Lung and bronchus are two areas responsible for the most cancer-related deaths in the US. These primarily form through smoking and inhaling polluted air, often related to the burning of fossil fuels. So why do people think solar panels contribute? Some people mistakenly believe they give off toxic chemicals and radiation. Below, we debunk the myths and decide if new solar technology causes cancer.
Could New Solar Technology Cause Cancer?
There is no evidence to suggest that any old or new solar panel technology can cause cancer. In fact, in some ways, they may decrease the risk. This is because they offset harmful lung cancer-causing chemicals in the air released by the burning of fossil fuels.
The main reason many people make this assumption is due to the term 'radiation.' Usually linked by many to dangerous atomic bombs and nuclear power leaks, radiation happens naturally every day. It is only a problem if you are exposed to certain kinds of radiation in high amounts.
Solar panels don't give off any more radiation than electrical wires in your home or your mobile phone does. Add to this the fact that electricity from panels is DC which does not give off electromagnetic fields as AC does.
All electronic devices emit radio frequencies, which are known as RF radiation, along with electromagnetic fields. The main source of these in your solar system comes from the inverter, which changes the DC made in the panels to AC which operates in the home. However, neither of these will harm you in any way and are not a cause of cancer.
Electromagnetic radiation exists in the spectrum of visible light, which gives us color. It mainly consists of photons. Radio waves can be produced when their frequency gets reduced. When the frequency gets increases, it produces ultraviolet light. This is when radiation starts to become dangerous.
Ultraviolet light is the main component in sunlight that burns the skin. This is a leading cause of cancer. However, you won't get exposed to it because of your solar panels. Further up the frequency ranges are x-rays. These are only harmful if you become exposed to them for a prolonged period. In these instances, they may cause harmful cancers but will never be found in a solar panel system.
Does Solar Technology Contain Toxins?
Another misconception is that the material used to make solar panels gives off harmful toxins. The most common material used in solar photovoltaic panels is silicon, which contains no toxic material. As it is the primary element in rocks and sand, you could say that it is entirely natural.
These panels do have lead as an ingredient in small amounts, which is poisonous. However, this lies in the wiring, which is encased. This is no more dangerous than lead found in other machines and appliances. You can find these inside televisions and mobile devices and it is no different here.
Thin Film Solar Panels
There are misconceptions about thin film solar panels as well. Different from silicon-based ones, they are rarely used in residential properties and are saved for larger commercial ventures.
You will find that silicon is replaced with different elements. Some of these are toxic. However, they are all housed behind glass and aluminum. These panels are extremely durable and can withstand storms or hail. They won't smash and expose the elements to anyone on the property or go into the local environment.
Another main concern is cadmium, one of the elements often used. However, the mineral used is a waste product of mining and does not contribute to any excess environmental impacts. Generally, the production of solar panels contributes much less to carbon emissions than the burning of coal.
Are You in Danger if You Live Near Solar Panel Manufacturing Plants?
Either as someone who lives near a manufacturing plant or someone who works at one, you are in very little danger of contracting cancer as a result of solar panel construction. Manufacturing of any kind has dangers and problems, but these are no different from those in any other industry.
Most injuries from solar panels happen during the installation. This is when people don't follow safety procedures. They may get electrocuted, fall from high places like the roof, or lift panels incorrectly. If the panel has been made in the US, workers would have been protected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidelines, safeguarding them from any harmful materials.
What Are the Disadvantages of Solar Power?
New solar energy technology is providing fewer disadvantages, though some are still there. However, none of them relate to your health or to increasing the risks of cancer. The main disadvantage is that cheaper solar panels can be very weather dependent. As they rely on the sun upon to provide power, it makes sense that you need plenty of it. Cloudy weather, or a few hours of sunlight a day, will bring on lower amounts of power produced.
Another consideration is the cost. You don't just need panels, but inverters, wiring, and installation. You should speak to a solar expert in your local area to see how long it will take to make your investment back.
Installing Solar Equipment
There is no health risk from new solar technology. Speak to a local expert for advice if you are thinking of getting them installed. They will have the right advice for your climate and conditions.
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