WiFi Safety FAQ

Should I be concerned about wireless access points (APs) on campus?

In a word, no. The electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by the APs are the same type as visible light; in fact, APs have less energy. One characteristic of this non-ionizing radiation is that it can create heat, so an AP may feel warm during normal operation. But non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to modify DNA or damage tissue, and so it cannot cause any sort of cancer.

The type of EMF that folks should be concerned about is ionizing radiation. This type of radiation can alter our DNA and potentially cause cancer. Examples are X-rays, UV radiation and Gamma rays which can be found in devices such as X-ray machines, CAT scans or PET scans.  Also the sun emits UV radiation which is why we should wear sunscreen.  But again, this is not the radiation emitted by APs on campus.

The CDC has more details which can be found here:  https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/basics.html

How do cell phones compare to wifi?

While both cellular and wifi use radio waves, a type of EMF, cellular signals are vastly more powerful than wifi. A year's worth of non-ionizing radiation emitted by an AP in a student's room is roughly equivalent to that of a 20-minute cell phone call. When you add in texting and apps running on the phone, cell phones and their associated radio waves far exceed that of APs.

Where can I find research and other information?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Office of Engineering and Technology


The FCC requires all wireless communications devices sold in the United States meet its minimum guidelines for safe human exposure to radio wave energy. Devices go through a formal FCC approval process to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum allowable specific absorption rate (SAR level) when operating at the device’s highest possible power level.

FCC guidelines and rules regarding radio wave exposure are based on standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and input from other federal agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The World Health Organization:


“To date, the only health effect from RF fields identified in scientific reviews has been related to an increase in body temperature (> 1 °C) from exposure at very high field intensity found only in certain industrial facilities, such as RF heaters. The levels of RF exposure from base stations and wireless networks are so low that the temperature increases are insignificant and do not affect human health."

Food and Drug Administration:


Occupational Safety and Health Administration:


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Article ID: 644
Thu 8/24/23 2:57 PM
Thu 8/24/23 2:57 PM