PSA: Wi-Fi Doesn’t Cause Cancer

Wi-Fi and other signals that everyday devices like smartphones, computers, and tablets don’t cause cancer. Not only do these signals not cause cancer, they are unable to do so without rewriting what we know of physics and biology. Here’s why.


I wanted to write this editorial because of emails I’ve gotten from the company behind a product called energydots. Aside from marking the email as spam, I figured I should write a PSA.

To start, let’s take a look at the claims this company makes. Here is part of the pitch they sent me:

Wouldn’t you say that everyone knows that WiFi and cell phone signals are inescapable in our current environment? Doesn’t matter if we’re awake, sleeping, exercising, relaxing, we are constantly surrounded by invisible, harmful waves of EMF radiation.

Every time I see someone in front of their computers, and they’re texting someone, while their smartwatch is sending alerts and they have earbuds in, I always think to myself, wow, they might as well be glowing!

Electro-stress is everywhere and rears its head in the form of headaches, tiredness, anxiety – each DOT is programmed with a powerful resonant energy signature which retunes energy interference.

This myth isn’t a new one. I don’t know who started it and when, but I’ve been hearing it for at least a decade. In this editorial, I’ll be using the term radiofrequency (RF) radiation instead of Wi-Fi or cellular signals. Both are included in this type of radiation.

I know the pitch doesn’t specifically mention cancer, just electro-stress (whatever that is), but it’s part of the same nonsense belief.

smartDOT, one of many products sold by this company

Radiation Not Causing Cancer

According to HowStuffWorks, which cites credible sources like the American Cancer Society, there have been two types of studies that look at RF radiation: Ones that observe human cancer rates and others involving lab animals. The human studies haven’t found a link between increased cancer rates and people who are around a lot of RF radiation.

In the animal lab studies, no link between cancer and RF radiation has been found. However, some studies have observed “trace biological changes” that could be hypothetically linked to cancer. Translation: A scientist found an interesting data point but it isn’t serious enough to say anything other than “hypothetically.”

The electromagnetic spectrum

RF radiation like Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth are classified as low-frequency, non-ionizing radiation. This means they aren’t powerful enough to charge molecules (Remember that an ion is an electrically-charged atom or molecule) and can’t damage your body at the cellular level.

On the electromagnetic spectrum, Wi-Fi operates in the 2GHz to 5GHz range, making them microwaves (Microwaves being a sub-class of radio waves). Microwaves have lower energy than visible light. Products like energydots don’t mention visible light, but according to their logic, if Wi-Fi is harmful, visible light should be more harmful just by being more energetic. But no one worries about getting cancer from visible light.

Now, we do worry about UV radiation, but although visible light and UV rays come from the same source (the sun), the visible part of it isn’t the cancer-causing part.

Radiation Causing Cancer

Only a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum actually can cause cancer. Harmful ionizing radiation includes ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays. That’s it.

Sources of UV radiation include stars, mercury-vapor lamps, tanning lamps, and black lights. Sources of X-rays include lightning bolts, x-ray tubes, certain stars, black holes, and the moon. Sources of gamma rays include nuclear explosions and nuclear reactors, solar flares, cosmic rays, and a bunch of other non-terrestrial sources.

As you can see, you have to be in contact with specific, powerful devices and objects to get harmful radiation. And to be fair, you wouldn’t be able to tell either, because our senses can’t tell the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. But with enough exposure you’ll notice side effects like radiation burns, radiation sickness, and death (A hell of a side effect!)


People are certainly welcome to buy products like energydots, but I urge everyone to be skeptical of claims such as what I was emailed. And we can also apply that in the opposite direction: Just because such-and-such scientific study says something, that doesn’t automatically make it true. Studies undergo an intensive peer review process that determines their veracity.

Thanks to our recent presidential election, we’re all becoming more aware of “fake news” and “alternative facts.” As we head into 2019 more skepticism should be a resolution.

21 thoughts on “PSA: Wi-Fi Doesn’t Cause Cancer

  • It’s not a rational argument (in fact it’s a notorious logical fallacy!), but there is an unfortunate amount of “guilt by association.” Namely, that many of the same defenses were used by the tobacco industry:

    1. Correlation isn’t causation
    “Sure, the smoker rats all got cancer and the non-smoker rats didn’t, but that’s just a coincidence!”

    2. Unrealistic experimental conditions
    “Sure, the rats got cancer, but you’d have to smoke millions of cigarettes to get that level of exposure!”
    “Well yes, smoking causes cancer in *rats*, but not in humans!”

    3. Our cigarettes are safer
    “Well sure those rats got cancer, but *our* cigarettes have filters and special low-tar tobacco, so they are totally safe!”
    “Well sure tobacco *smoking* causes cancer, but nicotine *vaping* doesn’t cause cancer at all, so it’s totally safe!”

  • Hi Andrew,

    “In the animal lab studies, no link between cancer and RF radiation has been found.”
    ‘Clear evidence’ of mobile phone radiation link to cancers in rats, US health agency concludes:

    Plenty more evidence of serious harm here:

    Anti-radiation protection devices that work and effectively shield you are here:

    Join us in saving lives with careful critique and unbiased honesty Andrew.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mobsey.

      1. The article says: “Some evidence of links to brain and adrenal gland tumours was also found in male rats, but in female rodents and male mice signs of cancer weren’t clear.”

      Links to tumors isn’t evidence that the radiation caused them, and they say signs of cancer weren’t clear. Correlation doesn’t equal causation.

      2. “Radiation exposure in the trial was well above the levels most humans would experience.” So it doesn’t represent real-world usage.

      3. Finally, that doesn’t change the fact that the Wi-Fi that consumer devices emit is unable to affect biological changes because it’s non-ionizing and not nearly energetic enough.

      1. 1. “Correlation doesn’t equal causation” doesn’t refute the experimental result. If rats exposed to radiation developed tumors but the control group did not, then the experiments provide evidence that the radiation exposure caused the tumors. The conclusion “animals exposed to RFR from 2G and 3G cell phone technologies developed certain tumors” seems like it’s worth taking seriously. The upgrade to “Clear Evidence” is compelling as well.

        2. The point you make about levels is important – what level (if any) is safe? Is it cumulative? Does the pattern (e.g. peaks/bursts vs. average) matter? Currently it’s very hard for normal people to measure the RFR emissions they are exposed to on a daily basis, and also to determine what the effects might be.

        3. Admittedly 2G/3G uses different frequencies from wi-fi, but the evidence indicates that non-ionizing radiation *can* affect biological processes. And as John Kheit notes, 2.4 GHz microwave radiation certainly *can* cause biological changes! What is unclear is the safety at power levels typically emitted by devices in and near your home. But the claim “non-ionizing radiation cannot affect biological processes” is simply false.

  • Nothing against Andrew since I really like a lot of his stories and the ones he links to but I have to agree with John Kheit that I too disagree with this. The amount of women who have put their cellphones (these are not even smart phones which are worse) in their bras and then have cancer the exact shape and size of their phone in their breast, says a lot. I’ve known personal stories of that and it didn’t take years either.

    Sorry but with all the info I know and have researched myself about the health hazards and history of WiFi and cell phones, no one can convince me that these devices can’t cause cancer and many other health issues. The best article I have found on the history of cell phones is here: How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation published by The Nation (who is anything but a right wing publication for those who care about those things).

    Just wait until 5G hits (25-100GHz), people are not going to know what hit them.

    1. Thanks John. I agree with your comment that very long term effects aren’t known much yet. Although humans have been exposed to radio waves for over 100 years now. It’s possible there have been long term effects and we just haven’t seen them.

  • I disagree with this. Not that WiFi or current cell phones are unsafe, but there is no such thing as a type of radiation being “safe”. Radiation is all about intensity and duration of exposure. There is a reason why folks working on microwave transceivers dress like shown in this article:
    FYI radar uses microwaves too.

    So it all boils down to duration and intensity of exposure. If you doubt this, please trick your microwave close door sensor, put your head in there, and turn it on for a few minutes and see how that works out for you (please have your will in good order first). Actually please never do this, it obviously will be beyond dangerous.

    That said, current cellphones and WiFi transceivers are way lower power, and lower power than the early brick phones, which likely could cause harm with enough exposure.

    IMO, the jury is still out on something like an Apple Watch that is strapped on to your arm near 24/7. The intensity isn’t that great, but the near constant exposure so close to your skin is suspect IMO.

    As always YMMV.

    1. “Doesn’t cause cancer” and doesn’t have health effects may not be the same thing.

      The biggie is 5G… the rest is a quote from a post elsewhere at TMO…

      Looking forward to this non-lethal deployment. The military use millimetre waves to heat the skin for crowd control. Deployed to Afghanistan but never used?? The only “long term” cancer study exposures for millimetre waves have been for 10 second intervals over 2 whole weeks.
      Can’t wait for this 24/7.

    2. In addition to duration and intensity, the amount over time seems to matter. The pattern (e.g. short intense bursts vs. longer background radiation) may also matter.

    1. Yeah, as part of this I clumped Wi-Fi and cell phones together because it’s part of the same idea. Just like electrodots doesn’t explicitly mention cancer, but on the website they do mention their technology is similar to homeopathy, which is also bullshit.

      1. Homeopathy: As a Doctor on the CBC said a few years ago: “If homeopathy worked, the best way to get drunk would be to pour a bottle of whiskey in the ocean and drink seawater.”

      1. Especially those of us who grew up with 1950s science fiction movies. Mutants, nuclear wastelands, and all of that.

      2. Very insightful points, Lee.

        In the 1950s many thought that lethal types of radiation would make organisms bigger and stronger (eg Godzilla).

        Today some believe that non-lethal types of radiation will kill organisms off.

        Perhaps in another 70 years we’ll have it sorted.

      3. I am thinking in particular the movie THEM. Atomic bomb tests created some huge ants that kill people:

        Robert Graham: Pat, if these monsters got started as a result of the first atomic bomb in 1945, what about all the others that have been exploded since then?

        Dr. Patricia ‘Pat’ Medford: I don’t know.

        Dr. Harold Medford: Nobody knows, Robert. When Man entered the atomic age, he opened a door into a new world. What we’ll eventually find in that new world, nobody can predict. We may be witnesses to a Biblical prophecy come true – ‘And there shall be destruction and darkness come upon creation, and the beasts shall reign over the earth.’

        Robert Graham: And I thought today was the end of them.

        Dr. Harold Medford: No. We haven’t seen the end of them. We’ve only had a close view of the beginning of what may be the end of us.

        Watch the movie trailer:

  • Andrew:

    Great PSA; a clean, simple but thorough treatment. A variant of this belief has been around for decades.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, this is not the first time that this topic has featured on TMO. Of course, as you’ve indicated, it’s a topic that continues to circulate amongst an otherwise literate population worldwide; a zombified topic that simply won’t die despite numerous peer reviewed studies and authoritative statements to the public.

    If fortune smiles, may it not resurface until next Halloween, when we’re all in the mood for a fictitious fright.

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