There’s so much concern these days about “Electromagnetic Radiation” and since we’re talking about something that is basically invisible to our senses, it comes with fear and panic.
I have friends who purchased (expensive) equipment to “measure the EM levels” in their homes and relocated their baby beds because of those. Other people I know won’t go through a full body scanner at the airport (even though they are perfectly comfortable taking an airplane where the levels of radiation are much higher than we’re normally exposed at regular altitudes.)
First, let’s clarify something right away: For the scope of this discussion, there are two kinds of “radiation” we’re talking about: Ionizing Radiation and Non-Ionizing Radiation.
The first type (Ionizing Radiation) carries sufficient energy to free electrons from atoms (thus, ionizing them). Examples of this type of radiation include gamma rays (which is what most people think when they say “radiation”; it’s the stuff that comes out of radioactive decay), cosmic rays (which originate deep in space and hit all of us all the time) and higher ultraviolet radiation. This type of radiation is extremely dangerous because it effectively changes matter, affecting our DNA and causing cancer. People usually assign the term “radiation” to “ionizing radiation” and it’s generally a safe thing to do since you want to avoid it.
The second type (non-ionizing radiation) does not carry sufficient energy to mess with your DNA. It’s basically radio waves (including microwaves) and low UV light. This radiation can generate heat (that’s how microwave ovens work) but unlike the ionizing radiation, it will not change your DNA (and that’s why the food you put in the microwave doesn’t turn into something else.)
The radiation emitted by communication devices is basically non-ionizing radiation. That is why it’s permitted in your house. That includes wireless digital devices, cell phones, radios, “smart” power meters and a whole plethora of devices that are very common these days.
Mind you that even certain types of ionizing radiation are present in your house right now. Smoke detectors for example, contain Americium, which is radioactive (not all, some use photocells to detect smoke, but can’t detect certain kinds of fires early enough.) Americium emits alpha particles (if I recall correctly), but also a small amount of the super dangerous gamma particles. Thing is: The level is so low they’re deemed safe.
As you can see, there’s a lot of fear when we say “radiation”, so it’s important to keep some basic facts in mind:
Always remember the distinction between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. A lot of people simply put all the cats in the same bag and live a life of fear, superstition, and ignorance.
The nocebo effect is real! Some people will get sick if you say they’re being bathed in harmless non-ionizing radiation. They’re not faking it! Fortunately, those people can also get cured by crystals, new-age music, homeopathic remedies and other equally innocuous things.
Watch out for sensationalist research. It’s trivial to get anything published these days and the media loves fear and misinformation.
You can’t completely escape EM waves. You can probably remove all wireless devices from your house, but there’s still your neighbor’s, TV stations, radio stations, HAM radios, police radios, transmission lines, etc. Oh, also, remember that cell phone in your pocket? It’s talking to a cell tower right now, even if you’re not using it, and people use it very close to their bodies.
You can’t completely escape ionizing radiation either, but fortunately we (as a society) understand that and attempt to minimize exposure. X-rays, airplane trips, cosmic rays, UV light from the sun, and even the bricks in your home can effect changes in your DNA.
So, that’s basically it. The TL;DR is: Don’t worry much about the radiation emitted by your devices. You’ll find kooks everywhere and all kinds of “regulatory bodies” trying to pass laws on this subject to justify their existences. Just use your brain and discard all the silly nonsense.
BTW, here’s a cool chart on radiation doses: https://xkcd.com/radiation/