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Do cell phone signal boosters increase health risk from radiation?

Feb 09, 2018

Do cell phone signal boosters increase health risk from radiation?

In a world where practically all high tech devices seem to be linked to health risks in one way or another, people want to know if cell phone signal boosters increase their health risk from radiation. Let us explore this topic because people are confused about the perceived risks of cell phones due to misinformation. It sometimes feels like we're subjected to a health scare more often than it rains in Seattle!

Fake News.

It has been one of those days. The weekly sales meeting turned sour, my date is late and my battery is at 2%. To crown it, I'm exhausted and I have a splitting headache. Now I am sitting in the diner with a dying phone while everyone else is texting, talking and trolling on their mobile devices. Hundreds of signals are zooming through me and I can't help but wonder; is this pain in my brain a normal headache? Perhaps it is a "radiation" headache? Does that even exist? I certainly hope not.

There're so many rumours out there, it is hard to discern. Carbs or protein? Ovens or microwaves? Weights or cardio? We live in a world of constant change and we wonder about the health risks associated with new findings and new technology. A more recent question has made many of us a little nervous. What is the deal with cellphones and am I increasing my risk of cancer by using cellphone signal boosters? Can a cellular signal booster or amplifier or repeater and their antenna(s) harm me, or help me? Well, we dug around a little and this is what we found:

Bad News.

America's leading national health institute, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has done extensive research regarding cellphone use and risk. They report the following:

"There's no scientific evidence that provides a definite answer to the question, though one organization recommended using a cell phone with caution. More research is needed before we know if cellphone use causes health effects".

What? Talk about hedging your bets! This is NOT REASURING. Due to this uncertainty, I would recommend using cell phones only if necessary and use "speakerphone" function to keep cell phones away from our heads. "No" cell phones for children nor teenagers because their brains are still growing and developing at a very fast pace. A slightest malfunction could wreak havoc inside causing medical problems in future. Kids got by without cell phones 10-20 years ago, so there's no reason they cannot get by today. If they are responsible enough, they can keep one - But keep it powered off, and turn it on only in an emergency to call for help, but that is about it.

Fortunately, the CDC did elaborate on the following particular matter:

"Preliminary findings indicate that phone radiation may only harm a user when the cellphone signal is weak".

This made me sit upright and take notice. Signal strength? Can there be a correlation between signal strength and radiation?

Good News.

The Washington Post recently reported on the findings of a $25 million studies conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They concluded that the current safety limits for cellphones are acceptable for public health. Dr Jeffrey Shuren is the radiation health chief at the FDA. He found no increase in brain tumors among adults that are frequent daily users of cellphones.

In above-mentioned studies, rats and mice were exposed to high doses of cellphone radiation for nine hours a day. Slight increases in heart tumors were observed in male rats, but they unexpectedly lived longer than their unexposed counterparts. Only one situation was found where cellphone radiation was theoretically harmful to humans. Ironically, it seems that the use of cellphone boosters has the potential to alleviate the risk, not contribute to it.

In the studies, our rodent friends were constantly bombarded with very high levels of radiation, levels only experienced by humans for short periods. It had little effect on them, yet the only time it proved to be borderline risky was when the cellphone signals were weak.

Real News.

CBS News story summed it up as follows:

"The weaker the signal indicated on the cell phone display, the stronger the signal the cell phone puts out. The stronger the signal, the greater the amount of radiation delivered to your body."

Ouch! Does this mean we should avoid living in smaller rural centres where cellphone towers are sparsely distributed? Good news if mother-in-law lives in Faraway, bad news if you collect wild mushrooms to impress people. Staying in urban centres also provides potential hazards. Should we avoid basements and underground parking garages for fear of weak signals and Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) danger? Surely not! Maybe we will have to carry our cellphones mounted on long poles like selfiesticks and hope Siri can hear us up there! Perhaps have "radiation detectors" built into smartphones? Imagine an entire busload of people with their radiation alarms blaring as the bus moves through a "weak signal area". Everyone diving for cover as if the bus is under attack from a local gang! I doubt it will get that weird, yet people will always be looking for ways of reducing their risks.

With this in mind, it does appear as if cellphone boosters won't increase the risk of cancer from cellphone radiation but significantly reduce the risk. They strengthen the signal your phone receives, thereby eliminating the "weak signal scenario". When signal boosters are used, your cell phone will emit less radiation because it is not frantically searching for a wireless signal. This proves to be an added bonus for cellular booster users, whether at home, in the office or with a mobile unit in your delivery van.

Cell Phone Radiation and Signal Boosters/ Amplifiers/ Repeaters.

What comfort do these findings offer to hair-trigger hypochondriacs who may have restricted outgoing cellphone usage to calling their mom every Thanksgiving in order to avoid frying their brains? Quite a lot actually. It looks like cell phone boosters/ amplifiers/ repeaters eliminate radiation risk due to weak signals. Oh happy day!

Bottom line? Cell phone signal boosters improve voice quality of calls, reduce dropped calls, and protect you from increased radiation risk when your signal is weak.

The benefits of signal boosters summarized:

  1. Improved reception.
  2. Improved voice quality.
  3. Reduction in dropped calls.
  4. Protection from radiation caused by the "weak signal scenario".

Cautionary note.

The debate of whether cell phone signal boosters increase health risk from radiation has been debunked based on information above. However, at this point, the long-term health risks of using cell phones themselves remain questionable, though no studies have found a link between the two. A large studies conducted in Denmark over a period of 13 years found absolutely no link between health status and cell phone bills. As we all know, money talks and it is telling us that heavy users are NOT at higher risk than light users.

So, the next time you leave a voicenote on your smartphone; don't be too concerned about the life of your battery. At worst, it will contribute to your next headache. Rather be concerned about your signal strength, this might threaten life. Not your battery's life but yours!

Better be safe than sorry when it comes to health of our children.

The future remains uncertain. In twenty years we could see lawsuits filed against the networks that provide weaker signals. Here's something to think about: France has taken the lead by banning cell phones altogether starting this upcoming school year (September 2018). They will to be banned in primary and middle schools in France. They will be banned not only in classrooms but during lunch breaks and between classes due to "possibility of adverse health effects for children".

Therefore, I guess anything is possible in other countries including USA, in the future. Meanwhile, we would advise readers to be safe than sorry when it comes to all types of wireless radiation that consist of electro magnetic waves which can penetrate our bodies and adversely affect our health.

Here Are Suggestions for Reducing Electromagnetic Field Radiation Exposure:

No. 1: Change the Way You Use Your Cell Phone.

Keep your cell phone a minimum of 3 feet away from your head and use a speakerphone instead. Using a handsfree headset that sends voice through an air tube minimizes radiation exposure to the head. And, if you can, try to reduce the amount of time you spend on your cell phone because radiation is maximum when cell phone is in use. As an alternative, consider using a VoIP software phone, which can be used via a wired connection to the Internet.

No. 2: Shut off Your Wi-Fi Connection When You're Not Using It, Especially While Sleeping.

In an ideal world you would eliminate Wi-Fi altogether by hardwiring your house. Did you know that if you're using a notebook that has no ethernet ports, you can use a USB ethernet adapter with wired connection to connect to the Internet?

No. 3: Connecting Your Desktop Computer to the Internet.

Use wired ethernet connection to connect your desktop computer to the Web, making sure your desktop is in aeroplane mode. We also suggest you avoid wireless mice, keyboards, printers, game systems, trackballs, and portable house phones. Where possible, always choose the wired version.

No. 4: Microwave Oven vs Steam Convection Oven.

Most people love their microwave oven, but perhaps they are not aware that a steam convection oven makes an excellent alternative. Not only is a steam convection oven much safer, it will heat your food almost as quick. Isn't that little bit of extra time worth it if it MAY save you from serious medical problems in the future?

No. 5: Shut off Electricity to Your Bedroom.

Make sure that electricity to your bedroom is shut off at night time by turning off the breaker switch that powers your bedroom wall electrical outlets. This simple trick will minimize electrical fields from the wires in your walls, unless of course there's another room next to your bedroom. In that instance, determine if power in the adjacent room can be turned off too through breaker switch, or by using a meter - Check at Radio Shack or similar electronics and electrical tools stores for such devices available.

No. 6: Reduce Use of "Smart" Appliances.

There's a good reason why today's modern "smart" appliances are referred to as "smart" appliances and it is because they emit a Wi-Fi signal; and this includes our much-loved "smart" television sets. However, your computer can shut down a Wi-Fi signal, but these smart appliances cannot. So, our suggestion is that you is to cut off Internet connection to them or use a large computer monitor (which doesn't emit Wi-Fi) as your TV.

No. 7: Change Your Alarm Clock.

Another safety precaution in your bedroom is to use a battery-powered alarm clock - preferably a clock without a light. An excellent alternative is a "talking clock", commonly used by people with low vision. They are quite popular, and very simple to use. At the touch of a button you will hear the time in a very clear and pleasant voice.

No. 8: Keep Your Cell Phone in Aeroplane Mode.

Never sleep with your cell phone next to you in your bedroom, unless it is in aeroplane mode. In addition, you should never carry a cell phone on your body unless it is in aeroplane mode. Keep in mind that your cell phone still emits signals when it is in airplane mode, so our suggestion is that you keep your phone in a radiofrequency shielding bag, also known as a Faraday bag. When devices are placed in a Faraday bag they are unable to either transmit or receive potentially disruptive RF signals.

No. 9: Avoid Using a "Smart Meter".

If you're not able to refuse having a "smart meter", we strongly suggest you add a shield to your existing smart meter. These shields can reduce radiation by up to 99%. Contact your light company providing you electricity and request them that you would prefer that old school non-smart meter. In exchange, they may charge you a small monthly fee to have a tech come by each month to take the reading to determine how much electricity you have used.

No. 10: Change to Incandescent Light Bulbs.

Use incandescent bulbs in place of CFL bulbs. In fact, ideally you would remove all fluorescent lights from your home. Fluorescent lights not only emit unhealthy light, but if you're standing close to the bulbs, they will actually transfer current to your body.

No. 11: Making Baby's Room Safe.

If possible, we suggest you don't use a wireless baby monitor but instead move your baby's bed into your own bedroom. If this is not possible or practical, choose to use a hard-wired monitor.

No. 12: Safety of Teenagers.

12a. Pre-Teens or Teenagers that do not have a cell phone - An easier solution.

If your pre-teen or teenager has not started using a cell phone already, it is best to postpone the decision of giving him/her a cell phone. During this tender age, the body grows rapidly with cells multiplying in millions to transform them into adults that they will become. Any POSSIBLE disruption in this process MAY be damaging to their health so why take the risk if it can be avoided?

12b. Pre-Teens or Teenagers that already have a cell phone - A complex solution.

If your teenager is already using a smartphone, chances are very good that they are hooked and will not give it up easily. We certainly understand this with reports coming out detailing how addictability of apps and social media can cause addiction to smart phones. In that situation, try getting them to keep their cell phone in "Airplane" mode during school hours which is when they spend bulk of their time durinf waking hours. They can turn it off during lunch break if they much check their phone for messages. Ideally, they must turn airplane mode off only when they need to make an urgent outgoing call. This limits radiation from being emitted by the phone.

Secondly, you can ask them to always keep the phone in outermost pocket of their backpack INSTEAD of their pant or shirt pocket. This will keep the phone at a distance of approx. 6 inches away from their body (plus books, etc. in the back-pack will block some radiation if they leave "airplane" mode off.

In this manner, minimizing exposure to radiation would minimize negative consequences if they indeed exist but have not been established by Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and (World Health Organization (WHO).

No. 13: When comparing new smartphones, choose the one with lower SAR.

What is SAR? SAR stands for Specific Absorption Rate. SAR is a measure of the rate of RF (radiofrequency) energy absorption by the body from the source being measured – in this case, a cell phone. SAR provides a straightforward means for measuring the RF exposure characteristics of cell phones to ensure that they are within the safety guidelines set by the FCC. A specific SAR rating in the form of a number is given to each new smart phone by testing how much radiation it emits. Find SAR of your smartphone simply by entering the FCC ID as instructed at FCC website link provided earlier in this sentence. When ready to buy a new phone, compare the SAR of top choices and choose the one with lowest assigned SAR rating if at all possible to minimize RF exposure.

Conclusion.

In our opinion, the debate whether the health damage that wireless technologies cause truly offsets its benefits will continue into the future. Meanwhile, we recommend smart ways as stated above to limit or minimize its use - especially for children and young adults. Since we will not know for many more years the true long term bodily damage the wireless tech. causes nor how to totally prevent it, we must be prudent and minimize non-essential use of wireless technologies or atleast use technologies available (also detailed above) to minimize its impact.

Sources:

Borenstein, Seth And Lauran Neergaard. "Studies offer no clear answers on safety of cellphone use." The Washington Post. Health and Science. 2 Feb. 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/studies-offer-no-clear-answers-on-safety-of-cellphone-use/2018/02/02/a8da155c-0855-11e8-aa61-f3391373867e_story.html. Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.

"Cell phones & cancer: 8 dumb ways to boost possible risk.” CBS News. 2018.

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/cell-phones-cancer-8-dumb-ways-to-boost-possible-risk/5/. Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.

"Frequently Asked Questions about Cell Phones and Your Health." Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 9 June 2014. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/cell_phones._FAQ.html. Accessed 8 Feb. 2018.

Notice: Information provided in this blog post must not be construed as health advice because it is merely our opinion based on honest reasearch of all latest available medical literature showing actual medical studies conducted in relation to cell phone radiation.

Any comments on this important topic?

To help dispel confusion, we have stated views from credible sources including government agencies on this topic. However, if we have missed anything you know with reference to a credible source, we would like for you to please share it along with the source of that information for other readers. Thank you!


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10 comments

  • Hello, At present all I can do in my house to minimize wireless exposure is turn off the wifi at night. However, our house has a wifi plug-in booster – is this still emitting when the router has been turned off, and do I need to turn off the booster as well as the wifi router every night? Thank you.

    liz on
  • I saw a white rectangle shape box on a electrical pole, about 10 feet from a house. I was told it is a cell phone extender(?). There is another much bigger rectangle box in the middle of the pole. Do I need to concern about EMF or radiation healthy effect from these?

    meitien on
  • Julie asks, “Are there any reasons to be worried about 5G phones and/or 5G boosters now?”
    There seems to be a consensus among a substantial portion of the world’s population that effects of 5G radiation have not been tested thoroughly enough to confirm that it will not affect plant, animal, and human life adversely.

    This is definitely a huge concern across all medically educated people across the world who do not control the implementation process led by businesses that have profit as their primary goal.

    However, this clash of ideas do not affect the radiation potention of signal boosters based on a study discussed in article above that states that radiation emitted by cell phones is maximum when it is searching hard to find a proper connection to the cell tower.

    Cell phones are typically very close to us even when we’re in our homes and offices which is why a cellphone with weak signal can in fact cause more damage to our tissues than a cell phone that is properly connected to cell tower. This is the reason why Dr. Davis in the CBS News report mentioned in above blog post says that if possible, it is best to stick to a landline or to use the speaker phone function or use a headset when the signal is weak. This may sound counter intuitive but for health safety reasons, we must keep our cell phones away from us when their signal is weak.

    Brion M. on
  • Are there any reasons to be worried about 5G phones and/or 5G boosters now? Just wondering what information is available about the latest tech upgrades.

    Julie Cheathum on
  • The write up in the major news outlets about the NIH/NIEH National Toxicology Program (NTP) results, as mentioned in your article, were entirely misleading. The man in charge of overseeing the NTP never expected to see a cancer result, yet when they got results, they were so disturbing, that they released them before they were official to let people know. Later, their official report reversed itself and minimized the findings—-which is what most news outlets reported. BUT, when they had a peer review panel of real experts look at the results, the panel upgraded the concerns significantly. Almost no news outlet gave attention to that final judgment of “clear evidence of carcinogenicity.” Politically, this has been a typical situation for years—-the industry, the big media underplay the concerns to the public. Here’s what the NTP actually found, along with a look at the twisted pathway it traveled: https://microwavenews.com/news-center/ntp-peer-review-sees-tumor-risk

    Marne Glaser on
  • I don’t think people take the time to read studies when they hear “Popcorn causes hypertension” only to learn lab rats were subjected to 300x the normal amount of salt in an average serving and fed popcorn 10x a day. I’m glad this article lists the results of the studies and summarizes them. I’ve had a cell phone for years and haven’t thought much about the radiation. However, I have thought about getting a cell phone booster and I see it as laying to rest any worries about cell phone radiation causing damage. Personally, I’m more concerned about the radiation I get sitting 15" away from a 24" computer monitor. LOL.

    Joseph Simon on
  • Jimmy, as to your question, What is a cell tower’s range?-It’s a tough question because there are many variables. Things like tower height, the frequency of signal in use, the transmitter’s rated power, the directional characteristics of the site antenna array, and geographic factors such as surrounding buildings, vegetation, etc. can reduce the range. The average tower projects about 22 miles but can project 30-45 miles in optimal conditions such as a flat landscape. On the other hand, hilly terrain can reduce a tower’s range to 8 miles. Remember a cell phone booster will increase any signal as long as there’s a signal to begin with.

    P. Simon Graves on
  • I keep seeing concerns about cell towers being far away. What is a cell tower’s range?

    Jimmy Buchwald on
  • People do get concerned about cell booster health risks, just as they do with cell phone radiation in general. However, from what this article says (and from what I’ve seen elsewhere), there are no negative side effects of cell phone boosters. Cell phone boosters will actually keep your phone from emitting more radiation as it tries to find a signal, so that should answer the question are cell phone boosters bad for your health. They actually sound beneficial for your health.

    John Simmons on
  • I’ve been thinking a lot about cell phone boosters. I really want one for my car because I do a lot of traveling and business, which means I like to be able to make calls no matter where I’m at (such as the country) and not lose calls. However, I had to ask “Do cell phone boosters cause cancer?” and what are the side effects of mobile signal boosters. Apparently, none and they can actually help with reducing any radiation from your cell phone. I’m glad I read this article as it gave me a better idea of how cell phone boosters work, and their safety.

    Mike Fillmore on

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