‘Tin foil hat’ business: Russians’ flats ‘rescued’ from routers and towers’ radiation

New types of fraudulence have appeared at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Russia

The coronavirus pandemic has intensified a lot of fears in society. Some Russians who have to spend most of the time at home have had an uncontrollable desire to protect their home. The spread of panic messages about the “life-threatening” radiation of home routers, mobile network towers and now the 5G network, which hasn’t been launched in our country yet, in social networks and messengers seems to have become a reply to the demand. And there have appeared people who want to protect homes from invisible “rays of death”, and enterprising engineering companies have rushed to help them. At the same time, we should say beforehand that in some case it is really necessary to resort to specialists. Realnoe Vremya found out when one should put up three layers of foil and when one should simply stop panicking and the cost of the full shielding in the flat.

Foil on walls and shielding screen on windows

As it turned out, with a desire to protect themselves from radiation, some people are ready to go far beyond holographic stickers, which were dispelled by scientists a long time ago, and decide to completely shield their home.

For this purpose, the walls, floor and ceiling are insulated with foil, a shielding film or screen with the analogous effect is hung on the windows. The facade is covered with special paint. Engineering companies that are on the crest of the wave of the “electromagnetic resistance” on time can help with it.

As Realnoe Vremya found out, despite numerous ads on the Net, it was nearly impossible to find a company that would shield homes in Kazan. The representatives of local engineering companies were surveyed were mainly surprised by the request for protection from electromagnetic radiation. Though one of the respondents gloomily replied he “didn’t deal with it” but then noted that the “the topic was interesting” and thanked out correspondent for the call with encouragement. It seems that somebody has opened a new development area for their business.

Things are much better at federal level. So under the guise of a potential client Realnoe Vremya’s correspondent turned to Construction Control Technologies PLC whose list of services includes “electromagnetic protection”. We wondered how to protect a flat from the neighbours’ Wi-Fi routers as well as a mobile operator’s basic stations 200 metres far from the house.

Insulation for 4 million

An employee of the company immediately warned us that the company recently stopped working with natural persons and serviced only industrial facilities. However, he didn’t deny consultation.

“As for the basic station, everything depends on the distance. If the distance from the house to the station was 50 metres (while in Petersburg the distance can be 20-30 metres because the streets and courtyards are narrow), the numbers in a flat might reach 5-10 MW per square centimetre. 200 metres is quite a safe distance where radiation from the basic station will be less than 1 MW. I will explain that according to our strict Russian regulations, 10 MW of radiation is permitted in places where people constantly live,” we were told in the company. “If the basic station is 10-20 metres far, it is a serious reason for protection. As for the rest, it is a psychological effect.”

According to Realnoe Vremya’s interlocutor, the walls in brick houses absorb radiation anyway, however, there are weak points — windows. Aluminium window blinds can be used as an option. In general, to keep calm our correspondent was advised to go to a certified laboratory that would measures “the density of the radiofrequency energy flow”. Such studies will cost about 3-5,000 rubles. While total insulation of a flat can be about 4 million rubles.

“Headaches, flowers don’t grow well, dogs fall ill”

“Talking about routers, their signal is very weak, they operate at a distance of 10-20 metres and aren’t compared with basic stations. The main factor is psychological here: somebody has said something, something has been read on the Internet, films have been watched... 99% of the information on the Internet on this topic or in REN-TV channel’s popular science films is complete rubbish designed to raise ratings. While people start to have psychosomatic headaches, flowers don’t grow well, dogs fall ill and so on,” our interlocutor mocked.

After feeling that the approach to the business was rather responsible, not a desire to offer us a service for a higher price, we decided to ask what would happen if we hung foil on all surfaces of the flat.

“If you want to completely shield the flat, you should consider how the mobile network and your phone work. When you talk, the mobile phone estimates the signal power from the basic station. If it is low (while the signal in a shielded area will be very weak), the phone starts to automatically increase the power of radiation. In other words, it can get only worse,” the interlocutor consulted us. “In fact, the usual home wiring is the main source of electromagnetic radiation in your home nobody talks about. It provides a 5 Hz field. If you cover the whole flat with foil, these fields will increase tens of times.”

“People earned millions from selling cream from the 5G network radiation”

Everything the representative of the engineering company is confirmed by head of EcoStandard group’s Independent Environmental Inspection Department Sergey Sysoyev. He and his colleague did research that showed that home routers are absolutely safe, though radiation at a distance of 5-10 centimetres from the source will be bigger, but not above the average.

The expert also agreed with the fact that a phone’s radiation in a shielded flat increases. He also confirmed the danger of the close neighbourhood with basic stations. According to him, 20 metres is a reason to start thinking about taking measures.

“We did research that proved the effectiveness of using the technical solutions you have enumerated (films, paint, foil). At the same time, we should say in advance that other research didn’t register protection from any electromagnetic radiation. To make sure, it is necessary to do tests and measurements in situ,” Sergey Sysoyev comments. “The independence of measurements employees of a company supplying protective equipment is under question. They are anyway interested in obtaining overestimates.”

As the expert clarified, companies that measure the electromagnetic field must have corresponding permits as well as their own certified laboratory with equipment added to the state register, measurement methods are important too.

“The whole situation in general is explainable enough: real hysteria is reigning now, including regarding the 5G. People earned millions from selling cream from the 5G network radiation. Clearly, it is quackery, but somebody believes such ‘horror stories’,” the expert concludes.

By Lina Sarimova

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