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I would like to be able to determine whether how much exposure to Wi-Fi radiation is safe for my health.

I can see GSM phones are considered "probably safe", until confirmed otherwise, but that's taking into account the specifics qualities of GSM phones available and their usage patterns:

  1. Output power of the phones is strictly limited in terms of SAR (Specific Absorption Rate), the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body; and that is strictly controlled for.

  2. We usually only keep it pressed to our heads for a limited time, then some more time 30-40 cm away from our head (when texting/surfing/gaming), the rest of the time even further away.

  3. Safety of base stations is another concern entirely; they should be safe when mounted atop of high towers (as radiation levels at the ground level should be lover than the ones from a phone), but are they safe, if mounted, say, on the outside wall of the apartment building, besides a window to one's apartment?

So, how safe is using Wi-Fi at home? I'm currently running a 24/7 access point which is mounted at least 2 meters away from my head when I'm working and sleeping. The hardware is an old computer (modified to be extra silent) with a regular PCI Wi-Fi card. This is probably ok.

But as I'm browsing the market I see the proliferation of Wi-Fi cards boasting higher and higher output power1 and ever more powerful access points2. I'm not aware of standards governing acceptable output power for these, and a) whether or not they are ignored or circumvented by the over-enthusiastic hardware manufacturers in pursiut for more output power b) one should keep in mind that a Wi-Fi access point in one's home is analogous to a base station: higher powered and working 24/7.

So, how do I go on to assess which Wi-Fi hardware, mode of operation and place of installation should be safe for my health?

Footnotes:

  1. The most powerful powerful Wi-Fi cards I saw so far are:

  2. The most powerful powerful access point I saw so far (that I would actually consider for home use):

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According to the FCC:

For exposure to RF energy from wireless devices, the allowable FCC SAR limit is 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg), as averaged over one gram of tissue.

The average human weights about 60 kg, and the math would come out to 96 watts. Keep in mind, though, that the further you get away from a non-directional antenna, the power drops significantly. A directional antenna might be a bit more dangerous.

When I was in the Navy, the antennas for our HF transmitters put out about 1000 watts. The safety lines painted on the deck were only about 10 feet from the antennas.

I'm pretty sure WiFi is safe. But then again, I'm no expert.

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  • That's Watt per kilogram per.. which amount of time? Jul 22, 2014 at 21:29
  • No idea. If I had to guess I would assume constant exposure at those levels (or less) are considered harmless.
    – Steve
    Jul 22, 2014 at 21:34

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