How High Is The Exposure From Mobile Phones And Wireless Devices?

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When exposed to radio frequency fields, the body absorbs energy over time. The rate at which energy is absorbed is known as the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), and it varies throughout the body.
For handheld mobile phones, the exposure is largely confined to part of the head closest to the phone’s antenna. The European Union has set a radio frequency safety limit for the human head at a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 2 W (2000 mW) per kilogram of tissue.
Mobile phones are tested assuming worst-case conditions: the rate at which energy is transmitted by a mobile phone operating at maximum power. In practice, the power transmitted during a mobile phone conversation is generally hundreds or thousands of times lower than the maximum power assumed. Indeed, the “power control” feature of a mobile phone automatically reduces the emitted power if higher intensity is not needed for stable transmission.

Moreover, output power depends on whether the user is talking or listening (discontinued transmission mode). No exposure occurs when a mobile phone is switched off. When a phone is in standby mode, the exposure is typically much lower than during operation at maximum power.
GSM phones transmitting at 900 MHz, an important frequency for mobile communication, have a maximum time-averaged power of 250 mW. In accordance with European regulations, the power is averaged over six minutes as GSM phones transmit radio signals in bursts of information rather than continuously.

On average, during a six-minute conversation under worst-case conditions – a mobile phone held to the head and operating at maximum power – the 10 grams of body tissue that absorb most energy would typically absorb between 200 and 1500 mW per kilogram depending on the type of phone.
Other wireless devices used in close quarters, like UMTS mobile phones, cordless phones and wireless networks, also generate radio waves but exposure from these sources is usually lower than from GSM phones.

One DECT cordless handset used by a typical household generates about 10 mW of time-averaged power, much less than a mobile phone operating at maximum power. Cordless handsets need less power than mobile phones because the signals do not have to travel as far to reach the base station – a few meters compared to up to a few kilometers. More power is required for radio communications over greater distances.

Cordless phone base stations are usually no more than a few tens of meters from the handsets. Mobile phone base stations can be kilometres from the mobile phone.
As communication is two-way, there is also the field from the cordless phone base station to consider. The maximum time-averaged power level for a DECT base station is the same as for a mobile phone handset – 250 mW. But the exposure is less because the cordless phone base station is not held to the head, and the field strength falls rapidly with distance.
Most people do not live or work close enough to the mobile phone base station for this field to be a concern. This is discussed further in question 2.2.
The terminal of a wireless computer network (Wireless Local Area Network, WLAN) has a peak power of 200 mW, but the time-averaged power depends on traffic and is usually a lot lower. Near a wireless network station used in homes and offices, the field intensity is typically below 0.5 mW per square meter.

The exposure from wireless systems is therefore typically below that of mobile phones. In certain circumstances, however, the exposure to radio frequency fields from wireless networks or cordless phones can exceed that from GSM or UMTS mobile phones.
Another system that is starting to be used in Europe is UWB, or ultra-wide band. It uses frequencies around 500 MHz, and has applications such as wireless microphones, medical applications and traffic control systems. With such systems, exposures are expected to be well below 0.1 mW per square meter.

Some anti-theft devices expose people to electromagnetic fields of radio and intermediate frequency (question 6). Increasingly popular, the devices are located at store exits to deter shoplifters. The radio frequency exposure varies depending on the type but is below safety limits if the device is used as directed by the manufacturer. Radio frequency fields are also used in industry, for example for heating or maintaining broadcasting stations. These systems can expose a worker to levels near or even above European safety limits (Directive 2004/40/EC).

The limit for mobile phone use is the specific absorption rate (SAR) of 2 W/kg for the human head. Mobile phones are tested under worst case conditions, i.e. at the highest power level. As an example, a 2 W peak power corresponding to 250 mW maximum time averaged transmitted power for GSM at 900 MHz. Maximum local SAR values averaged over 10 g of tissue range typically between 0.2 and 1.5 W/kg, depending on the type of mobile phone. The emitted power is often orders of magnitude lower than the maximum power leading to much lower exposure due to power control and discontinuous transmission mode (output power is different when the user is talking or listening) for GSM and UMTS phones.

The power control of a mobile phone automatically reduces the emitted power by up to a factor of 1,000 for GSM and about 100,000,000 for UMTS if higher intensity is not needed for stable transmission. The exposure arising from a UMTS mobile phone can typically be expected to be lower than the one from a GSM phone. The actual transmitted power depends in both cases on several factors, e.g. the cell size of the respective base station and the type of the mobile phone. A comparison showed that the exposure due to a UMTS phone was about 1,000 times lower compared to the exposure due to a GSM phone (Baumann et al. 2006).

No exposure occurs from a mobile phone being switched off. Phones in the standby mode cause typically much lower exposure compared to mobile phones operated with maximum power, but an accurate figure for this lower exposure depends on the exact details of the transmission path to base stations and on the traffic requested by the communication protocol and by incoming/outgoing SMS and the position of the phone.

In addition to mobile phones, other wireless applications like cordless phones, e.g. DECT or WLAN systems are very common. They are usually operated with lower output power compared to mobile phones and the exposure is typically below the level of mobile phones.
The maximum time averaged power level of a DECT base station is 250 mW (worst case for a professional application handling communication with 25 handsets in parallel, a typical household application communicating with one handset has a time averaged power of 10 mW), and for a DECT handset 10 mW.

The peak value of a WLAN terminal is 200 mW; however the averaged power depends on the traffic and is usually considerably lower. Therefore, the exposure from such systems is usually below that of mobile phones. However, under certain circumstances, e.g. closeness to WLAN access points, exposure due to WLAN or DECT systems can become higher compared to exposure from GSM or UMTS mobile phones.

Another system starting to be used in Europe is UWB, where exposure can be expected to be well below 0.1 mW/m2. Applications include communication as well as detection and identification. Wireless microphone systems are already available and a number of office, home entertainment, and medical applications are likely to enter the market in the near future. Ground and wall penetrating systems can be used to detect buried persons, and UWB radar systems can be used to avoid traffic collisions and to transmit traffic data (Schmid et al. 2008; article in German).

Anti-theft devices that are typically operated at the exits of shops or similar areas have become more and more common during recent years. Some of the existing systems are operating in the RF range. The exposure depends on the type of system and is below the exposure limits. Finally, several industrial appliances are operated in the RF and microwave range, for heating (e.g. RF sealers) or maintenance of broadcasting stations. The exposure of workers operating such systems can reach values close to or even above the limits of the Directive 2004/40/EC.

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The question receiving most attention is whether RF field exposure is involved in carcinogenesis. The previous opinion stated that, based on epidemiological findings, mobile phone use for less than ten years is not associated with cancer incidence. Regarding longer use, it was deemed difficult to make an estimate since few persons had used mobile phones for more than ten years.

Since then, a few additional epidemiological studies have been published. Unfortunately they do not significantly extend the exposure period. These studies do not change this assessment.
New improved studies on the association between RF fields from broadcast transmitters and childhood cancer provide evidence against such an association.

Animal studies show that RF fields similar to those from mobile phones, alone or in combination with known carcinogenic factors, are not carcinogenic in laboratory rodents. Certain studies have also employed higher exposure levels (up to 4 W/kg), still with no apparent effects on tumor development.

Furthermore, the in vitro studies regarding genotoxicity fail to provide evidence for an involvement of RF field exposure in DNA-damage.
It is concluded from three independent lines of evidence (epidemiological, animal and in vitro studies) that exposure to RF fields is unlikely to lead to an increase in cancer in humans. However, as the widespread duration of exposure of humans to RF fields from mobile phones is shorter than the induction time of some cancers, further studies are required to identify whether considerably longer-term (well beyond ten years) human exposure to such phones might pose some cancer risk.

Regarding non-carcinogenic outcomes, several studies were performed on subjects reporting subjective symptoms. In the previous opinion, it was concluded that scientific studies had failed to provide support for a relationship between RF exposure and self- reported symptoms. Although an association between RF exposure and single symptoms was indicated in some new studies, taken together, there is a lack of consistency in the findings.

Therefore, the conclusion that scientific studies have failed to provide support for an effect of RF fields on self-reported symptoms still holds. Scientific studies have indicated that a nocebo effect (an adverse non-specific effect that is caused by expectation or belief that something is harmful) may play a role in symptom formation. As in the previous opinion, there is no evidence supporting that individuals, including those attributing symptoms to RF exposure, are able to detect RF fields.

There is some evidence that RF fields can influence EEG patterns and sleep in humans. However, the health relevance is uncertain and mechanistic explanation is lacking. Further investigation of these effects is needed. Other studies on functions/aspects of the nervous system, such as cognitive functions, sensory functions, structural stability, and cellular responses show no or no consistent effects.

Recent studies have not shown effects from RF fields on human or animal reproduction and development. No new data have been reported that indicate any other effects on human health.
From the risk assessment perspective it is important to recognise that information on possible effects caused by RF fields in children is limited. Furthermore, there is a lack of information on diseases other than those discussed in this report.

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Do you use cell phones and computers for extended periods of time? Here are a few things you should know about electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation and how it can affect the health of your eyes:

* In 2001, German scientists found a link between cell phone radiation and eye cancer. The study investigated a form of eye cancer called uveal melanoma, in which tumours form in the layer that makes up the iris and base of the retina. The research suggests there is a threefold increase in eye cancers among people who regularly use the devices.

* According to public health scientist Dr. George Carlo, in 2006 there will be 40,000+ new cases of brain tumors and eye melanoma diagnosed worldwide directly attributed to cell phone usage. In 2010, that number will be an unprecedented 500,000 cases PER YEAR.

* A group of Israeli researchers found a link between microwave radiation and the development of cataracts. The study shows that prolonged exposure to microwave radiation similar to that used by cellular phones can lead to both macroscopic and microscopic damage to the lens and that at least part of this damage seems to accumulate over time and does not seem to heal.

* Ophthalmologic symptoms of electrosensitivity and electromagnetic hypersensitivity include pain or burning in the eyes, pressure in/behind the eyes, deteriorating vision, floaters, cataracts. It is hypothesized that the watery contents of the eye assists the absorption of radiation.

THINGS YOU CAN DO

* Minimize use of computers, cell phones, and other electrical devices. (Not a practical or convenient solution, but avoidance is always the primary intervention.)

* Eyeglass frames should ideally be made from plastic with no wires in them, otherwise they can serve as an antenna to focus the radio and cellular phone waves directly into your brain and eyes. (Dr. Mercola)

* Take anti-oxidants, particularly SOD, catalase, glutathione, and Coq10. Microwave radiation has been shown to decrease levels of these anti-oxidants in the body. Other supplements you may need are:

– Melatonin: a powerful anti-oxidant noted to prevent DNA breaks in brain cells. Also effective in preventing kidney damage from cell phones;

– Zinc: protects the eye from oxidative damage and helps preserve the levels of anti-oxidants in the blood;

– Gingko Biloba: an herb considered a powerful anti-oxidant which prevents oxidative damage in the brain, eye and kidney. Also helps support the production of SOD, catalase and glutathione;

– Bilberry extract: preserves vision and reduces oxidative damage to the eyes. (Dr. Gerald Goldberg)

* Use scientifically validated EMF protection devices. Most recommended are wearable types that effectively reduce the effects of EMF radiation on your biofield. The biofield is your first line of defense against stress. EMF radiation is known to disrupt the biofield, place stress on your body and weaken your immune system. The right protective device strengthens your biofield against this disruption and maintains its delicate homeostatic balance.

(Note: This article is shared for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you believe that you have a health problem, see your doctor or health professional immediately.)

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Average working adult spends over nine hours a day using a computer, mobile phone or other electronic device.

With a full-time office job, a light social networking addiction and a thumb that texts without your knowledge, it is all too easy to clock up the hours spent with an electronic device in our hands.
In a modern world, we stand engulfed by electronic transmissions and radio waves set off by Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals which can leave us in a battle for our health.

Every day we unknowingly expose ourselves to a constant bombardment of electromagnetic signals emitted from gadgets like mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers, iPads or anything that receives a signal from one of the 800 satellites beaming global information through radio waves.

An Electro Magnetic Radiation (EMR) transmission is an invisible wave in the atmosphere which has both electric and magnetic qualities. Together, these move backwards and forwards in space to produce an acoustic resonance and an electromagnetic field.

We cannot hear them, smell them and, because they travel faster than the speed of light, we cannot even see them. The effects of these transmissions, however, are very much visible in our ever-declining health.

The side-effects from exposure to these EMRs include nausea, fatigue, reduced concentration, tiredness, headaches, blurred vision, short-term memory loss, muscle weakness and an impaired immune system. No one would blame you for ignoring these symptoms, simply putting them down to the stresses and strains of a modern daily life.
Alarmingly, some scientists are concerned that such radiation may cause cancer, brain tumours and early senility.

In 2000, The Stewart Report was published under the guidance of Sir William Stewart, then chairman of the Microbiological Research Authority. An independent expert group was set up to investigate the dangers of mobile phone use.

The report was inconclusive and no solid connection between the use of mobile phones and any negative effects on the body was made.
“The balance of evidence does not suggest that mobile phone technologies put the health of the general population of the UK at risk. There is some preliminary evidence that outputs from mobile phone technologies may cause, in some cases, subtle biological effects although, importantly, these do not mean that health is affected,” the report explained. It concluded that further studies needed to be conducted in the field.

The UK Government responded by implementing some of Stewart’s recommendations and funding numerous studies.
In 2007, over 20 international scientists, health officials and EMR experts collaborated to issue a Bio Initiative Report based on 1,500 individual studies which claimed that there is clear evidence of harmful biological effects which can damage the body’s immune system and lower resistance to long-term serious illness.

Ten years on from The Stewart Report, Wi-Fi is surrounding us, a fate that the Report could not have predicted. People rely on mobile phone use for their work and children spend hours surfing the web. Our exposure to radiation is immeasurable and the damage it is doing to our bodies is still relatively unknown.

Yet, there are small studies which all point to more bad news.
A study published this year conducted by Yüzüncü Yil University in Turkey concluded that there was significant decline in the number of Purkinje cells present in the brains of lab rats tested under mobile phone exposure. The Purkinje cells are essential to the body’s motor function and a lack of them will negatively affect the patient’s movements.

Another research project conducted in the Hospital of the Lidwig-Maxmillians University in Munich investigated the relationship between exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields and behavioural problems in children and adolescents. The results showed an “association between exposure and conduct problems” with seven per cent of children showing behavioural problems.

Finally, this year, The National Institute for the Study and Control of Cancer and Environmental Diseases in Bologna published a report which highlighted the increased risk of brain tumours associated with mobile phone use.

Professor Lennart Hardell, of the Department of Oncology at University Hospital in Örebro, Sweden said: “For young adults and children under the age of 20, the risk of developing a brain tumour like astrocytoma and acoustic neuroma is five times higher than an adult with the same level of exposure.” Due to smaller heads and much thinner skulls, children’s brains are far more sensitive to carcinogens which EMRs and mobile phone devices discharge.

Today, the UK Department of Health acknowledges that “there is some evidence that changes to brain activity can occur” and that there are “significant gaps in our scientific knowledge”.
In its information leaflet it advises that “parents should exercise their choice not to let their children use mobile phones”. That alone is no mean feat.

Within all this uncertainty, verging on the side of precaution and protecting yourself from these potentially life-threatening radiation waves is the only way forward.

The European Environment Agency advocates that precautionary actions should be taken, but it is up to each government what level of action is taken. Spokesperson for the EEA, Gulcin Karadeniz said: “It is up to policy makers to judge what level of exposure is acceptable and propose concrete measures.”

In the meantime, individuals are encouraged to make small changes to protect themselves. “Some might accept to have their phone turned off at night, others might refuse to have one,” Karadeniz explains.
“Some of the possible actions are quite easy to take and do not infer high costs,” Karadeniz added.

Something as simple as tilting your mobile phone away from your ear while chatting or using the loudspeaker option is easily done.
Some mobile phone manufacturers even suggest holding the phone up to 25mm away from your ear while using it.

For men especially, keeping your mobile in your trouser pocket has been linked to fertility problems and is best avoided.

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Does your school have wireless internet access? If so, have you or other parents you know ever worried about the health effects of Wi-Fi on children?

According to recent news reports, some parents in Ontario, Canada are blaming Wi-Fi in schools for causing symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, rashes, sleep and behavioral changes, and racing heartbeats in their children. According to the parents, these adverse symptoms are showing up in their children during the school week but disappear during weekends, when they are not in school.

Many schools in the U.S., have already implemented wireless internet service, and some districts are even beginning to install Wi-Fi in school buses.

Meanwhile, critics of Wi-Fi in schools point to research that suggests radiation such as that from Wi-Fi causes negative negative health effects, and may be particularly harmful to children.

There is compelling research out there: Susan Clarke, a former research consultant to the Harvard School of Public Health, has been researching the effects of wireless technology for years. According to Clarke, “Radiation from Wi-Fi deploys the same frequency as that used by the microwave oven. It maximizes the absorption in living tissues, especially those approximately the size of a child’s head. The thinness of children’s skulls adds to their absorbed radiation. Physiologic effects of such radiation are consistently documented in the scientific literature, with neuroendocrine effects produced in the immediate and short-term, cardiac effects produced in the short- to medium-term, and cancers in the long-term.” Scary stuff.

Those who support Wi-Fi in schools, on the other hand, assert that they do not believe that there is “convincing scientific evidence” that Wi-Fi in schools poses a danger to children, and point out that other technology, such as cell phones and cordless telephones, also use wireless technology. They also note that the level of radiation exposure from Wi-Fi is much less than the levels from using TVs or FM radios. (Clarke argues that Wi-Fi is different than FM radio and TV.

Unlike wireless device-based infrastructures, FM and TV are considered one-way transmissions, broadcasting from a tower as they do,” says Clarke. “By contrast, cell and cordless phones and Wi-Fi all broadcast from the device as well, two-way. Such device antenna broadcast, in addition to their pulse-modulated cm-microwave radiation, are why the latter are even more hazardous than FM and TV radiation. FM and TV infrastructures are well established in the scientific literature to produce adverse health effects.”)

Frankly, I think we need more research to show a definitive link between wireless technology and negative health symptoms in children. But that doesn’t mean that we should dismiss or discount the reports from parents who say that their children are negatively affected by Wi-Fi. After all, couldn’t these children just be more sensitive to something that’s affecting all kids, much like canaries in coalmines?

It should also be noted that this technology is fairly new (we didn’t have widespread use of cell phones thirty years ago, for instance). So whatever long-term negative health effects may be caused by children being exposed to this technology is impossible to measure just yet.
In the meantime, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any info about wireless tech and the effect on children. My son’s school has it, and we have it in our home. And like most homes in the U.S., we have a cordless telephone.

In fact, I’m considering making changes, even before definitive studies appear, just to be on the safe side. I love the convenience of technology, but it isn’t worth taking even a small chance when it comes to my child’s health.

You can read more about this issue on Moms for Safer Wireless, a non-profit organization whose goal is to educate people about the potential health effects of wireless products. Another site to try is that of Magda Havas, PhD, an Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University, who teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants.

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There are many different theories on how electromagnetic radiation interacts with our bodies, but pulsed microwave radiation, such as that used by Wi-Fi and mobile phones, is thought to affect the body’s cells in a unique way.

Although microwaves oscillate (change direction) many thousands of times each second, the carrier pulses which convey your voice or emails along the signal actually oscillate at a much slower rate, only hundreds of times a second. This slower rate allows the pulses to interact with protein vibrational receptors, like microscopic hairs, on the membranes of our cells.

The cells interpret this unusual stimulation as a foreign invader and react as any organism would – by closing down the cell membrane. This impairs the flow of nutrients into the cell or waste products on their way out. It also disrupts inter-cellular communication, meaning that clusters of cells that form tissues can no longer work as effectively together.

The increase of trapped waste products can lead to an increase in the number of cancer-causing “free radicals”. Worse still, a chemical known as “messenger RN” inside the cell passes on this “learned response” to daughter cells, meaning that the cell’s offspring also learn to interpret microwaves as an external threat and react in the same way.

This disruption in the cellular processes is thought to lead to the many and various symptoms of electrosensitivity, and the build-up of free radicals released when the cell dies could be connected with the increase in tumors seen in those exposed to frequent doses of microwave radiation.

Special circumstances can enhance the process even further. The effects are likely to be worse in people with damaged or developing immune systems, particularly children, and certain drugs can dramatically increase the risk of negative microwave effects.
The programme was fiercely criticized by the telecommunications industry, partly because it feared the logical conclusion – that the battery of research built up over the past decade demonstrating very clear health risks from exposure to mobile phone masts could now be translated almost exactly into the risks faced by exposure to Wi-Fi equipment (see “Weight of evidence” at bottom).

Concern was further raised by comments made on the programme by the chairman of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), Sir William Stewart. Stewart, former Government Chief Scientist under Margaret Thatcher, had compiled a seminal report on mobile phones in 2000, in which he recommended that the main beam from a mobile phone mast should never be allowed to fall on school premises. He told Panorama unequivocally that both phones and masts could be responsible for triggering cancer, changes in mental function and damaging effects to the body’s cells. He also said that the approach adopted by the World Health Organisation, which directly influences UK health policy, was not “an accurate reflection” of the current science.

The HPA scrambled to calm the storm caused by its maverick chairman. Having first tried to deny Stewart had in fact made any claims against Wi-Fi, the Agency went on to change one of its online press releases; now, instead of asserting there was “no evidence” that Wi-Fi could have an effect on health, it stated there was “no consistent evidence”. The current HPA guidelines on Wi-Fi, to which all other UK Government departments refer, state:”There is no consistent evidence to date that Wi-Fi and WLANs [wireless networks] adversely affect the health of the general population. The signals are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the router (access point) and the results so far show exposures are well within internationally accepted (ICNIRP) guidelines.”
So what exactly is ICNIRP, the institution that determines the maximum safe radio wave dosage for all UK citizens? The International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection was formed in 1992, but has its roots in an earlier body founded in 1970s.

Alasdair Philips, founder of PowerWatch, describes it as “an incredibly conservative organisation” – “ICNIRP grew out of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), which was founded in 1950s and primarily staffed by the nuclear industry. Even when it became separate, ICNIRP retained a strong industry bias. It is highly secretive and access to the Commission is by invitation only.”

In 1998, ICNIRP published the document by which all countries with a seat on the Commission – which includes most of Europe and the US – still set their non-ionising radiation guidelines today. In the section that examines the relationship between cancer and exposure to microwaves, the ICNIRP authors cite seven studies to support their conclusion that radio waves do not increase tumour rates. None of these was conducted after 1997- the date when Wi-Fi was first introduced – and in fact two were conducted before the 1980s.

Three of the studies in the ICNIRP report involve the exposure of military or civilian personnel to high-power radar systems; another investigates an incident during the Cold War in which Soviet agents irradiated the US embassy with microwaves, while another investigates the effects of old-fashioned cathode ray-tube computer monitors. One study looks at the effects of radio transmissions, but was later shown to have drawn seriously flawed conclusions. The authors of the only study of the seven to have investigated the health effects of mobile phones admit their research was not designed to show the long-term impact of handset use, which is where any cancerous effects would be found.

Later analyses of many of these papers show ICNIRP deliberately misquoted or misconstrued the original authors’ conclusions, disguising evidence of tumors when the research offered a clear link to microwave exposure.

When, later in the same guidelines, ICNIRP dismisses the evidence for DNA damage by microwaves, it points to papers written by the UK’s National Radiological Protection Board and the World Health Organization (both of which act on the advice of ICNIRP), as well as a paper by parent organization, the IRPA.
ICNIRP appears at the centre of a hub of like-minded bodies determined to corroborate each other’s research.

The flaws in ICNIRP’s guidelines did not go unnoticed. The year they were published, 16 internationally recognized scientists signed the Vienna Resolution, which accused the ICNIRP researchers of ignoring the fact that “numerous studies published in recent years did show biological effects below their recommended limit values.” In 1999, when Australian scientists came to examine ICNIRP recommendations they concluded that the guidelines “cannot be said” to constitute a precautionary measure. Australia consequently refused to join the Commission and developed its own standards.

These substantial concerns, as well as the fact that most of the research on which ICNIRP’s guidelines are based was published before Wi-Fi had even left the laboratory, have not been heeded by any of ICNIRP’s signatories. The UK’s regulators still use and defer to the 1998 guidelines, which set levels designed only to prevent “thermal effects” (or heating up) due to microwave radiation. In fact, most of the negative effects now attributed to microwaves occur at levels far below those in the ICNIRP guidelines, and are known as “non-thermal effects”. These include effects on the blood-brain barrier, an increase in the production of cancer-causing free radicals, a decrease in bodily melatonin, and disruptions in intra-cellular communication (see “How microwaves affect us”).

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It is unregulated, untested, more dangerous than its proponents would have you believe – and soon to become even more powerful.
In early summer of 1997, computer scientist and former Dutch military radar engineer Vic Hayes joined the end of a long line of scientists and smiled at the camera. The shutter clicked, celebrating the official launch of the first international Wi-Fi standard.
Originally designed to connect together cash-registers at checkouts, the ambitious scientist made no secret of his desires for the new technology. “I see Wi-Fi being used for everything eventually,” he was quoted as saying, but not even he could have predicted how widespread his invention would become.

By 2008, experts predict that there will be 53 million Wi-Fi enabled devices in Europe alone. One in every five UK adults already owns a Wi-Fi enabled laptop, and 80 per cent of secondary schools in the UK have installed the technology throughout their buildings. McDonald’s recently announced that free Wi-Fi facilities would be available in all its restaurants, and the growing “Mu-Fi” initiative – where entire municipalities receive Wi-Fi coverage – has already made Norwich the UK’s first “Wi-Fi town”.

The technology is sold to the public as the ultimate convenience tool: it allows you to grab a coffee and check your email on the go, to print photos without using a wire or listen to music on speakers not even attached to a computer. In schools, teachers can already give lessons using Wi-Fi white-boards, and in the near future hand-held Wi-Fi terminals will enable children to interact with digital lesson. In the words of the technology’s industry group, the Wi-Fi Alliance: “Simply put, Wi-Fi is freedom.”

But freedom at what cost?

Wi-Fi appeared on our shelves without having to undergo any tests or safety checks whatsoever. This was partly achieved because Vic Hayes and his team developed Wi-Fi to use an unlicensed part of the radio spectrum – freed-up airwaves designed to encourage more widespread public use of wireless technology. As long as the technology met basic requirements on interference and compatibility, consumers were free to buy and use Wi-Fi devices as they and the manufacturers saw fit. In the UK, the spectrum used by Wi-Fi (2.4 gigahertz) became available for unlicensed use in 2000.

Denis Henshaw, professor of physics at the University of Bristol, finds it remarkable Wi-Fi-enabled equipment could have come to market without having to undergo any trials.

“If you are a drug company marketing a new drug, you have to go through years of testing to prove your product is safe,” he says.”If you’re a Wi-Fi developer using the 2.4 GHz spectrum, however, you don’t need to prove anything.”

Concerns were first raised about the health effects of Wi-Fi as early as 2000. A report by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA), the body responsible for the use of IT in schools, noted that engineers installing some of the first classroom-based systems complained of headaches at the end of the day. The report was never published, but was eventually leaked to The Times Educational Supplement seven years later.
In 2003, concerned parents of children in suburban Chicago filed a lawsuit against the Oak Park Elementary School on the basis of concerns over the possible adverse health effects of the school’s Wi-Fi network. The father who made the claim, Ron Baiman, said he acted because “there are a lot of experts who say there are potential risks”.

For years, it was left to distressed teachers or parents with children suffering from repeated headaches to act as unpaid regulators, gathering together scientific papers and lobbying schools to have Wi-Fi systems taken down. In 2006, a school in Chichester made headlines after its headteacher agreed to remove a network at the request of both parents and teachers. The headteacher told The Times he had acted out of concern for the parents’ views. “We also did a lot of research,” he added. “The authorities say it’s safe, but there have been no long-term studies to prove this.”

The case was something of a turning point. National newspapers began to pay attention to data collected by campaign groups that had long been fighting the mobile phone industry. The campaigners pointed out that the type of radiation emitted from Wi-Fi devices, although on a slightly different wavelength, was essentially the same as that used by mobile phones and their transmitter masts. Both systems use high-frequency microwaves that are “pulsed” rapidly on and off to transmit data.

This pulsed aspect of data transmission is important, because it means that, although a signal might appear to be low-powered when measured over a period of time, it could reach spikes of much higher levels when data is actually being transmitted. Campaigners were also at pains to show that Wi-Fi was just a part of a whole host of technologies using the same microwave system, including baby monitors, DECT cordless phones, and Bluetooth computer devices (see below).

In May 2007, the BBC’s Panorama programme investigated the signal strengths used by Wi-Fi equipment. Under the guidance of mobile phone concern group PowerWatch, the programme measured the intensity of microwaves 150 metres away from a mobile phone transmitter mast, and half a meter away from a laptop computer – realistic distances at which everyday exposure might occur. They found that the radiation from the Wi-Fi-enabled laptop was at least as high, if not higher, than that measured in the main beam of the mast (see below).

Bangladesh, Dhaka City
Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
Greece, Athens
Ethiopia, Addis Ababa
Hungary, Budapest
Uzbekistan, Tashkent
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Antigua and Barbuda, St. John’s
Eritrea, Asmara
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

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WiFi Emits Microwave Radiation

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Cell Phone Radiation Protection

Mobile Phone Radiation Protection

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The most basic fact about cell phones and cell towers is that they emit microwave radiation; so do Wi-Fi (wireless Internet) antennas, wireless computers, cordless (portable) phones and their base units, and all other wireless devices. If it’s a communication device and it’s not attached to the wall by a wire, it’s emitting radiation. Most Wi-Fi systems and some cordless phones operate at the exact same frequency as a microwave oven, while other devices use a different frequency. Wi-Fi is always on and always radiating. The base units of most cordless phones are always radiating, even when no one is using the phone. A cell phone that is on but not in use is also radiating. And, needless to say, cell towers are always radiating.”

“Why is this a problem, you might ask? Scientists usually divide the electromagnetic spectrum into “ionizing” and “non-ionizing.” Ionizing radiation, which includes x-rays and atomic radiation, causes cancer. Non-ionizing radiation, which includes microwave radiation, is supposed to be safe. This distinction always reminded me of the propaganda in George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “Four legs good, two legs bad.” “Non-ionizing good, ionizing bad” is as little to be trusted.”

“An astronomer once quipped that if Neil Armstrong had taken a cell phone to the Moon in 1969, it would have appeared to be the third most powerful source of microwave radiation in the universe, next only to the Sun and the Milky Way. He was right. Life evolved with negligible levels of microwave radiation. An increasing number of scientists speculate that our own cells, in fact, use the microwave spectrum to communicate with one another, like children whispering in the dark, and that cell phones, like jackhammers, interfere with their signaling.

In any case, it is a fact that we are all being bombarded, day in and day out, whether we use a cell phone or not, by an amount of microwave radiation that is some ten million times as strong as the average natural background. And it is also a fact that most of this radiation is due to technology that has been developed since the 1970s.”

Lithuania, Vilnius
Jamaica, Kingston
Cameroon, Yaoundé
Romania, Bucharest
Uruguay, Montevideo
Chad, N’Djamena
Miami, Florida, USA
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Qatar, Doha (Al-Dawhah)
Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan

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School Wi-Fi & Microwave Radiation Levels Three Times That of Phone Masts

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Cell Phone Towers Health Effects

Cell Phone Sensitivity

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Sir William Stewart, chairman of the Health Protection Agency, has called for a review of the health risks of wireless technology after an investigation into its effects on children.

The BBC’s investigative programme Panorama claims that wi-fi networks in schools can give off three times as much signal radiation as phone masts.

Current government advice says that phone masts should not be sited near schools without consulting parents and teachers, because children are thought to be more vulnerable to radio-frequency radiation.

The programme-makers measured radiation levels from a wi-fi-enabled laptop in a classroom in Norwich. It found that the signal strength was three times higher than that of a typical phone mast. Wi-fi, or wireless fidelity, allows a computer user to connect to the internet at broadband speeds without cables.

More than two thirds of secondary schools and nearly half of primary schools have wi-fi. Panoramaspoke to nearly 50 schools and only one had been alerted to possible health risks. Others had been told that there was no risk.The Government says that wi-fi poses no health risks, citing advice from the World Health Organisation.

In 2000 Sir William produced a report on the impact of mobile phone masts on health. He found that: “There may be changes, for example in cognitive function . . . There were some indications that there may be cancer inductions . . . There was some molecular biology changes within the cell. . . ”

The levels of radiation found in the Norwich classroom were 600 times lower than the levels deemed dangerous by the Government. It uses data from the International Commission on NonIonizing Radiation Protection, which bases exposure limits on a thermal effect. In other words, the radiation has to be strong enough to cause a heat effect before it is restricted.

Dr Olle Johansson, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has carried out experiments on radiation similar to or lower than wi-fi and found biological implications. Asked if the commission was right to set limits based on thermal effect, he said: “That’s just rubbish. You cannot put emphasis on such guidelines.”

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
Croatia, Zagreb
Belgium, Brussels
Japan, Tokyo City
Iraq, Baghdad
United Kingdom, London
Latvia, Riga
Swaziland, Mbabane (administrative)
Suriname, Paramaribo
Fremont, California, USA

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Can Microwave Radiation Can Cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Part 2

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Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College; Honorary Vice President International Stress Management Association; Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners; Full Member, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences; Fellow, The Royal Society of Medicine; Emeritus Member, The Bioelectromagnetics Society

If you would like to approach your kids’ school to have WiFi removed, or a strong cell phone policy put in place, you can see my petition with my local Surrey School Board for ideas.

Or, you can start by printing this open letter from Magda Havas PhD to school educators and giving it to your principal, school board, etc.
It’s a real shame, because my kids are in the Fine Arts program at a brilliant school with a professional theatre, dance studio and music studio (and with ocean views from all the upstairs classrooms!), fabulous teachers, and they couldn’t be happier. But the administration is unwilling to even examine the WiFi issue.

This is the FIRST generation of children to be exposed to wireless computers and cell phones like this – do I want my kids to risk cancer, leukemia, genetic mutation, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. etc. or would I rather pull them out: better safe than sorry?

We know from GQ Magazine (of all places!) that Wall Street brokers take 10 years of pretty high cell phone use to develop brain tumours. But no one knows what the risks, or timeline is for children. Do I want my children to be part of the experiment? Because right now, without my knowledge or permission, their school installed a WiFi network and presto, they’re guinea pigs. And many other parents have bought their children cell phones which they use in my child’s classroom – thus irradiating my child as well as theirs.

My choice now is what to do about it? As we teach our kids: Problem –> Solution. Don’t whinge, don’t waste energy whining, lashing out, just look for the solution.

For myself, I’m thinking more and more about re-locating to 20 acres somewhere affordable – that way even if all our neighbours have wireless, it won’t come into our house. Combined with some kind of shared homeschool arrangement with like-minded parents. We saw this in Playa Del Carmen in Mexico – some expats there got 5 families together and each would be responsible for one day of homeschooling at each house. I thought it was a brilliant solution – the kids benefited from a mix of talents/education in teachers, good social environment and variety, and then parents only had to homeschool one day a week!
One thing you can control immediately, is to get rid of your cordless phone in your house. Depending on the model, these can emit even stronger radiation than a cell phone and a double-blind experiment shows how they can induce tachycardia (among other nasty symptoms). Likewise, make sure you’re not using a cordless (DECT) baby monitor with your highly-susceptible infant.

p.s. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, electricity companies in the U.S. and Canada are now installing “Smart Meters” that relay information about electricity usage every few minutes via….you guessed it…WiFi! Or even better, WiMax!! Great, now we will all be forced to have WiFi in our homes, or no electricity.

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Irving, Texas, USA
Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou
Libya, Tripoli
Angola, Luanda
Nepal, Kathmandu
Panama, Panama (City)
Haiti, Port-au-Prince
Thailand, Bangkok
Port Pirie, South Australia

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