NICE AND EASY: Should you worry about TV broadcasts rotting your brain?

No, although that animation might rot your brain.

There are going to be some crackpots out there who are going to tell you that all the RF radiation out there is going to rot your brain. Folks, there’s just no evidence of it. The average TV broadcast signal is just a few ten-thousandths of a watt by the time it gets to you – it would take 20,000 TV signals just to light up an average LED light bulb.

Believe you me, there are a lot of things you should be worrying about these days but damage from faraway broadcast towers just isn’t one of them.

Breaking it all down

Now, it’s true, there are a lot of broadcast signals out there. There is radio, television, satellite, microwave, Wi-Fi, cellular (at least five kinds), plus military, government, weather, aviation… the list goes on and on. But RF radiation isn’t cumulative like that. It’s not like a 540KHz signal combined with a 2GHz one is going to make your brain explode. Which, speaking of which,

Sorry, I know this image is sort of NSFW. It’s one of my favorite GIFs and I tend to use it whenever I can.

This is not going to happen to you because of RF radiation. Psychically enhanced mutants maybe, but RF radiation no. There are many natural sources of RF radiation and they shouldn’t be confused with X rays, radiation from atomic decay, or even gamma rays:

Some of which are real things and could actually hurt you. While any sort of broadcast could be harmful at a sufficiently strong power, you would need to spend quite a bit of time standing right next to the top part of a TV broadcast tower before this could really hurt you. And since most people can’t levitate a hundred feet in the air, this is really a far less pressing concern than you would think.

Folks, this world is full of all sorts of things that can harm you. That’s the bad news. The good news is that TV signals aren’t one of them. At least you can relax and feel good about that.

Now that you feel a little safer…

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About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.