Is Wi-Fi dangerous?

December 7, 2009 § 1 Comment

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Reposted and updated blog article by nynke, originally posted on Mind Matters on Sat, 01/09/2007 – 11:43, see also The Last Mile analysis on Serendipity (October 19, 2007)


Is Wi-Fi dangerous? Has it just not been researched enough? What underlying technology do our handheld devices use? Is that anything like the defrutum or sapa of the Romans? Are we creating healing potions using such technology? Technology that introduces illnesses?

Wi-Fi technology is similar to mobile phone masts – the radiation Wi-Fi emits is similar, and the effects of mobile phone masts have been thoroughly investigated and based on that research some precautionary measures were taken.

The continued spread of mobile telephony could be of serious concern, because a relationship between electromagnetic fields radio frequency (RF) and microwave (MW) radiation and adverse health effects at low intensity exposures could exist.

Dangers I found listed in scientific literature are chromosome damage, impact on concentration capacity, decrease in short term memory, and number of cancer incidents going up.

Chromosome damage

  • The impact of microwave (MW)/radio frequency radiation (RFR) on important biological parameters is probably more than a simply thermal one. Exposure to radio frequency (RF) signals generated by the use of cellular telephones have increased dramatically and reported to affect physiological, neurological, cognitive and behavioural changes and to induce, initiate and promote carcinogenesis. Genotoxicity of RFR has also been reported in various test systems after in vitro and/or in vivo exposure but none in mobile phone users. (Genetic damage in mobile phone users: some preliminary findings)
    – Gandhi Gursatej, Anita, Department of Human Genetics, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 143 005, India, published 2005)

The following three are all on mobile phones and base stations for mobile phones. Those are not mobile masts.

  • A World Health Organization Conference concluded that: “There was a consensus that, from present knowledge, the ICNIRP [1998] guidelines appear to incorporate sufficient safety factors in their general public limits to be protective of children… However, given the uncertainty about effects in children, the use of measures that reduce their exposure, in addition to the adoption of international standards, seems appropriate.”
    – M Repacholi, R Saunders et al: Is EMF a potential environmental risk for children? Bioelectromag Suppl 7: S2-S4, published 2005.
  • In an update of their 1999 report [In 2007, the Medical College of Wisconsin discontinued the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) web site concerning cell phones, power line fields, mobile phone base stations, and static electromagnetic fields. The Food and Drug Administration web site now provides Cell Phone Facts – Consumer Information on Wireless Phones], the Royal Society of Canada concluded: “All of the authoritative reviews completed within the last two years have concluded that there is no clear evidence of adverse health effects associated with RF fields.”
    – D Krewski, CV Byus et al: Recent advances in research on radiofrequency fields and health: 2001-2003, The Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa, published 2004.
  • The Health Council of the Netherlands “sees no reason to recommend limiting the use of mobile phones by children.”
    – E van Rongen, EW Roubos et al: Mobile phones and children: Is precaution warranted? Bioelectromag 25: 142-144, published 2004.

Animal studies are of great importance as biological effects of mobile masts cannot be put down to psychological effects.

  • Behavioural observations of white stork nesting sites up to 300 metres were carried out. Productivity and behavioural observations were made. The results have shown microwaves are interfering with reproduction which is comparable with other lab studies.
    – Alfonso Balmori Valladolid: White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Spain, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 24: 109-119, published 2005. (ISIS press release)

Impact on concentration capacity

These short-term mobile phone mast studies have found significant health effects such as headaches, dizziness, depression, fatigue, sleep disorder, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems.

Comparing the results of the “Bamberger Appell” study to “The Microwave Syndrome – Further Aspects of a Spanish Study Oberfeld &Navarro 2004”, both studies seem to show the same symptoms being reported at the same level of power flux density.

Decrease in short term memory

  • In 2003, a Dutch study on the effects of GSM- and UMTS-like electromagnetic fields on well being and cognitive functions in human subjects was published (Zwamborn et al. 2003, hereafter called TNO-study). In the two groups studied (electromagnetic hypersensitive vs. non-hypersensitive subjects) exposure to GSM-electromagnetic fields had no effect on well being and did not consistently affect cognitive function, whereas UMTS-like exposure had a negative influence on well being in both groups. Cognitive function was consistently affected in a positive way in both groups with respect to only one test (visual selective attention test). The TNO-study is of good quality, but criticisms were raised with respect to study design, methodology and analysis.
  • Based on the results of the above TNO-study, the objective of this present study is to replicate the effect of electromagnetic fields on well being and cognitive functions in humans with improved methodology and focus on the UMTS-like exposure condition. Two field strengths will be applied in two groups of subjects with and without subjective complaints about hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Our working hypothesis is that analogous to the original study exposure to UMTS-like radiation will attenuate well being in both groups, possibly in a dose-dependent manner, but will not affect cognitive performance of the subjects.
    – The original TNO link from 2003 disappeared, but I found Effects of UMTS radio-frequency fields on well being and cognitive functions of human subjects with and without subjective complaints instead.

Number of cancer incidences

  • Exposure to RF energy from cordless phone base stations had no effect on the incidence of brain tumors.
    – J Schüz, E Böhler et al: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted from base stations of DECT cordless phones and the risk of glioma and meningioma (Interphone Study Group, Germany). Rad Res 166: 116-119, published 2006.

Please let me know if you have more and/or other information?

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