My wife worries a lot when I put my phone on the charger next to the bed at night. When I tried to explain to her that wireless charging is unlikely to electrocute me, my wife said that it’s not current, but the radiation that comes from charging.
I think that this radiation is unlikely to be dangerous to health, but just in case I want to ask: is it harmful to sleep next to a charging phone? And using the phone while it’s charging?
We have read many articles on the subject. But we found no convincing evidence that the radiation that is produced when a cell phone is working and charging is in any way harmful to health. Using your phone while it’s charging is also possible.
The main thing is to use a quality charger and make sure not to overheat the phone: an old or low-quality battery can catch fire from this.
What kind of radiation does the phone produce?
Cell phones do produce radiation, both during normal operation and during charging. This radiation is called electromagnetic radiation.
Some types of electromagnetic radiation – but not all – are indeed dangerous to health. Whether radiation will harm living things, including humans, depends on the amount of energy it carries. And the amount of energy a particular type of electromagnetic radiation carries depends on its wavelength: the shorter the wavelength, the more energy the radiation has.
Radiation with enough energy to activate the light-sensitive proteins in our eyes is called visible light. It is not enough to change the structure of the molecules that make up our bodies.
The longest rays of the visible spectrum are red. Beyond that lies the non-ionizing radiation spectrum, a region of invisible light that carries little energy. This includes infrared radiation, which we feel as heat. Then there is microwave and radio wave radiation, which is what working telephones emit.
No type of non-ionizing radiation is capable of triggering photochemical reactions in our bodies simply because this type of radiation lacks the energy to do so. This means that a working phone cannot cause cancer or other diseases, no matter how much you use it.
How does radio wave radiation from the phone affect the body?
Both radio wave radiation from the telephone and microwave radiation from a microwave oven have only one way to affect the body – by heating it from the inside. All types of non-ionizing radiation are capable of penetrating the body, just as the heat from a working battery penetrates our bodies.
The microwave oven, which has a power of 0.5-2 kW, is based on this principle. If the power of radio-wave radiation from the phone we put to our head reaches similar values, the brain will boil like food in a microwave oven.
Radiation from the microwave oven is not dangerous to us because it has a shielding cover that directs the waves exclusively to the food and keeps them out of the kitchen. Radiation from phones travels freely but does no harm because the radio waves from appliances have too low a power.
The only unshielded source of radio waves that reaches 1 kW are industrial and military radars. If a person stands within a few meters of a working radar and his head comes within range of the radiation, he can indeed die of brain overheating.
But cell phones are not microwaves or radars. Most modern cell phones available in our country comply with the GSM standard and operate in two frequency ranges: 900 and 1800 MHz. The maximum radiated power in GSM 1800 MHz is 1 watts, while GSM 900 MHz is 2 watts. If the power is higher, the phones won’t get a certificate of compliance and can’t be sold.
The power of 1-2 watts is a thousand times less than that of a microwave – it is too little to heat the human brain. In addition, the human body absorbs not all, but only a little more than half of the energy it receives with radio waves. That is when in contact with the phone, the brain will heat up even less.
In 2003, researchers estimated that in 20 minutes of conversation on the phone, which operates in GSM 900 MHz, brain temperature may increase by a maximum of 0.5 °C (41°F). This is too little to damage the brain: according to calculations, for the brain to suffer, its temperature must increase by 4 °C (39.2°F).
What does science know about the effects of phone radiation on people?
Fear of phones persists only because untrained people often see a threat where it is difficult for them to make sense of the details.
The fact that low power radio wave radiation has no negative impact on humans was known long before the advent of cell phones. However, more than 30 years have passed since they were invented. During this time we have had time to study well in practice the impact of cell phones on human health.
Such attention to cell phones is due to the fact that they are widespread. Therefore it is necessary to prove their harmlessness.
Despite numerous attempts to detect any harm, no adverse effects have been identified. We are entitled to conclude that a working cell phone cannot harm human health.
Is it bad to sleep next to your cell phone?
In the world we live in today, cell phone use is becoming increasingly important. So important that we are not left without it 24 hours a day. We keep it on throughout the day, and when we go to bed, we put it next to us. But such a habit can be detrimental to health.
Do you want to know whether it is harmful to sleep next to a cell phone? The answer to this question can be found in this article.
If you, like billions of other people, sleep with your cell phone next to your bed, it can cause many problems (now unnoticed) to your health. The radiation that smartphones produce is indeed dangerous and is recommended to be avoided for many reasons.
This rule applies anytime during the day, and during those hours when we are asleep, placing a cell phone near us can lead to nightmares, insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night, and the like. Why does this happen? Electromagnetic radiation causes changes in certain self-regulatory processes, such as biorhythms or heart rhythms.
The World Health Organization claims that electronic devices in general (not just cell phones) are harmful to the body and can increase the risk of cancer.
The results of a study in Australia showed that there is an important relationship between smartphone use and infertility, as well as reduced sperm quality in men. Both male and female subjects were found to have increased stress levels.
Although a cell phone has an alarm clock that we normally use, it should still be turned off at night because it is always communicating with the main stations through radio waves, even when we are not using it. So, phones are constantly emitting electromagnetic waves into the environment. And putting this device next to your head while you sleep means exposing your body to these harmful waves.
How and where should you leave your cell phone when you sleep?
There are two ways: the first is to turn it off and leave it in its usual place, but use another alarm clock. The second way is not to turn it off but put it in a remote room, such as the kitchen or living room. This alternative is less desirable.
If you feel the need to stay connected because you may need to communicate with someone, at least turn off the Internet or Wi-Fi connection, which is even more dangerous than radio waves. Experts recommend that you keep your cell phone at least a meter away from your body while you sleep. You can leave it, for example, on the couch or on a chair.
In addition, be sure to remember not to put your cell phone under the pillow when it is charging. There are many cases of burns to the face and hands due to overloading and the resulting fire inside the devices. Most pillows are made of a material that catches fire very quickly, and this poses a great danger to a person when she is asleep.
It is also dangerous when we leave a cell phone on a nightstand. This increases anxiety levels, we are constantly on hold, and consequently, we wake up in the middle of the night to check email or access social media. These changes in behavior and habits cause stress, insomnia, poor concentration, mental performance problems, decreased productivity, nightmares, headaches, etc.
Other “healthy” habits when using a cell phone:
- Don’t talk on the phone for long periods of time, and if the talking time increases, move the phone from one ear to the other every few minutes.
- If at all possible, talk on a hands-free system with the device close to your head.
- Do not allow children to use cell phones even as a toy.
- Do not talk on the phone where the signal is weak, as the device will produce powerful radio waves.
- Do not carry your cell phone on your body (men are advised to put it in their pants pockets) and avoid contact with your skin.
- Keep it away (at least half a meter), even if it is on your desk.
Consequently, it is necessary to give your cell phone a rest and thereby also rest from it. At night you should provide yourself a good sleep and rest, to charge the battery, which was used all day. It is better than the cell phone stays away from us until we get out of bed (if we can resist the temptation) or until we go out of the house to work.
Is it harmful to sleep next to a phone that’s charging?
Your phone can be charged with a wired or wireless charger. But whichever type of charger you use, there is no conclusive evidence that the radiation produced by charging can harm your health.
USB wall charger. This device converts AC current from an outlet to DC current. It then reduces the voltage from the outlet that you need to charge your phone’s battery.
The extra energy resulting from this conversion will mostly be dissipated through non-ionizing long-wave radiation, i.e. through heat, microwaves and radio waves. There will be no harm from such additional exposure. Roughly the same thing happens when heating any other object that we are near every day. For example, a battery or an incandescent light bulb.
However, the alternating current used to charge a phone always generates a magnetic field. Some people fear that such a field will adversely affect their health. About whether this is actually the case, I will tell you below.
The principle of operation of this device is based on the ability to alternate electric current to generate a magnetic field and vice versa.
When the AC current from the wall outlet enters the wireless charger, it creates a magnetic field in the wireless charger. If the phone’s built-in receiving device comes in contact with the charger, the magnetic field creates an alternating current in it. The receiving device then converts the AC current into DC current and uses it to charge the phone’s battery.
How Wireless Mobile Phone Charging Works
Theoretically, a very powerful magnetic field can induce a weak electric current in the human body. This can interfere with the normal operation of a person’s own electrical systems – above all neurons, which use electrical impulses to transmit information from the body to the brain and vice versa.
This is why many organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, limit exposure to magnetic fields for both workers and ordinary people. They prohibit the use of devices that generate excessive magnetic fields in factories and homes.
However, in order for a magnetic field to cause harm, it must be very powerful. The intensity of magnetic fields is measured in teslas. For example, all living organisms, including humans, are exposed to the Earth’s natural magnetic field every day, which is only 30 microgels.
All animals and plants on the planet long ago adapted to the effects of its magnetic field. But 30 microtelesl is not the limit of what we can withstand without harming our health. International organizations believe that at home people can be exposed to a magnetic field of 200 micro tales and factory workers to 1,000 micro tales.
Factory magnetic fields are so powerful that they demagnetize bank cards and break cell phones. And people work in such conditions without any protection. They do not develop any diseases with time, and they live as long as their peers who are not exposed to powerful magnetic fields.
I couldn’t find any information about what magnetic field in micro teslas a wireless charger generates. But it doesn’t matter: unlike factory electric generators, which create gigantic magnetic fields covering a large shop, the magnetic field from the charger spreads very close. It’s easy to see this if you put the phone not on the charger, but next to it – the phone won’t charge. So you should not be afraid of the influence of magnetic fields on the person sleeping next to the charging station.
Is it harmful to use the phone while charging?
According to the data available, it is not safe to use the phone while charging only in one case: if you are charging it and taking a bath at the same time.
Cell phone battery voltage rarely exceeds 5V – too low to hurt a person, even if the gadget falls into the water. But if you drop a plugged-in phone into the bathtub, it can short-circuit – an electric current of 220 volts will flow into the water. This is enough to kill a person.
In other cases, you can use your cell phone.
Can the phone explode while charging?
If you use your phone while it is charging, some of the energy will go into keeping the phone running and some will go into charging the battery. As a result, the phone will get a little hotter than it would if it was just standing there charging. But not so much as to cause a burn.
Theoretically, the phone could even explode while charging, but in practice, such cases are very rare. For a lithium-ion battery to explode, there must either be a problem with the battery control board, which is responsible for charging, or bad insulation on the phone. Or the phone must be used very carelessly – in a way that would again cause the insulation to break. These phones don’t look any different from normal phones, but they can get hotter and don’t hold a charge long enough.
The insulation can also be broken by overheating. But the overheating must be very strong – for this, you will have to throw the phone into the fire.
By following the above recommendations, you can avoid stress and neuronal level imbalance and keep a high quality of sleep.
And don’t forget that other devices you have at home are also bad for your health. Try not to put televisions or computers in your bedroom. If they are already there, they should be unplugged before bedtime. Turn off your router when you go to bed and try not to use your cell phone before bed.
Sources for writing the article:
Could Cell Phones Be a Health Hazard – FDA Bulletin:
Types of electromagnetic radiation – Bulletin of the National Center for Information on the Health Effects of Non-Ionizing Radiation in Israel, TNUDA:
What is non-ionizing radiation – U.S. Department of Labor Bulletin, OSHA:
Cell phones don’t cause cancer – U.S. National Cancer Institute:
Radar power reaches 1 kW and microwaves 0.5-2 kW – BC Public Health Foundation Bulletin:
Cell phones are made so they don’t heat the human body – Bulletin of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection:
Scientific evidence for cell phone safety – FDA bulletin:
Temperature rise in a subject exposed to radio waves from a cell phone – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Journal of Biomedical Engineering Protocols:
Electromagnetic fields and public health: cell phones – WHO Bulletin:
What is electromagnetic induction – Electronics Guides educational resource:
Exposure to electromagnetic fields from wireless chargers using magnetic resonance coupling does not threaten human health – Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews magazine:
Electric and Magnetic Fields. Exposure limits – Bulletin from Canadian Electrical Engineers:
Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric and magnetic fields – ICNIRPPDF:
Electromagnetic Fields in the Workplace – Bulletin of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: