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Radiofrequency fields

Radiofrequency fields are a type of non-ionizing radiation (energy) used by cellphones and cellphone towers, radio and TV broadcasts, satellites and wireless Internet (WiFi) to transmit and receive information. Microwave ovens and radars also use radiofrequency energy. Many of the things we do in our daily life expose us to radiofrequency fields. You’re exposed whenever you use your cellphone, heat something in the microwave, watch TV, surf the net in a coffee shop or drive through an area of cellphone towers. The strength of a radiofrequency field is highest close to its source, and it gets weaker as you get further away.

Cellphones are often held next to the body and represent the greatest exposure. The number of cellphone users in Canada and around the world has grown a lot in recent years. Many people have questions about how safe they are.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies radiofrequency fields (including those from cellphones) as a possible cause of cancer. Different studies show different results, and more research is needed to be sure.

Children and cellphones

There isn’t very much research on cellphone use and health effects on children, whose bodies are still developing.

Cellphone towers

Current evidence doesn’t show any short-term or long-term health effects from the signals produced by cellphone towers. However, ongoing research is still looking at the relationship between cancer and radiofrequency exposure from all sources.

Learn more about the safety of cellphones and cellphone towers.