DECT Phone Safety

dect radiation

Radiation from cell phones has been getting a lot of press of late but according to the BioInitiative Report cordless phones look to be just as dangerous as cell phones when it comes to brain tumors and acoustic neuromas.

DECT technologies originated in Europe and have since been widely introduced throughout the world. Today more than 800 million DECT systems are in use.(1) The pulsed frequencies of electromagnetic radiation used in DECT technology are in the microwave band, as are cell phones.

Oversight For Phone Safety Is Lacking

The ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) is responsible for monitoring and creating guidelines for radiation technologies. The ICNIRP guidelines focus exclusively on high frequency radiation and thermal activity. But many scientists have been pointing out that pulsed microwaves at low frequencies are also cause for alarm. Yet there are no guidelines for non-thermal, low-frequency radiation. Anotherwords, the only tests performed for these technologies are thermal (testing whether the radiation can heat an object and cause harm due to that heating) or for frequency and height (if the wave length is high and close together radiation causes immediate harm). Gamma waves are high frequency as they are generated by radioactive atoms in nuclear explosions. So, heat and frequency/height are the only two criteria the commission tests for.

Since the commission does not consider whether pulsed low-frequency radiation is harmful or not, industry studies have in the past tried to tell us they are not…

electromagnetic radiation

What Is Electromagnetic Radiation?

Just as a refresher course: — electromagnetic radiation consists of an electrical field plus a magnetic field which each oscillate perpendicular to one another as they travel through space. Amplitude is the height or breath of the wave. As said above, frequency is the waves per specific time frame, usually seconds, from extremely low frequency radiation (ELF) which have longer wavelengths (longer wavelengths are measured in megahertz) up to short gamma rays where the wavelengths are extremely close together. Rays with shorter wavelengths can carry more information and more energy.

radiation wave

As can be seen below, the electromagnetic wavelengths we can see are certainly a very small portion of what is going on out there…

electromagnetic spectrum
Note how the microwave spectrum blends in with the radio spectrum…

Why Are DECT Phones Dangerous?

DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication) phones are cause for concern in that the base station is usually kept in a convenient spot close by such as on a bedside table, or on your desk, or in the kitchen. The base stations of all older and most current models continually emit radiation even when not in use. And when a DECT phone is in use, the unit continuously radiates at high power from handset to base station. Even cell phones power down when close by a base station. Cell phones radiate on high when they are furthest away from a tower (fewer signal bars) and this is when you should not be using them, as that is when the radiation is strongest, as cell and tower are struggling to communicate with each other. DECTs are always on high power when in use. See end of article for the one phone I found that does power down.

There are two factors to be aware of in regard to wireless technologies. There is the radiation between handset and base station and then there is the information-carrying radio wave (ICRW). Microwave radiation carries the voice/data information by means of modulations. Scientists are now observing that pulsed information transfer by microwaves triggers biological effects. (2) Even the lowest pulsed frequency might not be safe. Wireless technologies pulse radiation in an organized fashion and these pulses interfere with the various biochemical processes going on in the body. (2) Just as electromagnetic interference from wireless technologies interferes with an airplane’s or a hospital’s equipment — so too with our inner processes. We are electrochemical/electromagnetic creatures, as can be experienced when hooked up to a electroencephalogram (EEG, a test that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain) or an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG, a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart).

Studies About Electromagnetic Waves In Phones

Over 1000 medical doctors in Germany have endorsed the Freiburger Appeal, which postulates that people’s exposure to electromagnetic fields (mainly mobile/DECT) — is triggering widespread illness…

Out of great concern for the health of our fellow human beings do we – as established physicians of all fields, especially that of environmental medicine – turn to the medical establishment and those in public health and political domains, as well as to the public. We have observed, in recent years, a dramatic rise in severe and chronic diseases among our patients, especially:

  •    Learning, concentration, and behavioural disorders (e.g. attention deficit disorder)
  •    Extreme fluctuations in blood pressure, ever harder to influence with medications
  •    Heart rhythm disorders
  •    Heart attacks and strokes among an increasingly younger population
  •    Brain-degenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s) and epilepsy
  •    Cancerous afflictions: leukemia, brain tumors

Moreover, we have observed an ever-increasing occurrence of various disorders, often misdiagnosed in patients as psychosomatic:

  •    Headaches, migraines
  •    Chronic exhaustion
  •    Inner agitation
  •    Sleeplessness, daytime sleepiness
  •    Tinnitus
  •    Susceptibility to infection
  •    Nervous and connective tissue pains

Since the living environment and lifestyles of our patients are familiar to us, we can see – especially after carefully-directed inquiry – a clear temporal and spatial correlation between the appearance of disease and exposure to pulsed high-frequency microwave radiation (HFMR), such as:


  •    Installation of a mobile telephone sending station in the near vicinity
  •    Intensive mobile telephone use
  •    Installation of a digital cordless (DECT) telephone at home or in the neighborhood

No Consensus On Cell Phone Safety

There are currently many conflicting reportsregarding the dangers of RF (radio frequency) and microwave technologies. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently published the Interphone study which looks at mobile phone use and brain cancer risk. The Interphone International Study Group, is made up of 21 scientists, from 13 countries. On the first page of the report it reveals that 5.5 million € of its funding was contributed by industry sources. Of the 5.5 million €, 3.5 million € was contributed by the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum (MMF) and the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) Association. Many feel the project has tarnished the agency’s reputation and scientists within Interphone have come to differing conclusions as to whether cell phones present a cancer risk.(4)

cell phone studies industry funded

The Environmental Working Group’s Cell Phone Radiation Science Review is a great place to read: a synopsis of industry and private studies.(5)

Current Radiation Standards Don’t Consider Effects Of Radiation On Children

The Federal Communications Commission established radiation standards for cell phones in 1996. The agency set basic standards as per recommendations of the IEEE (a professional association for the advancement of technology) and the ICNIRP. These standards (also known as SAR, or Specific Absorption Rate) allow a 20-fold higher maximum exposure to the head (1.6 W/kg) compared to the rest of the body (0.08 W/kg). This standard clearly does not take children’s safety into consideration as can be deduced from the illustrations below.

radiation penetration from phone

Children are more susceptible! As can be seen above, children have surprisingly thin skulls. Their nervous system is still developing, their cells are dividing more rapidly, and their immune systems are still undeveloped.** According to a recent study, bone marrow in a child’s skull absorbs 10 times more microwave radiation than does an

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on Dec 6, 2010 whose lead researcher was Leeka Kheifets, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles studied 28,745 children, half of them exposed to cell phone radiation. “Compared to children with no exposure to cell phones, those exposed both before and after birth were 50 percent more likely to display behavior problems, the study found. Children exposed to cell phones in the womb, but not after they were born, showed a 40 percent higher risk of borderline behavior problems. And those not exposed to cell phones during their mother’s pregnancy , but who were using them by age seven, were 20 percent more likely to have behavior problems.’*6

For many millenia we have evolved without the constant stream of pulsed low frequency radiation bombarding our cells, without chemical additives settling into our organs, without genetically modified plants as our food source and without antibiotics being forcefed to livestock forever making those antibiotics useless defenders against ever new strains of infectious agents. All the above weaken our defences and leave us vulnerable to extinction!


Which DECT Phones Are Safe?

I thought the Siemens Gigaset was the only safe DECT in the U.S., as they say so on their website:

Siemens Gigasets, tick the ECO DECT option:

But it appears it is not. Here is a response I received from Siemens, March, 2013.

Thank you for posting your question to Gigaset support. Unfortunately, radiation-free feature is not available in the USA but there is a mode of the phone which reduces the radiation by 80 percent when you are not making calls. When there is a call the radiation is normal as on any other phone but when the phone is in idle mode the radiation is reduced. When the handset is off and base station unpluged there is no radiation emition at all.

Should you have any further questions, queries or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be more than glad to assist you in any way we could.”

With kind regards,

Technical Support for Gigaset Products
Phone 866 2478758
Web page


I wrote to Panasonic questioning what Eco Mode meant. Panasonic wrote back that their “Intelligent Eco Mode feature automatically lowers the power consumption when you’re using the handset close to the base unit.” As a cell phone does when you are close to a cell tower. This is a plus — but would be nice if the headset did not radiate 24/7 as well. See explanation on Panasonic site:


I questioned another company asking —
On Amazon you say your  DECT … is Eco-Friendly.
What do you mean by that? Does the base shut off when not in use?
And they wrote back saying:

“Amazon actually puts their own product description of what they sell on their website. It would be best to contact Amazon on what they mean when they state this. The only term we use when using ‘Friendly’ is ‘Wifi-Friendly’. What we mean when we say Wifi-Friendly is that the phone should get rare, if at any interference, with a Wifi network.”

Symptoms reported by Students exposed to WiFi in Classrooms

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness – Nausea – Vertigo (subsides when student leaves the school)
  • Visual and Auditory Distortion (unsure of where they are, voices change volume)
  • Racing Heart Rate (Tachycardia) Click here for more details
  • Memory Loss (trouble remembering school material)
  • Attention Deficit (trouble concentrating while in class)
  • Skin Rash (goes away on school breaks)
  • Hyperactivity/Anxiety (behaviour not previously seen in the child)
  • Night Sweats (unexplainable, unrelated to fever)
  • Insomnia (microwaves affect melatonin levels)

Safe School Committee

**     A Tale of Two Countries: Wired vs. Wireless Internet in Schools


1. European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)

2. BioInitiative Report

3. Freiburger Appeal
4. Microwave News

5. The Environmental Working Group’s Cell Phone Radiation Science Review

6. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Article discussing above on www.women’ *

Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland. Electromagnetic Field Fact Sheet DECT Phones

Written by Keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building. Keiren originally founded Inspiration Green in 2007, which merged with Insteading in 2016.


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  1. Thank you for this! Particularly the list of what phone is safest (that can be purchased in the US). Panasonic’s listing of ‘Eco DECT plus’ is confusing and apparently misleading. Today is May 9, 2012. Is this article here (and the listing of what’s available for sale in the US – namely the Gigaset phone) still the latest info? I need a new phone soon and would like a safe one. Thanks again!

  2. Hi there Bee,

    I searched a few months ago and again today… it appears that U.S. consumers are not yet asking for low radiation DECT phones, so phone manufacturers are not supplying them. In Europe – Panasonic, Siemens and Orchid are making low radiation DECT phones, but in the U.S., it appears the only low radiation DECTs available are made by Siemens… if anyone finds any others, please do write! Thanks for writing!

  3. I’m in the USA and looking for a DECT 6 phone that does not radiate when not in use. Research led me to Gigaset phones However, I found this review post on dated July 30, 2012: ‘I bought this phone because reviews stated that it has no radiation when in Eco plus mode-as does other Gigaset phones. I asked them [Gigaset] when I was on the phone with support [Gigaset]. They said this is true, but it doesn’t have this feature enabled in the US due to the fact that that frequency interferes with Military operations and thus can’t be used here. So all DECT phones in the US will give off Radiation, even when idle…’ So I then reviewed the Gigaset website for FAQs on ECO DECT. The USA-English version states that there is a ‘Reduction of transmitting power to almost zero when handset is docked (with only one registered handset)’. It does not mention ECO Plus. And the fact that it states ‘with only one registered handset’ suggests to me that if you have two or more handsets, then the transmitting power (radiation) is at regular levels even when not in use and docked. This is supported by the fact that the FAQs for the United Kingdom specifically refer to ECO Mode Plus and state: ‘Radiation-free ECO Mode Plus turns off the transmitting power when the phone is in standby. The DECT transmitting power is switched off for all registered handsets – when all support ECO Mode Plus’ and ‘When using ECO Mode Plus, the base station only transmits a signal when necessary, for example, when a call comes in, when the phone is in use, or when a connection occurs.

    When not in use, the transmitting power is turned off (this applies to all registered handsets that support ECO Mode Plus). This is true when you are not phoning or changing settings on the base station.’ So I don’t know for sure, but it doesn’t look good for the USA. Still searching.

  4. A follow-up to my post on Sept. 26, 2012. I reached out to Gigaset customer service myself. They wrote ‘Eco Mode Plus option, which reduces the radiation by 100% when not in use is not available in the US. This feature uses a non standard frequency that is already in use by military and aircrafts, which is why Gigaset could not get an approval from the FCC and had to disable this feature.’ So this confirms the post I saw on Therefore, nothing appears to be available in the USA.

  5. Thanks so much for writing in with all your research. Such a shame we cannot get a Low Radiation DECT phone in the States. I have searched as well, with no success. Unfortunate about the Gigaset.

  6. Intelligent Eco Mode: Panasonic’s latest terminology.

    Anyone have a clue as to what this really means?

    My guess is the corded base station with satellite cordless phones is the safest phone right now, but I cannot find anything to back this up. Not a shred of evidence, except for this Intelligent Eco Mode – words that appear unsubstantiated. No details.

  7. Hi,

    I’ve been trying for several years to find a safe phone. My family is begging me now for some cordless phones. We’re currently only using the Panasonic corded phones and my family can’t take the long cords all over the house anymore. Just wondering if you found a cordless phone you feel is safe?

    Thanks for sharing such a well researched post.

  8. I have a letter out to Siemens about this phone though. Gigaset A510 A Quattro 4-Pack DECT6.0 Cordless Phone – Made in Germany

    In Europe you have many choices, but here I have yet to find one.

    Your best option might be to find an old cordless with an antenna, as these do not have the new DECT technology and do come close to the radiation levels of DECT tech.

    Must be so hard worrying about kids and all the dangers society puts in their path.

  9. Keiren,

    Thanks for your quick response. After I posted here I watched this video

    about how DECT affects heart rate and decided

    against it again. Some are saying it’s hard to confirm that the Eco DECT

    plus phones are actually not radiating unless you check them with an

    EMF detector. I have one but still it concerns me.

    Like you said, so many things to worry about with our children and ourselves, but I think my gang will have to suffer with the corded phones. I’m thinking about an old analog 2.4 ghz cordless phone they could use because some have said they don’t give off radiation, or as much radiation. You can still find some on ebay and a few other places. When you suggested an old cordless with an antenna would that be one of the 2.4 ghz – the old analog phones – would that be a safe option? Conflicting info on the web about just which of the old phones are safe.

    Thanks again!


  10. Well, how good is the shool study on Wifi, actually?

    Have they actually measured carbon dioxide levels as well? Carbon dioxide levels in most schools are far too high and these give similar symptoms I would assume.

  11. You can buy a Siemens A510 Gigaset with 4 handsets at the shopping channel $70 . It has the Eco Dect feature which cuts off 70%. Better than nothing.

  12. hello,

    Thanks for an informative article.

    I am convinced not to have a DECT phone in my home but I am confused…are corded phones also using DECT technology? If so, are they safer than cordless? If I need to get new phones for the house, what brand/model is the safest to use? I live in Canada. Many thanks!

  13. Hi Lori,

    Yes there are corded/cordless DECT phones…usually sold with a cordless handset. The main phone is corded, all other handsets cordless. You must read the box carefully. But a give away would be if it comes with additional cordless handsets or says it’s expandable. Any corded phone that does not have wireless technology is a safe phone. But prepare to read the information on the box carefully! Good luck!

  14. Hallo,

    Does anybody knows if there are any DECT Phone with Corded base AND corded handset ?

    OR, two similar corded phones with corded handsets, communicating by DECT ?

    That would be the optimum combination.

    Greetings from Greece,

    & Thanks !

  15. I tried the Gigaset; it gave me headaches. So does the Panasonic Dect cordless I just bought. I plan to return it and get a corded phone for home. I feel like a freak cause I’m the only person I talk to that has this reaction to Dect phones: headache and nausea.

  16. HI!

    Does anyone have or know of any definitive information regarding the radiation risk of using a corded headset (not HANDSET) on a DECT phone?

    I have been using a corded headset on my DECT phone for years, thinking that it was safer. But I recently read info, stating that wired headsets on mobile phones are even more dangerous than holding the phone to your head. Again, wondering if this would apply to wired headsets used on DECT phones.

  17. Since most all U.S. DECT phones emit radiation (amount varies) when idle, it is true your setup might not be the best. I do not know if wired headsets on mobile/DECT phones make them more dangerous, I haven’t heard that from a reliable source.

  18. Fellows, there is no safe DECT phone, because it’s cordless, and is no different to a mobile phone. They both radiate microwave non-ionised radiation. Even an Analogue is and was dangerous, this is why many users in the early days were diagnosed ME and CFS.

    If you use a metre when talking on the cordless phone take a reading at the ear you are listening with, then move the metre to the other ear and you will see that the radiation is still high on the other side.

    Now this tells you that you have just cooked your brain, and if used for long-termed and prolonged period of time you will suffer neurasthenic symptoms and possible cardiovascular, neurological and haemodynamic disturbances.

    Best of health users of DECT and Analogue cordless phones.

  19. I would like to know if my Vtech cordless phone is safe and if it is emitting electromagnetic frequencies when i am not using it?

    • Yes, Your Vtech Cordless phone BASE is emitting EMF when you are not using it.
      All cordless phone bases in North America emit 10 pulses every second, all the time, 24/7, at strong intensities. If you want to know how strong the signal is and how far it goes, go outside with the phone and see how far you get signal.. I’ve measured cordless base signals up to 70-80 feet away from homes. Neighboring homes receive this signal, and your neighbor’s cordless base EMF will surely enter your home.

  20. This is so well written. Thank you so much. I’ve been reading up on these DECT phones and found the online content to be either confusing or hyperbole. This is neither.

    Has anything changed? I found the same basic scenario that you painted above. Siemens phone with reduced RF during non-calls, and Panasonic with less RF when close to base, but NOTHING else.

    My issue is I need to get a DECT phone for my parents. They need the mobility, but I do not want to expose them to these risks. We also need to get them the call blocking feature (I only see it on one Panasonic DECT phone).

    I’ve tried other solutions, including a standalone call blocker, with very poor results. This may have something to do with European phon systems (this well regarded blocker was designed for the UK).

    I’m surprised manufacturers STILL are not taking this stuff seriously. How frustrating.

    • Nothing changed. Use a cell phone, get rid of DECT, the only solution.

      Cell does not emit 10 times a second.
      Cell with WiFi or Data on does emit a lot though, so that’s not recommended either, even in standby mode. I would say a cell on standby with WiFi on is almost as bad as having a DECT base, especially if it’s in your pocket and you have apps like Facebook that constantly use the network.

  21. Does anyone know if the base unit’s power is completely off is there any transmission/pulses to/from the other non base units that have their power on? I assume that if the base unit is off the other units stop transmitting. I was thinking at least at night time to have a timer connected to the base unit that would kill its power during the night to spare at least 8 hours of the day and automatically turn on in the morning.

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