RF Radiation (radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation) is not a good thing, yet it is around each and every one of us day in and day out. From cell phones and wi-fi to microwaves and the local power lines, RF Radiation reaches us all. If you are a construction worker/service provider working on roofs near cell towers, antennas or energy banks of some sort, you can be at an even greater risk to physical burns from direct contact and a much higher concentration of radiation than the general public.
I bring this topic up because it is not heavily regulated in the U.S. and we are far behind our foreign counterparts. There is little oversight from the FCC, FDA or OSHA and we can all be victims of the effects.
We can see both thermal and non-thermal effects of RF radiation:
- Thermal effects include blindness, sterility, heating of tissues, burns and electrical shock
- Non-thermal effects include immune system issues, cell alterations, alteration of circadian rhythm and potentially many others
For Contractors or Building Owners
- Identify potential exposures your employees face –cell towers, antennas, power banks, etc.
- Direct contact can cause severe burns, shocks, dehydration or heat stroke, labored breathing, malaise and headaches. Effects can be seen for days.
- Update your safety policy to reflect caution around RF Radiation.
- Control your exposure with site restrictions, signage, handheld meters to read your exposure and other appropriate PPE.
- Train your employees to recognize the hazards, especially when working close to those power banks, antennas and power lines.
- Disconnect technology driven devices off hours or when not is use.
For those of us in the General Public
- Exposures are all around us – cell towers, power lines, cell phones and other personal devices, wi-fi. All electrical devices, including microwaves.
- Health concerns exist, especially for children exposed to these items for longer periods of their lives and at a higher usage in everyday life.
- Our eyes, heart, brain, skin and mood are all effected by RF Radiation, but long-term effects are still unknown.
- What can we do to protect ourselves and our families?
- Hard wire devices that connect to the internet.
- Keep your cell phone out of your pocket or bra. Don’t place your handheld devices in your bedroom at night. Use speaker phone and don’t use wireless ear buds.
- Don’t lay devices on your lap when in use.
- For downloaded content, put your device in airplane mode to help avoid unnecessary radiation.
- Avoid areas with low signal as your device is working harder and if you can, don’t make calls in cars, buses, trains or elevators. Your device works harder to get through the metal of these things.
All in all, RF Radiation has been around us for a long time now but not long enough to fully understand the long-term effects. We do know that for those in the trades working near high-frequency devices such as cell towers, power banks and antennas, the direct impact can be critical. Be cognizant and careful when working near them. For us in the general public, why not take caution? Separate yourself from those devices when you can or use safely. We don’t know quite yet, but we could be savings ourselves from serious health effects down the road.