Is there any data anywhere showing if amateur radio operators are more likely to get cancer from exposure to RF?


FCC's page on this at https://www.fcc.gov/general/fcc-policy-human-exposure which links to several other documents including FCC OET Bulletin 56, "Questions and Answers about Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields", last updated 1999.

This document very carefully explains RF radiation and how ionizing radiation (UV and higher) causes DNA damage.

It then explains the types of known effects of non-ionizing radiation (mostly heating which can result in burns) and the mechanisms involved.

It then goes into detail about how effects and damage other than heating have been reported, but that no conclusive evidence of this damage has been found.

However, it is also very careful to say that just because evidence has not been found, there is no proof that there is no damage either, and that further research is both needed and being done.

This 36 page document is full of detail and includes additional more detailed references. If you have unanswered questions on this topic, it is worth the read.

Short answer: we're not sure, but probably not.

Longer answer: RF energy at any frequency is dangerous if power levels are high enough. Different frequencies cause different damage. Part of getting an amateur radio license is learning this so you know how to operate safely, both for you and those around your equipment.

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    $\begingroup$ There is the effect of strong magnetic fields in the near field of antennas, its intensity decreases inversely squared(or cubed depending on the formula) distance from the radiator, that is still unknown as to how the body reacts to it (studies have been inconclusive). Far field TEM waves are generally considered safe. $\endgroup$ – KX4UQ May 1 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ I think OET 56 at least touches on magnetic fields, but I suspect there's been more study of that in the last 20 years that it obviously doesn't reflect. There's certainly been a lot of medical devices that use strong magnetic fields, so I assume there's been thorough FDA studies. $\endgroup$ – user10489 May 1 at 5:30
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    $\begingroup$ And in case we both glossed over it, all antennas generate strong elegrical and strong magnetic fields. What escapes from the antenna ("far field") is balanced between the two to generate the E-M wave. But near field is not as well studied, and goofy things happen there, and there can be strong nodes of either E-field or M-field. But you're not suppose to stand in the near field anyway. $\endgroup$ – user10489 May 1 at 5:33
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    $\begingroup$ It does, my point was the effects of the Electric field is well known(localized heating, bad but not carcinogenic), As far as the medical devices like MRI, they are similar in classification to X-Ray machines, use when necessary since the possible risks are out-weighed by the benefits. Unlike the time of X-Ray development, human exposure limit testing is banned(for good reason). So the only evidence is skewed by the need to have the test in the first place. I agree the near field is no place for a human. Although the roof reduction of the fields listed are optimistic at best. $\endgroup$ – KX4UQ May 1 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ Unless your roof is metal (like on most cars), I would count on it reducing the radiation only by pushing the antenna further away from you. Distance is the key. $\endgroup$ – user10489 May 1 at 6:07

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