people to have trouble concentrating and they might get headaches.

This can typically happen in the classroom where that might be as many as 20 smartphones and 15 tablets turned on at the same time. All of these devices will constantly connect and disconnect to the router at the other end of the room. It’s a two-way communication that means that the radiation levels are extensive.

This is also why several countries like India, Switzerland, Greece, Chile, New Zealand, Austra, etc. have chosen to remove and forbid wifi signals around schools and/or kindergartens.

It’s especially important to shield our kids from EF radiation because they have a whole lifetime in front of them with lots of radiation.

Here’s a more complete list of symptoms people have from RF radiation.

Why Is It Called “Radio Frequencies” (RF) When It Really Is Wifi?

This is a good question and is something that many people wonder because we are typically talking about wireless signals from Wi-Fi and smartphones.

The short answer here is that this term came around a long time before our present wireless technologies such as wifi and Bluetooth.

Radio waves were first predicted by a British mathematical physicist named James Clerk Maxwell in 1867 and in the early 1900s the term “radio waves” was coined. It replaced the name “Hertzian waves” which was the way radio waves had been described until then.

So, as you can see, the term is quite outdated but we still call this type of radiation RF (radio frequencies). The more appropriate and contemporary name would be something like wireless frequencies.

These Everyday Things Emit The Most RF Radiation

At the beginning of this article, we looked at a long list of things that emit RF radiation. But which ones should we be more cautious about?

Not all wireless technologies are born equal. Some of our devices will emit much stronger signals and more RF radiation than others.

Here’s a list of some of the worst sources of EMF radiation that surrounds us on a daily basis.

  1. Cell towers
    These are the cell phone antennas that are being put up on more and more buildings in order to let us receive and send data through our smartphones, tablets, and laptops. They are getting harder to spot because they are being built into street lamps and rooftops.
  2. Smart meters
    Smart meters our electronic devices that are connected to your breaker panel. It’s another wireless device that will send out data to the cloud a couple of times per minute. The RF signal here is very strong so you need to do what you can in order to shield your home from this radiation. You can see here how we recommend your shield off your smart meter.
  3. Smartphones
    The reason why we put smartphones here on the list is not that they have the strongest RF signal on this list. It’s because we use them all the time and we have a tendency to press them against our heads and hold them in our hands. Because they are always so close to our bodies we need to pay special attention to these devices. We recommend you get a protection case (mobile cover) for your phone in order to eliminate that radiation.
  4. Tablets & Laptops
    Right after the smartphones, we have the tablets and laptops which we also use more and more during the day. It’s important not to place your laptop on your lap. The name laptop is a really bad word because it should never be placed on top of your lap. We also need to remove tablets several feet away from us in order to reduce the RF radiation.
  5. Baby monitors
    Baby monitors are bad too because we have a tendency to place them close to the babies head. That’s a very bad idea because the head of a baby is thin and fragile so the radiation will be 2X stronger on the brain cells. The best thing to do here is to install (an Ethernet-wired) camera with a microphone that you can connect to from your (Ethernet-wired) laptop. By doing it this way you can avoid the RF radiation completely around your baby.
  6. Bluetooth devices
    Our Bluetooth devices also emit RF radiation. It’s typically at weaker signal than our wifi routers and smartphones but we will often use these devices close to our bodies. This counts for products like earbuds, wireless mics, headphones, headsets and other devices we will place on our heads or even inside our ears. It’s a very bad idea to stick anything inside your ears that admitted RF radiation.
    You can replace all these headphones, earbuds, and headsets with “air tube” headphones. These are constructed in another way so you don’t have the RF radiation but instead, the sound travels through tubes of air. You can check them out here. (They actually have AMAZING sound quality!).
  7. Microwave ovens
    If we were focusing on the strength of the RF radiation here, this one should be at the top of the list. Our microwave ovens emit very strong RF radiation. But since we are only using them for a few minutes per day I have put them here at the bottom. It’s important to always distance yourself several feet from the microwave oven when it is turned on. This is because the micro oven will also create a strong magnetic field around it when it runs. These types of EMFs will quickly decrease when you remove yourself from the source of the radiation.

Hopefully, this list will help you create them all healthy environment by removing and reducing some of the worst sources of RF radiation.

How To Measure RF In Your Home

There are only two ways to know for sure how much RF radiation you have in your home environment. And this is by taking your own measurements or contacting a building biologist.

The first option here is the cheapest one and it’s also the first thing really recommend you do. By educating yourself a little bit on EMF radiation you will quickly learn how to use that good EMF meter which will cost you less than $200.

You can see here which EMF meter we use our self which is also the one we recommend. It’s the meter used by many leading scientists in the fields and it’s also recommended (and referenced) in many books and courses about EMF.

It looks like this:

As you can see, it’s a small handheld device without a ton of buttons.

It’s really easy to use and you will instantly see (on the scale that the right side of this screen) whether you are in the green, yellow, or the red zone. 

It wasn’t on so I bought this meter that I was able to find out exactly where the problems were in our house.

The problem with EMFs is that they are everywhere.

This meter will not only lead your measure RF exposure. It also covers magnetic feels and electric fields which are equally important if you are sensitive to EMF radiation. I found out that we have several wires that were causing electric fields around our beds. I also quickly found out which breaker to turn off during the night in order to get rid of it.

I simply put my wife beside the bed with the EMF meter in her hand while I went to the breaker panel in order to shut them on (and off) one at the time.

By doing that, I could immediately tell from the EMF meter when I had found the right breaker to turn off at night in order to reduce the magnetic field radiation in our bedroom.

What Are Safe Levels Of RF Radiation?

Building biologists agree that a safe limit for RF radiation is 0.2 V/m during daytime and 0.06 V/m during night time. This is a lot lower than the guideline from ECC which is 61.4 V/m.

The problem with the numbers from the ECC is that they were made more than 20 years ago.

20 years ago we didn’t have nearly as many wireless things in our homes and on our bodies. Cell phones were something you would use only a couple of minutes per day in order to deliver a short message. Simply because they were expensive to use and very big and clumsy.

But today we are surrounding ourselves with smartphones and tablets all the time. When we’re not on our smartphone we are typically looking at our smartwatches, our iPads, or our laptops.

And our laptops can actually fit on our lab today which was not typically the case 20 years ago when they were much bigger and heavier.

This also means that we should update our guidelines accordingly.

This is exactly what building biologist have been trying to do by advising people to stay under 0.2 V/m during the day and much lower during the night.

They even advise people to go much lower than these values for people who are hypersensitive to EMF radiation. In that case, they are advising to keep RF radiation to no more than 0.06 V/m. This is very low and not something you will achieve without serious effort unless you are living in the countryside.

For all of us who lives in the city, we will have constant RF radiation from cell towers and a ton of wifi signals in the air. So this is a hard place to live if you are hypersensitive to EMF.

How To Block RF Radiation

EMF shielding paint testing

The best way to shield yourself is, of course, to remove or turn off the sources of the radiation. This can typically be done for sources inside your house such as smartphones, routers, access points, and other “smart” devices that constantly emitted RF radiation.

But what about the radiation from outside?

Some of the major RF radiation sources are cell towers. We have one just across the street and you probably have one around the corner too.

The way we block our house from the cell tower radiation is by painting our outer walls with EMF blocking paint. We do this in our bedrooms and the one wall in our living room which is pointing directly towards the cell tower across the street.

The problem is that most types of walls do not block EMF radiation. You can see here exactly how each of the most commonly used wall types block EMF radiation.

You can read more here about how to use the EMF blocking paint. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. It’s a really great Saturday project for any concerned parent.

How To Tell If You Are Hypersensitive To RF Radiation

It’s really important to figure this thing out if you are experiencing problems with sleep or concentration. Here you can find a list of symptoms for people who are hypersensitive to RF radiation.

The link above will take your tone article we have written about symptoms for EMF radiation in general. It’s almost impossible to separate these things because all the types of EMF radiation are everywhere. And from what we can read from the research in this field, people who are extra sensitive to RF radiation will also react accordingly to the other types of EMF out there.

The best thing to do is to take yourself away from the many sources of radiation we have in our cities.

That is a lot easier than to remove all the sources of radiation in your living environment.

Go camping for a week or two and monitor how your body reacts to the RF detox.

If you quickly sense an increased level of energy or you feel like you can think more clearly, there’s a very good chance you are reacting negatively to the RF radiation in your environment.

This is exactly what we did. My wife is very sensitive to all the different types of EMF and when I got an EMF meter (this one) we quickly found out that we couldn’t remove all the electric fields around our bedroom. We could turn off the breaker for all bedroom bed we couldn’t turn off the breaker panel for the neighbors downstairs.

We were being exposed to radiation from our neighbors.

But we were able to reduce the radiation by 70 to 80% by turning off all our own breaker panels and unplugging all our chargers and devices during the night.

The problem was, however, that my wife would still feel like she had a swarm of bees in her head when she was trying to go to sleep. So in our case, we needed to work with more drastic methods like bed canopies and placing our bed at the opposite side of the house (away for the cell tower on the next building).


George Willington

I'm George Willington. I've researched EMF radiation in order to create a safe home for my family. My background is Information Science (University of Aarhus, Denmark) and I've worked with Wifi and router communication for many years. I believe I have a good understanding of the technical side of the various types of EMF. I hope you can learn something from my tips and guides.

Recent Content