Can a TV Antenna Cause Cancer?

That might have seemed like a silly question 30 or 40 years ago, but it’s not now. It seems like everything carries the risk of causing cancer these days. For example, some of the products we carry have a Proposition 65 cancer warning on them, which is a cancer warning required in California. In this climate, some people might wonder if other things will cause cancer, including TV antennas. So? Will these devices make you sick? Well, the answer is both straightforward and complex. If you want to know the answer, just keep reading.

An Important Note from our Attorneys

As you probably know, I am not a doctor and this is not a medical blog. I am not qualified to give medical advice nor would I attempt to. As a result, we are not responsible for consequences associated with any choices you make regarding TV antennas and anything else related to cord-cutting. Yeah, I know these kinds of disclaimers tend to disrupt the flow of a blog post, but our legal team insists that I included this information. Please keep this information in mind as you read on.

The Importance of RF Radiation

We all know that many things can cause cancer. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on radio frequency or RF radiation, which is the form of energy that TV signals are transmitted. RF signals are 100,000 watts when they leave a local TV station’s tower. By the time they get to homes more than a few miles away, that signal strength drops to thousandths of a watt. This is a common characteristic of all radiation; it’s called the rule of squares. (Stuart will have an upcoming post that explains all of this, which I highly recommend you read.)

Here’s something else you should know: A TV antenna is a passive device designed to receive signals. These devices do not transmit or send RF radiation; that’s done by the towers, aka transmitters, owned by local TV stations. If TV signals were dangerous, your TV antenna should be able to protect you in theory. Think about it. Your antenna would absorb all that signal and convert it into current. Anything or anyone behind or beneath this antenna would be at less risk.

One last thing about RF radiation: it is a non-ionizing radiation. To understand what that means, you have to know what ionizing radiation does. In my most non-scientific way of explaining things, non-ionizing radiation has enough energy to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. This process is called ionizing, and it’s known to damage the DNA inside cells and potentially cause cancer. High doses of X-rays and UV rays are examples of these carcinogenic or cancer-causing ionizing rays.

What the Experts Say About RF Radiation…

… The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states that there is limited evidence that RF radiation can cause cancer in animals and humans. Even so, IARC still classifies RF radiation in high doses as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” This finding is based on a couple of things:

  1. Prolonged exposure to high-energy forms of RF radiation, such as radar equipment, can cause burns.
  2. Some studies suggest a possible link between cell phone use and a specific type of brain tumor.

Just remember, we’re not aware of any studies or information that suggests that the RF radiation used to transmit TV signals carries any health risks, cancer or otherwise. The science we have access to suggests that an RF signal strength of .0001 Watts does not pose any risk of harm. So, with all that in mind, do TV Antennas Cause Cancer? Ultimately, the answer to this question seems to be a big fat no. If it were a problem, we’d probably know about it by now and antennas would come with a warning label similar to cigarettes.

Since TV Antennas Don’t Cause Cancer…

… Maybe it’s time to cut the cord and get free TV. The only risk is possibly watching too much TV, which is actually a good thing. In fact, it’s the whole point of cutting the cord on cable TV. Solid Signal can help you with this. We carry the biggest online collection of indoor and outdoor TV antennas. This means that we have the ideal antenna for your home.

If you’re interested in cutting the cord, give our antenna experts a call. They’ll ask you a few questions and your answers help them match you with the best antenna for you. We want to help you get the most free TV in your market. If you have any questions about cutting the cord, give us a call at 888-233-7563.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.