Cordless Phone

April 3, 2008

Cordless Phones

by Maria Garcia Alvarez

Cordless phones are not all the same. They come in either analog or digital form and theyoperate in a range of frequencies, from radio to microwave. Common analog cordless phones that operate around 900MHz (the low end frequency of a microwave oven) are being replaced by new digital phones that operate at 2.45 – 5.8 GHz (microwave ovens operate around 2.5GHz) and with more power. Analog phones present health hazards, but the new, high-frequency Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephones (DECT) seem to be much worse. DECT phones emit microwave radiation very similar to cell phones. But, a cell phone’s handset automatically turns down its output once a link is established, while a DECT always sends out the same strength signal. Moreover, while the power of the signal from older analogue cordless phones is at a constant level (10 mW), the signal from a DECT is sent in bursts – 100 bursts of high power (250 mW) per second.

If you use a DECT close to its main base unit, you are exposed to two separate doses of radiation – one from the handset and one from the base. When in use, DECT phone handsets emit low frequency magnetic field pulses into the side of the your head as well as high frequencymicrowaves, easily capable of penetrating walls. Meanwhile, the charger units give off high levels of low frequency magnetic fields along with pulses of microwaves 24 hours a day.

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Emissions from a cordless phone charger can be as high as six volts per meter (yard) – twice as strong as those found within 100 meters (yards) of mobile masts. Six feet away from the charger the radiation is still as high as 2.5 volts per meter (yard), which is 50 times the “safe” level; you have to be 100 meters (yards) away before the emissions drop to a “safe” 0.05 volts per meter (yard). (

Interesting studies about radiation and effects from DECT phones and baby monitors: ,,

Health Risks

The most common cancer caused by such radiation is leukemia. But breast cancer, brain tumors, insomnia, headaches and erratic behavior in kids have also been linked. Investigations (Hardell & Mild, 2003) of thousands of cases of brain tumors and mobile phones of all types has found up to a 50% increased risk of a brain tumor after five years, which doubles after ten years


Another Lennart Hardell paper on mobile phone use and brain tumors shows an increased brain cancer risk for long-term over 5 years of regular cordless phone use (

Radio wave sickness from all sources, including cordless telephones, has become widespread in the US over that last decade. Symptoms include: Insomnia, headaches, dizziness, nausea, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, irritability, respiratory illness (bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia), flu-like illness, asthma, fatigue, weakness, pressure or pain in the chest, increase in blood pressure, altered pulse rate (usually slowed), pressure behind the eyes, other eye problems, swollen throat, dry lips or mouth, dehydration, sweating, fever, shortness of breath, muscle spasms, tremors, pain in the legs or the soles of the feet, testicular or pelvic pain, joint pain, pains that move around the body, nosebleeds, internal bleeding, hair loss, digestive problems, skin rash, ringing in the ears, impaired sense of smell, pain in the teeth (especially with metallic fillings)

Electro-smog (a popular term for all artificially produced electrical and magnetic fields, including that coming from cordless phones) affects the body in several ways:

Energetic effect (thermal): it damages the organism by individual molecules, cells or organs being fed so much energy that they are totally or partly destroyed (principle of a microwave oven)

Signal effect: An organism can convert even the weakest fields into powerful biological responses which can result in disturbances in the hormone balance, biorhythm, psyche and the immune system.

Electro-stress: An enormous variety of tiny waves penetrates into the body. The human body comprises billions of particles, all of which wish to move or to oscillate with the waves like tiny compass needles. This is not possible, as the cells are part of a firm tissue and fixed cell structures. This fight to “break away” ends in a “physical long-term stress”.

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1. Stay away from 2.4 GHz and 5.8GHz DECT phones unless you know you can get a new generation phone that only transmits from the base when the handset is lifted. (Nothing is available in the US yet, but in Europe, I found Rowtex Limited, which distributes OrchidLow Radiation phones, and FRITZ!F, which makes a phone with an “eco-mode”.)

2. A better choice is to use the lower frequency (900 mHz) analog cordless phones. The transformer emits a constant EMF, and both the handset and the base unit of analogue cordless telephones emit detectable microwave radiation when making or receiving calls, BUT the base unit/charger on analogue cordless phones does not emit detectable microwave radiation when the phone is not in use.

3. If you use a cordless phone, keep the charger as far away from occupied spaces as possible, and definitely away from the bed.

4. Consider using only phones with cords (the old fashioned kind), at least as the only phone that is permanently connected. You can keep the cordless phones unplugged until you need to use them.


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17 Responses to “Cordless Phone”

  1. Lee Says:

    Have been researching buying a 6.0 DECT phone to replace 5.8 cordless so as not to interfere with wireless internet. The health hazards are unacceptable to me. Question: what type of cordless phone would be less hazardous yet not interfere with wireless? Help…….need info as soon as feasible and thank you in advance!

  2. Laura Says:

    Sorry about the delay – 900MHz phones are better because they are analog so do not have the same biological impact. The the new digital phones that ONLY send signals when you are using the phone are a slight improvement over the standard 2.4 and 5.8GHZ phones. Read the fine print to see if the 6.0 DECT phone has that capability. It’s becoming standard in Europe, and slowly catching on here in the US.

    Good luck!

  3. Joy Says:

    I have been trying to find 900 analog multi-handset cordless phones and found nothing sold in most stores. I even called some stores before I go and asked if I can reserve one. Unfortunately, most stores even those surplus stores sell the 2.4 and higher phones. My question is: There are 2.4 and 5.8ghz analog phones advertised on some websites like the VTech t2350 2.4Ghz analog phone, is it safe to assume that this phone and all the other 2.4 to 5.8 analog multi-handset phones emit lower microwave radiation or am i just deceived by the manufacturers labeling these as “analog”?

  4. melan Says:

    I would like to quote the following from the folloqwing webasite:

    “Frequency of the radio waves is an important factor in determining the depth to which they penetrate the head. Higher frequency radio waves penetrate less distance into the head. The frequencies used by digital cordless phones are around 1900 MHz (megahertz), which is similar to those used by mobile phones (900, 1800 and 2100 MHz). Older cordless phone handsets used in the UK radiate at a lower frequency than mobile phones, either around 47 MHz or 39 MHz, depending on the system, meaning that there is greater penetration into the head.”

    that means analog phones are dangerous compared to high frequncy DECT arn’t they?

  5. Laura Seidman Says:

    Penetration of waves into the head is only one of the issues with radiation. In fact, there are two issues with cell phones and cordless phones:

    (1) Heating of the living tissue by the waves that directly penetrate your head. This is probaby what melan’s website is addressing. Heating your brain is a bigger problem the longer you stay on the phone and is worse in children who have thinner skulls. Keep your conversations short and use text messages instead!

    (2) The ICRW (information carrying radio waves) that are carried on DIGITAL phones are of a biological frequency (somewhere around 200Hz, which is considered extremely low), which means that the cells recognize the frequencies, thus critical cell functions get confused or interrupted, possibly leading to diseases, dysfunctions and cancers.

    I would still stick to ANALOG, which does not use the ICRW technology.

  6. Jason Says:

    Laura, would 2.4mhz or 5.8 ghz cordlesses that are analougue be just as good as 900mhz in terms of safety?

  7. Laura Says:

    Analogue phones are always better than digital because they function more like a radio, whose waves(as far as I know) are harmless to our health. Digital telephone signals carry pulses of information that do biological harm. The frequencies (900mHz, 2.4ghz, 5.8ghz) are all outside of human range, so don’t really matter that much.

    So I would say that as long as the phone is truly analog (no digital component to the information transmission), go for it!

  8. Jason Says:

    do 2.4-5.8 ghz analogue phones still emit all the time?? i just bought one but the customer care doesnt even know!

  9. Analog phones only transmit when in use, so as long as your phone is truly analog, you should be in pretty good shape.

    Some of the newest 5.8 and 6.0gHz phones in the U.S. only transmit when in use, but every phone base in the house will be giving off high levels of biological frequency pulses (<200Hz) when any handset is being used so keep your phone calls short.

  10. jason Says:

    wow, thanks so much Laura. But how do I know if its truely analougue or not?? this is the phone i’ve got . its definitly analougue, as stated on the booklet and the website. the phone on standby lasts a bit more than twice the amount of time when in use. I still have no idea if it “true” analogue. The manual does warn about security of calls though.

    Also, what exactly makes analogue not emit all the time and dect constantly emit? thanks so much for your time

  11. jason Says:
    ok the other site doesnt mention analogue but this one does and so does my manual for the 2631

  12. Barbara L Says:

    My 900MHz analog cordless of 8 years just died and I cannot find any analog cordless phones. They are all DECT 6.0 (1.9GHz) or I can find online some FHSS (5.8GHz) which are still digital. Are these newer DECT phones still emitting constantly from the base? Most of the info on DECT seems to be a few years old (2005). Do the FHSS also emit continuously from the base? Would I be better to buy an older 5.8 FHSS digital? Thanks.

    • Ginny Says:

      I am in the same predicament–my 900 mhz cordless died also. That’s when I started doing research about phones and emfs and read the warnings about avoiding ghz freqencies. Other than Uniden, which still makes a couple of models of 900 mhz phones (I think analog), no one else seems to make them but you can buy refurbished ones online (I think I saw it on–a bit pricy though–about $80). And today I saw a Uniden analog cordless phone that was 5.8 mhz in Staples for $24.99. the model # is EX18560. That may be our best best, if it’s totally analog and not at all digital. I’ll have to research it.

  13. Ian Says:

    Have any of you check out thrift stores yet? they always seem to have lots of old phones. And cheap!

  14. I really was basically browsing for ideas for my personal website and encountered your
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    you really care if perhaps I really apply many of your own tips?

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  15. Marco Says:

    I’m constantly in thrift stores and Ian is right, they are cheap and in good condition mostly 🙂 Recommendations

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