A Year Of WiFi Radiation Equals 20 Minutes On A Cell Phone

from the Munchausen dept

Some people in the UK have been working themselves into a lather over the supposed ill effects of WiFi, claiming a hypersensitivity to its signals that causes all sorts of health problems, and worried parents getting schools to shut down their wireless networks. This debate du jour has raged on in the press there, and now Glenn Fleishmann points to an article in The Times that says the radiation exposure from a WiFi network for a year is equivalent to that from talking on a cell phone for 20 minutes, despite the claims from the head of an anti-radiation lobby group (who also happens to sell equipment to detect and block electromagnetic radiation) to the contrary. Despite claims from sufferers of "electrosensitivity", a researcher points out that they generally can't detect the presence of WiFi or other signals in double-blind laboratory tests. The Times article closes rather dramatically: "As to whether the convenience is worth the risk - only you can decide." Since that risk hasn't really been defined clearly or authoritatively and the latest research says mobile phones pose no cancer risk, it seems unlikely that too many people will give up that convenience since all the other side can offer are the wild-sounding claims of a small minority.

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  1. identicon
    PhysicsGuy, 12 Dec 2006 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: One thing I've always wondered...

    if the water example isn't perfect neither is yours. mechanical (sound) waves and electromagnetic waves are in no way similar. also, electromagnetic waves aren't all pleasant, much of the spectrum can cause severe burns to the skin or cause damage to skin cells from prolonged exposure. however, no negative effects are documented from exposure to low intensity waves with a long wavelength (radio waves).

    now, the point (i think) sanguine brought up "But if we are around all of the many different negligible amounts of radiation long enough, won't they eventually add up to a serious thread." is that the cumulative effect of having many appliances transmitting using radio waves all the time could be dangerous. damage from exposure to radio waves happens when they are too intense. intensity is determined by the number of particles that are reaching your object. therefore with more and more devices you have more and more photons that you are being exposed to. since damage from the radio wave part of the spectrum comes from high intensity, we could very well be at the threshold for having too much exposure.

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