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May 21, 2007

WiFi is Killing the Kiddies!

Yes, by all means, let's have a study and an investigation:

The head of Britain's leading health watchdog today urgently calls for a review of potential health risks linked to wireless internet networks in schools.

Why is this man scaring people?

Sir William was referring to studies such as the one published in 2004 by Anders Ahlbom, professor of epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, which suggested people who had used mobiles for 10 years were almost twice as likely to develop an acoustic neuroma, a tumour on a nerve connecting the ear to the brain, compared with shorter-term users.

It was Alex who pointed out that the study showed nothing of the kind. Rather, that those already diagnosed with such a cancer remembered having used their phone more on the side that they had the cancer on, a very different thing.

Vivienne Baron, of the campaign group Mast Sanity, said: "Many people have already fallen sick as a result of exposure to this microwave technology."

Really? Have they? Can you point to any? Any diagnosis of anyone at all who has become sick as a result of this technology?

However, Prof Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, said: "Wi-fi is a technique using very low intensity radio waves.

"Some people suspect a non-thermal interaction but there is no evidence to suggest that this exists and indeed it is unlikely.

"Radio waves and other non-ionising radiations have been part of our lives for a century or more and if such effects were occurring then damage or other untoward effects would have been recorded and studied."

Some good sense on the subject. So, let's have an enquiry shall we? Paid for by those crying wolf perhaps?

May 21, 2007 in Idiotarians | Permalink


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Oh Christ, not this shit again.

Posted by: Alex | May 21, 2007 9:25:51 AM

"So, let's have an enquiry shall we?"

Oh I'd pay for it willingly if it would shut these whiners up once and for all. But that would never happen, would it? They'd be thinking about the children by worrying about something else, like Bluetooth radiation, or the deadly radio waves emitted by your fridge, or the bacteria in yoghurt.

Posted by: Kay Tie | May 21, 2007 9:26:19 AM

All these radio waves are causing global warming.

If you look at the growth of radio based technology of the past 100 years and map those graphs over the global temperature graphs, then......... Well, we have created a giant microwave oven!

Save the planet, stop communicating

Posted by: Anoneumouse | May 21, 2007 9:48:16 AM

As a radio amateur I really don't see what the fuss is about.
Yes, there have been people steralized or even killed by microwave radiation (the latter managed to be in front of a radar transmitter when it was switched on), but that's been high power tranmission (and if you're stupid enough to point a wave-guide at your genitalia I think it comes under natural selection...)

If you really want to be worried about something, how about the high power police transmitters? Or the huge public broadcasting transmitters? Far higher radiation levels, but we're used to them...

Posted by: Tristan Mills | May 21, 2007 10:13:44 AM

Wifi uses frequencies of 2.5 GHz to 5 GHz, and power levels of transmissions are typically around 1 W.

However there is another technology also used in schools that emits electromagnetic radiation and is potentially more dangerous, because:

1. this other technology emits radiation in the range of 450-750 THz, i.e. 100,000 times the frequency of Wifi; which means that each electromagnetic particle (or "photon") will carry 100,000 times more energy and is therefore 100,000 times as potentially damaging. Furthermore there are structures near thr human brain which nave been scientifically demonstrated to be especially sensitive to radiation of these frequencies.

2. this other technology uses more powerful transmitters that typically emit 60-100 W. Furthermore, these transmitters are typically kept on all the time (unlike wifi which transmits in bursts), which increases the total amount of energy radiated over a given time.

These facts suggest to me that this other technology is potentially a lot more harmful to health than wifi might be (although having said that it is entitrely possible that neither technology poses a significant harm to health), and that consequently if wifi is to be investigated as a risk to health, this other technology should be investigated much more rigourously.

The name of this other technology? light bulbs.

Posted by: Philip Hunt | May 21, 2007 10:28:23 AM

It's actually even worse than I thought. The basis for their SHOCK RESULT! is that they compared a reading for a WLAN box one metre away with a reading for a UMTS node-B 100 metres away. Of course it's going to be stronger..

Tim adds: Inverse squares or something? Twice the distance, a quarter the power?

Posted by: Alex | May 21, 2007 2:51:58 PM

Yup. The amusing thing is that this actually undermines the argument that mobile phones are bad for you. WLAN uses a constant tx power rating of (I think) 100mW, whereas GSM and UMTS have dynamic power management - they dial down the transmitter power, the closer they are to the base station, in order to save battery life.

Posted by: Alex | May 21, 2007 4:24:06 PM

802.11n has power management AFAIK. But these goons wouldn't have a clue what that means. They have no concept of the utterly minuscule power levels actually present in the environment due to these devices. You're talking about field strengths of microvolts per metre. Actual received power in a celphone antenna is nanowatts.

Posted by: David Gillies | May 21, 2007 9:44:57 PM