Do Solar Panels Cause Cancer?: Solar energy has been growing rapidly over the time all because of their overall benefits. One of the major benefits you can get from installing solar panels is a huge savings on electricity bills.
Solar panels have the capacity to produce electricity to run all the major appliances of your home.
The best thing about solar energy is that there is no emission of toxic gas that may pollute the environment. Check out the impact of solar panels on the environment.
However, the downside is the high cost of installation and maintenance.
But, no matter how appealing the benefits can be, to function they produce some electric and magnetic radiation.
Now the question arises whether the level of radiation emitted by them can cause cancer?
The answer is quite simple yet complicated so to make it simple we will first look at a few things that will help us understand better.
Related: Disadvantages of Solar Energy
- What are solar panels made of?
- Radiations Emitted by Solar Panels
- Do Solar Panels Cause Cancer?
- Health Issues in Solar Panel Manufacturing
- What does the research say? (Experts Report)
What are solar panels made of?
Knowing about the components that are used to make solar panels won’t help you to make your own, but it will help you understand whether the materials that are used to make solar panels are harmful or not.
The components of a functional solar panel are silicon solar cell, some wires, glass cover sheet and metal frame to keep it all together and also includes few other chemicals.
None of the materials that are used to make solar panels are harmful and can be commonly found in manufacturing units.
Now the question arises whether these materials are dangerous enough to cause cancer?
No, they are not dangerous compared to other natural fuels. Where other natural fuels release toxic gas upon use, they cause air pollution that can lead to lung cancer.
But since solar panels don’t produce any toxic thus it rules out the possibility of lung cancer.
However, some amount of radiation is emitted in the process of converting sunlight into electricity.
These are the small things you should know so that you can make a properly informed decision.
Radiations Emitted by Solar Panels
These are the major radiations emitted emitted by solar panels:
01. Electromagnetic Radiation
Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity, but it’s not a direct process. It has to travel through an inverter to convert raw solar energy into voltage that you can use.
This conversion process creates a magnetic field called electromagnetic field (EMF).
However the level of EMF generated is very minimal but still not totally negligible. There are many ways you can reduce the level of radiation you are exposed to by taking a few simple steps.
First of all, distance yourself from the inverter. The solar panels are not your enemy, but the inverter is troublesome.
For this you can set up the panels and inverters in such a way that they are as far as possible from your living place.
In addition to this you can get yourself an EMF metre that can monitor the level of radiation. Make sure to get one that can detect electric, magnetic and RF radiation.
02. Radiofrequency Radiation
We all get scared when we hear about radiation emitting from something, but you all should know that all radiation are not harmful till a certain level.
Data is transmitted through radio frequency in wireless technology. With increasing popularity of wireless technology RF radiation has become a major problem.
Now you must be wondering how RF is emitting from solar panels. Actually solar panels are not releasing any type of radiation whereas on the contrary they work by absorbing radiation.
Most of the time your solar panels generate more electricity than you actually need. You can either store them in a battery or you can either transmit those extra electricity back to the power grid and get rewarded for it.
The smart metre that you are using to continuously monitor the flow of electricity is a source of RF Radiation because they use wireless technology to send data to the utility grid.
So it is better you check how frequent data is transmitted through those metres and decide accordingly.
Do Solar Panels Cause Cancer?
As you may have understood by now, solar panels emit a low level of radiation that is not very harmful for you unless you are in direct contact with it most of the time.
So the solar panels may not cause you cancer, but the other equipment like inverter and smart metre can be dangerous.
The short answer to this question will be no, solar panels won’t give you cancer.
Although some believe that panels attract UV rays to it that can lead to skin cancer but it is not true. The panels only convert the amount of sunlight directly falling on it.
Health Issues in Solar Panel Manufacturing
You may not be directly involved in the manufacturing process but indirectly you may somehow get exposed in certain stages. This is why it is necessary that you know the risk involved in various stages.
Mining and processing Raw Material
There are always certain raw materials required for manufacturing something. So to manufacture solar panels there are certain raw materials you are going to require.
Not all materials are harmful, the most hazardous are the chemicals which include silicon, cadmium, gallium arsenide and a few others. Some of these are toxic and highly flammable.
Direct contact to these chemicals will lead to chemical burn, accidental ingestion or explosion.
In the process of mining if you don’t take proper precaution and inhale gaseous fumes then there are chances of severe lung’s problem.
Assembling and Manufacturing
During this stage of manufacturing where all the raw materials are gathered and processed to make the final product.,
There are certain chemicals used that are not necessarily hazardous but their by-products such as hexafluoride or silicon nitride are dangerous to both humans and the environment.
The type of materials that are used to manufacture panels for household purposes are made of toxic free materials, however there are some amounts of lead used in the wiring but it’s guarded behind frames, so no risk of exposure is there.
The manpower who are engaged in the installation of solar panels are also at high risk. Working for longer in the sun may cause Eye Cornea/headache. The best solution to avoid this is by using different types of high quality UV rays protective glasses.
Direct sun exposure for longer may result in premature skin ageing or skin damage. Being exposed to high intensity light will reduce the recovery speed of skin cells which may cause skin rashes, skin ageing or skin burn.
Prolong dehydration means staying dehydrated for a longer period. This is very common among field workers where they forget that their body needs a certain level of water to function properly.
And because of the negligence many problems like body pain, low energy or concentrated urination.
This has a negative effect on the body as a result blood pressure issues, muscle cramp and stress related issues are most noted symptoms.
Disposal or Recycling
After a certain period of time when the solar panels completely wear off and get out of order, a proper disposal is necessary.
If you pile them up on the back of your house thinking to reuse it somehow then you are gravely mistaken.
The chemicals that are used in the process of manufacturing may come in exposure to air if the protective glass cover on top of it is broken, and it will pollute the environment leading to some serious skin disease.
This is why a proper disposal is necessary. And if you can’t think of ways to dispose of those panels then you can give them back to the manufacturer.
They will be able to recycle it properly. Don’t ever think of doing this yourself as you are unaware of the process of manufacturing and the chemicals that are used.
It is better to give them back to the professionals who have experience of handling them properly.
What does the research say? (Experts Report)
If you haven’t installed solar panels until this point because of some rumours from your neighbour then after reading this article you may have a clear idea that there is nothing to worry about.
According to a study conducted by The American Cancer Society medical to prove that the radiation emitted from solar panels is a major source of cancer.
But all such theories have been proven to be incorrect as there is no relation found that the radiation is causing cancer according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, studies by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have found that the equipment that is used along with solar panels like the solar inverter, smart metre, electric controller are major sources of EMF and can be harmful to infants. Also other wireless devices like Wi-Fi router, cell phone Power line can be emitting EMF radiation.
Hope you now have a clear idea that the panels on your roof top won’t cause you cancer or to your neighbour.
The bottom line of this article is that the solar panels are placed on the rooftop away from the contact.
Any electromagnetic or radio frequency radiation generated can be reduced by taking proper measures, and they have little to no risk in health, same goes for the electric wiring that is going through the wall.
So there is absolutely no reason to worry that the radiation is going to kill you. But if you are sensitive to radiation then you should avoid such installation or you can invest in a radiation detector and eliminate the hot spots of EMF.
I believe now you have a clear idea about the working of a solar panel. If you are still confused whether to install or not then without any worry go for it, you won’t regret your decision.