In Schools Spark Parental Fears Part 2
Home Radiation Protection
Henry Lai, professor of bioengineering at the University of
Washington in Seattle, says he believes there is good reason
to be concerned over the health implications presented by
The problem, he said, is that students are exposed to
radiation from wireless networks for hours on end while in
classrooms, but that little is known about the potential
effects this can cause. He added that children may be more
susceptible to problems linked to wireless networks because
their bodies are still developing.
“[We] don’t know much about long-term exposure,” Dr. Lai
said. “I think we don’t know very much about this type of
Dr. Lai said numerous studies looking at the link between
radio frequency exposure and health risks have found some
problems, such as headaches, in those studied.
But he added that about half of the studies looking into the
subject found no evidence of health effects linked to radio
Therein lies the problem, according to other experts, who
say the lack of good, well-designed studies that examine the
issue is helping to fuel public concern.
Although there have been studies looking at the effects of
radio-frequency exposure and the effect of electromagnetic
fields on health, they aren’t large or conclusive enough to
close the book on the issue, said David Savitz, Charles W.
Bluhdorn professor of preventive medicine and director at
the Disease Prevention and Public Health Institute at Mount
Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
“I think there’s a good rationale for doing research, but so
far the best evidence is there’s not a hazard [associated
with Wi-Fi],” he said.
Daniel Krewski, director of the McLaughlin Centre for
Population Health Risk Assessment at the University of
Ottawa, agrees that there is no credible reason for
Canadians to be concerned over the use of Wi-Fi.
“Based on literally thousands of papers that have been
written on health of radio-frequency fields, we have no
clear evidence the fields cause adverse human health
effects,” said Dr. Krewski, who worked on a study released
earlier this year that found cell phones do not appear to
increase cancer risk in humans.
The World Health Organization says that Wi-Fi networks do
not pose a health risk. Health Canada spokesman Gary Holub
said in an e-mail that Wi-Fi exposure levels in Canada are
“well below science-based exposure limits” and that there is
no evidence showing weak radio-frequency electromagnetic
energy from Wi-Fi can cause illness.
Part of the problem is that people are prone to be
suspicious of any new technology that becomes ubiquitous in
a matter of years, Dr. Savitz said.
“I don’t want to be dismissive and I don’t want to be
critical of those raising concerns,” he said. “I think it’s
a very natural question to ask when you modify the
environment with technology.”
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