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
    araemo, 13 Dec 2006 @ 5:28am

    Wow... so many bad analogies

    Read up on constructive interference, a property of all waves, electromagnetic, pressure(sound), or other.

    Enough people whispering at a given pressure level could cause damage, if their sound waves were in-phase.

    They could also completely cancel eachother out, if they were exactly 180 degrees out of phase.

    Essentially, it's most likely a wash. Constructive interference could cause the waves to have higher intensity, and destructive interference could cancel that out, meaning that all the waves average out.

    That said - likely people aren't sensitive in the same way they're sensitive to foods they're allergic to. You can play sounds that are at a frequency noone can hear, but still cause high stress after long exposures, so any double-blind test to see if people can detect electromagnetic interference would have to A: Do the test inside a faraday cage with no other EM sources, and B: look for secondary effects instead of merely asking 'can you tell if there are waves in here?'.

    Is it likely people are sensitive to Wifi radiation? No, probably not, the FCC limited transmit powers to SO LOW it's not funny.

    Cell phones? Possibly, it's a lot more likely anyways. The instantaneous power levels are much higher.

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