Health fears over Wi-Fi networks April 24th, 2007
The $2.5 million Norfolk OpenLink Wi-Fi project which meshes the city with seamless city center Wi-Fi coverage is now in jeopardy since health concerns over radiation to which this network maybe exposing residents. Wi-fi networks are banned in Salzburg, while Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, removed Wi-Fi from part of its buildings after a teacher developed unusual symptoms.
It is Sir William Stuart from the Health Protection Agency (who has chaired two studies into mobile telephone health threats) who will be chairing a new inquiry into Wi-Fi exposure in.
Health scares over Wi-Fi are not new. In October 2003 WIRED reported on parents suing an elementary school for installing wireless computer networks, the parents worrying that exposure to the network's radio waves could harm their children. The parents asserted that a growing body of evidence outlines "serious health risks that exposure to low intensity, but high radio frequencies poses to human beings."
It seems that the UK is awash with fears over Wi-Fi radiation with The Independent (22 April 2007) also running a different story alleging that 'electronic smog' is a risk to children's safety.
Glenn Fleishman, writing in the blog "Wi-Fi Net News" (April 22, 2007), calls the Independent article as a "scare piece". He points out that what is claimed to be a body of evidence is not enough evidence to claim anything let alone that Wi-Fi is a health threat. Fleishman states:
I guess if you take enough disparate facts, ignore whether they come from peer-reviewed journals or industry sources (there's an anti-electronic-signal industry, remember), and don't include the large amount of science that shows no connection, you've got a great story.
Remember all the people who said television was going to destroy reading, or the guys who claimed radio would destroy the fabric of society? Personally I think there are some things to investigate but not worth the trouble in the interim. Being a "wireless" person I feel that as soon as we can get areas blanketed with Wi-Fi or some other type of technology to allow me to be always connected, then it is a good thing.