With the continuous emergence of new technology, people are getting more concerned about its potential adverse effects.
Owners and experts alike agree that a home security system can protect your home and deter burglars. But can home security systems actually be dangerous to the health of the people living inside?
Do home security systems emit radiation? Home security systems emit extremely low-frequency radiation and radiofrequency radiation. Some home security devices can even emit microwave and infrared radiation. Generally, wired home security systems emit less EMF radiation compared to wireless smart home security systems.
EMF exposure has been a tricky topic with very polarizing opinions over the years. While some experts would deem most household devices emitting EMFs relatively safe, others continue to question their safety.
- 1 What Kind of Radiation Can Home Security Systems Emit?
- 2 Do All Home Security Systems Emit Radiation?
- 3 How to Measure How Much Radiation a Home Security System Emits
- 4 Is the Radiation Emitted by Home Security Systems Dangerous?
What Kind of Radiation Can Home Security Systems Emit?
When it comes to radiation, there are a few things we have to establish. In physics, radiation is the energy emitted through space or matter as particles or waves.
There are different types of radiation like particle radiation, acoustic radiation, gravitational radiation, and electromagnetic radiation.
Home security systems emit electromagnetic radiation or electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). EMFs are emitted by the electronic devices, sensors, cameras, and electrical wiring.
Many objects produce waves of energy or electromagnetic radiation, like your computer, TV, cell phone, microwave, and coffee machine. Even fires and the human body emit electromagnetic radiation.
Electric and magnetic fields can act independently but are often interrelated and found together. Because of this, they are referred to as electromagnetic fields (EMF), especially when they fall in the Radiofrequency range (RF) between 100 kHz and 300 GHz.
Usually, EMF radiation is separated into two main categories:
Non-ionizing radiation is found everywhere around us and is emitted by different objects. Non-ionizing radiation is emitted by radios, cell and tv towers, wireless devices, cell phones, laptops, amateur radios, and other electronics and equipment that uses wireless technology.
Non-ionizing radiation is further broken down into several subcategories:
- Extremely low-frequency radiation (ELF)
- Radiofrequency (RF) and Microwave radiation (MW)
- Infrared radiation (IR)
- Visible light radiation
- Ultraviolet radiation (UV)
Experts consider non-ionizing radiation not powerful enough to damage cells or DNA, but it can cause atoms to heat up through vibration. (Something that can be observed in a microwave oven.)
Home security systems do not emit ionizing radiation.
Ionizing radiation is dangerous to our health as it can remove electrons from atoms, thus affecting cells on the atomic level, leading to DNA changes and mutations.
An example of ionizing radiation are x-rays and gamma rays.
Do All Home Security Systems Emit Radiation?
EMF exposure can be a significant concern for many people, which naturally raises questions like do all home security systems emit EMF radiation.
Do Wireless Home Security Systems Emit Radiation?
Wireless home security systems emit EMF radiation. The devices that are part of a standard wireless smart home security system emit low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF) and radiofrequency radiation (RF), but some devices can also emit microwave (MW) and infrared (IR) radiation.
This includes all devices that come with any standard smart home security system like the central hub, smart cameras, smart speakers, garage openers, smart sensors, motion detectors, baby monitors, smart thermostats, video doorbells, and smart locks.
Smart home security systems often use your wireless router to connect to the internet, which is also known to emit EMF radiation. Devices using Bluetooth, Z-wave, and ZigBee also emit EMFs.
In fact, some motion sensors can emit very high levels of EMF radiation, depending on how they work.
A good example can be seen in the video below, where a microwave motion sensor emits a little over 10 GHz.
Do Wired Home Security Systems Emit Radiation?
Wired home security systems do emit EMF radiation. However, compared to wireless home security systems, wired security systems will emit, on average, less EMF radiation.
Wired home security systems typically do not use wireless signals to communicate and work but may have a cellular backup in case of a power failure, which can lead to an increase in the RF-EMF radiation.
Electrical wiring emits ELF radion which is less powerful compared to wireless signals. This is why people looking to lower their EMF exposure should consider using wired home security systems while taking additional measures to reduce their EMF exposure from other sources in their homes.
Also read, Wired vs Wireless Home Security Systems
How to Measure How Much Radiation a Home Security System Emits
Measuring the amount of EMF radiation in your home is easy, but there are a few things that you need to be informed about.
Pick an EMF Meter
The best way to test the levels of EMF radiation generated by a home security system is by using an EMF meter. However, EMF meters are not all the same as not all will have the same levels of accuracy, sensitivity, and range.
One of the top EMF readers is the Trifield TF2. (Which can be found on Amazon right here.)
The combination of accuracy, ease of use, and the ability to measure magnetic fields, electric fields, and radio frequencies make this EMF reader one of the best on the market. The price is also very reasonable.
Know the Measuring Units
Things can get a little complicated when it comes to measuring magnetic and electric fields and radio frequencies. The reason being, different measuring units can be used. For example:
- Magnetic fields can be measured in Tesla (T) or Gauss (G).
- Electric fields are typically measured in newtons per coulomb (N/C) or volts per meter (V/m).
- Radio frequencies are often measured in Hertz (Hz).
Now, when it comes to measuring RF-EMF, or the general EMF exposure in the RF range, this is done in watts per square meter (W/m²) and sometimes in watts per kg (W/kg).
This measures the power density or power flow per unit of area, and it is the preferred way to measure electromagnetic fields when staying away from the source of EMF radiation.
Test Your Home
Test the EMF levels while your home security system has been completely powered off to get a base reading of the already existing EMF radiation. After doing it, proceed to power on your home security system. Ensure it is running properly and use the EMF meter again and check the EMF readings.
The readings with the home security system powered on should be higher than the base readings.
In addition, the closer the EMF meter is to the security system’s central hub, cameras, or sensors, smart meters, and any other electrical devices, the higher the EMF radiation should be.
Knowing that you can measure and map your home to find where the highest concentrations of EMFs are.
Know How EMF Exposure Works
The amount of EMF radiation you are exposed to is determined by several factors:
- The distance from the EMF source
- The strength of the EMFs
- The amount of exposure time
- The presence of any barriers between you and the source of EMFs
Keep these factors in mind when testing the EMF radiation in your home.
Is the Radiation Emitted by Home Security Systems Dangerous?
For the most part, most regulatory authorities consider the levels of ELF and RF-EMF exposure to be safe.
As with most health-related topics, what is considered safe and unsafe has caused many debates over the years.
For example, studies have demonstrated that Wi-Fi exposure can be bad for the health, causing different conditions like oxidative stress, sperm/testicular damage, apoptosis, cell DNA impact, endocrine, and neuropsychiatric effects, including EEG changes, hormonal changes, and calcium overload.
Other studies suggest that general EMF exposure may lead to tiredness, sleep disturbances, dizziness, depression, headaches, irritability, concentration issues, brain fog, restlessness, and more.
Experts say that the radiation exposure from one Wi-Fi router may not be significant; however, when multiple devices and routers are working in the same area, and at the same time, the exposure can be significantly higher.
Now it is worth looking into the BioInitiative report, which is an international project doing independent research into the topic of EMF exposure.
There is a very detailed report that can be found on the BioInitiave’s webpage, but the scientists and experts in the BioInitiative Working Group believe that the current safety standards are lacking, and EMF can be a health hazard even in very low frequencies.
According to the BioInitiative Report, magnetic fields above 1 mG (milliGauss) can be dangerous to health.
They also report that bioeffects have also been found in the range of 0.003 to 0.05 μW/cm², suggesting that even such extremely low levels of EMF exposure may be dangerous.
For outdoor EMF exposure, they recommended no more than 0.1 µW/cm² (or 0.614 V/m), which means indoor exposure should be even less.
These numbers are very similar to the ones presented in another study (by the International Institute for Bau-biologie®& Ecology), suggesting that exposure to EMF radiation of 0.1 to 10 µW/m² already may pose slight concerns and risks, while values above 10µW/m² have been linked with health problems.
In comparison, most safety standards used today are much higher, often 100 or even 10,000 higher. For example, usually ranges up to 10 mW/m² are considered safe, but that may not always be the case according to some experts, as we can see.
Even non-ionizing radiation can possibly be dangerous to our health if not properly controlled, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
In addition, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized electromagnetic radiation in the radiofrequency range between 30 kHz to 300 GHz radiation as potentially hazardous and classified as a Group 2B carcinogen.
Furthermore, there is a clinical syndrome known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). This condition is often considered not real. However, upon further research, we can see that this is a topic where experts have still not reached a definite conclusion, and discussions remain open.
On top of that, according to another analysis, since EMF has been proven to have biological effects at the cellular level, it is plausible that some people may be electrosensitive in some instances, in which case their exposure to EMFs may need to be lowered.
In conclusion, even though experts and scientists continue to study EMFs, there is still much we do not know about how they affect us or could possibly affect us. Reducing the amount of EMFs we are subjected to may be a good precautionary step.