Radio Frequency (RF) radiation
Radio frequency or RF radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is produced when the electric current in a wire is oscillated at a high frequency greater than 3 KHz (3000 Hz). At these frequencies, the electromagnetic field surrounding the wire breaks free and radiates outwards like the ripples in a pond. This is what is more commonly called a radio wave and is the essence of wireless communication from radio and television, to cell phones and Wi-Fi.
In the past, RF transmitters were mainly limited to radio and television broadcast towers that were relatively far from our homes and workplaces. However, since the 90s, the proliferation of RF transmitters has invaded our everyday lives.
- Radio and television broadcast towers are often very tall and usually placed far from residential areas.
- Cell phone antennas are placed all around us to ensure constant coverage and good reception. They are placed on their own towers, on top of buildings and apartments, and even camouflaged as trees.
- Cordless phone base stations are RF transmitters, and many of the newer DECT technology phones are constantly transmitting, even when the phone is not in use.
- Cell and cordless phones themselves are not just receivers but they are also transmitters and we place these just next to our brains!
- Wi-Fi service is available in more and more offices, schools, and cafes. Wireless routers are being installed in homes and apartments on a daily basis.
- Baby monitors, video game consoles, and other wireless devices are becoming common in our high-tech homes.
As with other EMF radiation, RF radiation drops off rapidly with distance from the source, so increasing your distance from the transmission antennas is a good way to reduce exposure. Keep in mind, however, that RF radiation can traverse many materials, so exposure may also come from a wireless transmitter on the other side of a wall (from a neighbouring office or apartment).
RF radiation can be shielded or weakened by materials that conduct electricity, so that protection from RF exposure can be effectively achieved. Special paints, screens, and fabrics are available which can effectively block RF radiation from specific locations.