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Is Wi Fi harmful to health?

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Wi-Fi systems are now in 70 per cent of secondary schools. Britain is in the grip of a Wi-Fi revolution with offices, homes and classrooms going wireless - but there is concern the technology could carry health risks. The Government insists Wi-Fi is safe, but a Panorama investigation shows that radio frequency radiation levels in some schools are up to three times the level found in the main beam of intensity from mobile phone masts.

There have been no studies on the health effects of Wi-Fi equipment, but thousands on mobile phones and masts. The radiation Wi-Fi emits is similar to that from mobile phone masts. It is an unavoidable by-product of going wireless. In the last 18 months another two million of us in the UK have begun using Wi-Fi.

Entire cities have become what are known as wireless hotspots.

Precautionary approach

In 2000, Sir William Stewart, now chairman of the Health Protection Agency, headed the government’s inquiry into the safety of mobile phone masts and health. He felt the scientific research was sufficient to apply a precautionary approach when siting masts near schools.

I am asking schools to consider very seriously whether they should be installing Wi-Fi networks now and this will make them think twice or three times before they do it
Philip Parkin, Professional Association of Teachers
During that same year, the government sold off the 3G licences for £22.5bn.

Sir William recalls: “We recommended, because we were sensitive about children… that masts should not necessarily impact directly on areas where children were exposed, like playgrounds and that.”

But what about Wi-Fi? The technology is similar to mobile phone masts and in use in 70 per cent of secondary schools and 50 per cent of primary schools.

Panorama visited a school in Norwich, with more than 1,000 pupils, to compare the level of radiation from a typical mobile phone mast with that of Wi-Fi in the classroom. Readings taken for the programme showed the height of signal strength to be three times higher in the school classroom using Wi-Fi than the main beam of radiation intensity from a mobile phone mast.

The findings are particularly significant because children’s skulls are thinner and still forming and tests have shown they absorb more radiation than adults.

Safety limits

The readings were well beneath the government’s safety limits - as much as 600 times below - but some scientists suspect the whole basis of our safety limits may be wrong. And the clear advice from Sir William Stewart to the government on mobile phone masts was that the beam of greatest intensity should not fall on any part of the school grounds, unless the school and parents agreed to it.

Cancer fears

There has been concern for some time about the possible health effects of such radiation. “If you look in the literature, you have a large number of various effects like chromosome damage, you have impact on the concentration capacity and decrease in short term memory, increases in the number of cancer incidences,” said Professor Olle Johansson of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

At Washington state university, Professor Henry Lai, a biologist respected by both sides of the argument says he has found health effects at similar levels of radiation to Wi-Fi. He estimates that of the two to three thousand studies carried out over the last 30 years, there is a 50-50 split - half finding an effect with the other half finding no effect at all.

But the Health Protection Agency has said Wi-Fi devices are of very low power - much lower than mobile phones.

The Government says there is no risk and is backed up by the World Health Organisation which is robust in its language saying there are “no adverse health effects from low level, long-term exposure”.

The scientist responsible for WHO’s position is Dr Mike Repacholi, who headed up the health organisation’s research programme into radio frequency radiation.

He was also the founder of the International Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

He said the statement of “no adverse health effects” was based on the weight of evidence.

In order for a health effect to be established it must mean it has been repeated in a number of laboratories using very good study techniques. The findings of any published studies had been put in the mix before reaching a conclusion, he said.

“It is called a weight of evidence approach - and if that weight of evidence is not for there being an effect or not being an effect that is the only way you can tell whether there really is an adverse health effect,” he said.
Source: BBC News

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  1. Pingback: Is Wi-Fi Radiation As Bad As Cell Phone Radiation? « Abstruse Theories of a Vague Retrospection on November 20, 2009

7 Comments

  1. John Jones May 21, 2007

    I find the article both informative and quite scary. Bring back a couple of baked bean tins and a piece of string any day!

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  3. light is radiation too you know May 29, 2007

    people throw the term radiation around like we are talking about a nuclear reactor core or something like that- wifi uses a band of the electromagnetic spectrum that has approximately 1 million times less energy per photon than light “radiation” does. in these frequency bands it is strongly absorbed by water which humans are more than half composed of- all this does is warm up tissue- it can not damage DNA because it can not break chemical bonds readily. if you really want to avoid cancer, exercise, eat right and stay away from smoking and drinking and above all open a damn book once in a while this fear-mongering compounded by ignorance has got to stop.

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  5. MidnighToker November 12, 2007

    wifi is the same frequency as your microwave oven (2.4GHz). Now my wifi access point runs at 250miliwatts, a quarter of a watt.
    My microwave oven runs at 900 watts.

    The wifi isn’t that powerfull, but how can it be good?

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  7. its too bad November 25, 2008

    I can always tell if I wake up and I had just slept a night with the wifi on, I always have a “crummy” feeling. The future is in using lasers rather than radio I think.

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  9. LEE November 9, 2009

    I also feel a bit sick. I feel weak in the morning when I sleep with Wifi turned ON. And I get mood swings. Why?

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  11. WIFI KILLER July 14, 2010

    Here is some evidence of water resonance microwave 2.4 GHZ that BAD!! Scientists said “NO EVIDENCE”!!

    http://www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/emr_motorola_funded_counter_research_on_dna_breakage.pdf

    “Lai and Singh (1995, 1996, 1997a,b) showed that microwaves caused single and

    double-stranded DNA breakage in living mice brains using a very advanced assay

    of DNA strand breakage developed by Dr N.P. Singh at the University of

    Washington. This is called the microgel electrophoresis or Comet Assay, Singh et

    al. (1994). The Comet Assay involves migration of segments of DNA down an

    electric field gradient.”

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  13. qureshi November 6, 2010

    well..i suppose that [crummy and weak feeling due to wifi on all night] needs running a test analysis.,..

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