Wireless

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
allergies, blame, wifi, wireless



Mother Blames Daughter's Suicide On WiFi Allergy

from the phantom-pain dept

For many years now we've discussed the unflagging belief on some fronts that WiFi is capable of making people sick, despite no scientific evidence supporting this belief. Getting some shouldn't be hard, yet the "electromagnetically sensitive" have yet to prove they're capable of even detecting the presence of WiFi signals during double blind studies. That hasn't stopped many of them from flinging lawsuits about, suing schools for making their kids sick, or even forcing school districts to eliminate WiFi entirely.

Every time I write something highlighting the absurdity of this behavior I'm accosted by individuals wielding "proof" of WiFi's disastrous impact on the human body in the form of lengthy pdf lists of new age websites and aggressively-unscientific "studies." It's enough to, like, totally pollute my aura.

And once again, WiFi allergies have stumbled into the headlines, with one UK mom's claim that a WiFi allergy drove her 15-year-old daughter to suicide. The girl was found dead in a wooded area near the family's home after sending a text message to her friend warning her of the suicide. The tragedy has been compounded by the mother's decision to blame the WiFi at her daughter's school for the death of the child:
"As soon as Jenny walked away from a router she felt instantly better so she was almost hunting out areas of the school which weren't covered by WiFi just to do her work. "I remember saying to the school 'if someone had a peanut allergy you wouldn't make them work surrounded by peanuts'. "Just because WiFi is new and all around us doesn't mean it is safe. WiFi and children do not mix. Much more research needs to be done into this because I believe that WiFi killed my daughter."
Unsurprisingly the coroner couldn't find medical evidence of any such sickness. And overall scientific evidence still doesn't support the narrative of WiFi illness. As the World Health Organization has noted, nobody claiming to suffer from such a disorder has been able to show they can actually detect radio frequency fields, which, given the seemingly common nature of the complaint, would have happened at this point. None of this is to pretend that the medical profession is infallible (as controversy surrounding prolonged Lyme disease symptoms clearly illustrates), but the science supporting WiFi-caused illness just isn't there.

More often than not the "tiredness, headaches and bladder problems" have other causes, ranging from a miserable diet and lack of exercise to mold or other more subtle disorders and diseases. Making entire school systems less productive because your gut believes WiFi poses a fatal threat remains categorically absurd, no matter how unfortunate the tragedy or understandable the grief.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:50am

    I have an allergy to stupidity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mcinsand, 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:54am

      Re: allergy to stupidity

      If you have an allergy to stupidity, you might want to start mainlining diphenhydramine, especially the way the US 2016 election is taking shape.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 8 Dec 2015 @ 5:38am

        Re: Re: allergy to stupidity

        Or just stick to reading tech and science blogs till the election nonsense is over and either Kang or Kodos have won.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:58am

    I'm all for eliminating wifi in schools. Give kids a proper computer with wired ethernet!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Avatar28 (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      The problem with that is cost. I work in school IT. We pay about $200 per drop to get one installed. Our centrally managed wireless access points cost around $500/ea plus the installation, say $700 total. One access point can easily handle, say, 30 computers. That's $700 vs $3000 for the equivalent number of ethernet drops. Oh, and it also only uses one port for all those machines instead of needing to add a very expensive 48 port switch that costs several thousand dollars to handle the extra drops.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:57am

        Re: Re:

        My old high school handled this problem the way a high school should - make the Vocational Electronics Teacher and the Computer Programming Teacher handle it as part of their job. They're salaried and SHOULD have the required technical know-how to string ethernet cable/setup wifi. The VE teacher actually made us students do nearly all the work while he supervised. It was great hands-on experience. If your school is paying outside people to do this, your school is doing it wrong.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hmm. That would have been fine 5-10 years ago but now wireless is essential. There are about 8000 items on wireless and it is constantly used by staff and students. One rogue access point can disrupt 3-4 classrooms with signal interference. Wireless is becoming so critical, that I will be installing an additional backup wireless controller once the current system needs replaced.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:05am

    I wonder if the people that complain about being allergic to wifi are even aware that there is 2.4 GHz wifi and 5 GHz wifi.

    And that the 2.4 GHz wifi shares that spectrum with things like Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, cordless telephones, and microwave ovens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      ....fluorescent lights, game controllers, video cameras, Christmas tree lights....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re:

        I worked with both 2.4 ghz and 900 mhz transmitter/receiver sets in the 1990s for video transmission. Every spec I had claimed only 300 feet (91 m) unobstructed line of sight. The actual distance was less.

        The main issue on stuff like this is not so much the frequency but the power behind the frequency. The more power the more distance you get. I thought WiFi had both set frequencies and set power. Based on these comments it appears that there are WiFi units that might have more power pushing the frequency than intended. I have one WiFi unit in my home that can't go even 100 ft (30 m) through walls, so the power isn't much. Yet my cel phone picks up open WiFis driving down a main street (it's got this annoying beep whenever it loses WiFi signal even though the phone is in it's holster not being used).

        And if you want to get really technical antenna design plays a significant part on signal distance too.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 2:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          " if you want to get really technical antenna design"

          That's not really technical. It's basic. Directional antennas can focus the signal and increase "gain" or the perceived signal strength for a specific place.

          But to your original point, yes, the output power in the unlicensed 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands is limited by governments, notably the FCC in the USA. Here are the limits:

          http://www.air802.com/fcc-rules-and-regulations.html

          As directional antennas are used, you'll note that the output power of the radios is restricted downwards. But users can work around this by adding directional antennas to equipment that is specced for omni-directional ones.

          You can relate the perceived power of WiFi against other radios here:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBm

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:57am

        Re: Re:

        You forgot politician's brains and money.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      you can cook food with a 2.4Ghz "microwave oven" you know?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Roger Strong (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re:

        And...? The typical leakage from a microwave oven is one watt, ten times the output power of a WiFi access point. It's in the same frequency range too. And yet you don't hear about the same people being sensitive to it.

        And even THAT is only half the power of a cell phone. The girl had her own cell phone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 2:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah. But methinks the power level is slightly different, no?

        I mean, you can die from overdose with water, you know? And I'm not talking about drowning. I'm talking about poisoning.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication

        There is a difference in wifi and a microwave oven. The same difference as there is between a sip of water and dilutional hyponatremia.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 4:57pm

      Re:

      OMG, "Think of the children!" in the microwave oven with their baby monitor :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:18am

    Mom blames it on WiFi. The rest of the world blames it on poor parenting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    icon
    davebarnes (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:37am

    Old News

    This was on SlashDot a few days ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rich, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:48am

      Re: Old News

      Good thing this isn't a news site.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 1:53am

        Re: Re: Old News

        I dunno man. Slashdot isn't a news site any more, it's definitely slipped into being an "olds" site. For Techdirt to be behind /. on a story really brings into question whether it's still relevant to bother commenting on it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:39am

    Yes, SOME humans DO have hypersensitivity to RF/EMF radiation.
    This girl should had been tested to check what kind of freq. and at what power could make her sick.

    As an electronic engineer versed in electronic medical devices I do get VERY scared of the amount of energy that is accepted for microwaves to emit.

    There is A REASON people use lead vests and lead screens in the hospitals. (just google lead garment, lead gonad shield)
    There is a reason you cannot work on a cell tower until it is off.

    It would be also interesting to see what kind of configuration does the school have for their wifi. I have also seen in some offices powerful industrial wifi access points with high power antennas which are not to be used that close to humans. Even the manuals have warnings, but people just ignore it and go for the highest specifications doing some stupid dangerous wifi systems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      "microwave OVENs"

      I am not saying anything about the girl,
      just that it is possible for some humans to get very sick under radiation fields, and this article should not be discarded as stupid.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mistercynical (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:48am

      Re:

      I have to question an "electronic engineer versed in electronic medical devices" who does not appear to know the difference between ionizing and nonionizing radiation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        mcinsand, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:28am

        you might have a question, but I don't

        >>I have to question an "electronic engineer versed in
        >> electronic medical devices" who does not appear to know
        >>the difference between ionizing and nonionizing
        >>radiation.

        No question here. Someone that doesn't know the difference is clearly not qualified for the discussion.

        No, wait a minute... I do have questions. I seriously question whether such a person would be qualified for any actual engineering, at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:48am

        Re: Re:

        So you are saying exposure to non ionizing radiation is harmless?

        never said I did not know the difference. never said wifi was splitting girls DNA.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If it were strong enough to affect one student, it would have affected them ALL. There's nothing magic about 99.999999% of the population that makes them "immune" to wifi. There are enough studies now that show this is nonsense, and anyone believing in it should be pointed at and laughed at.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            ltlw0lf (profile), 4 Dec 2015 @ 9:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If it were strong enough to affect one student, it would have affected them ALL. There's nothing magic about 99.999999% of the population that makes them "immune" to wifi.

            A person without any water in their body would be completely "immune" to wifi....:-)

            Yet another reason why DihydrogenMonoxide should be outlawed!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2015 @ 3:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            What about amputees "itches?"

            Could studies prove to you that there is an itch on something you can see has been removed? Or do you just point and laugh?

            Ever hear of a placebo? What some fail to remember is that in addition to no effect, there are both positive and negative effects from placebos.

            What if someone believes wifi makes them nauseous and they believe they are in an area covered by wifi?
            I'd avoid those areas myself, which doesn't mean everyone else has to comply to my demands.


            Where did you get the stat above? Same place most stats and studies come from?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 7 Dec 2015 @ 7:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:


              Could studies prove to you that there is an itch on something you can see has been removed?


              Since that isn't a claim of an effect from an external cause, it's not a good analogy. If they claimed their phantom limb only itches in the presence of wifi, then you would have something.

              Ever hear of a placebo? What some fail to remember is that in addition to no effect, there are both positive and negative effects from placebos.

              The placebo effect is positive effects from an inert input. The opposite is called the nocebo effect.

              What if someone believes wifi makes them nauseous and they believe they are in an area covered by wifi?

              That is in the same category as any other belief. Not a good foundation for policy.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "So you are saying exposure to non ionizing radiation is harmless?"

          At the power levels used by WiFi, there is currently zero evidence that exposure is harmful to anybody. Which indicates that, worst case, the risk is exceedingly minimal.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:52am

      Re:

      "There is A REASON people use lead vests and lead screens in the hospitals. (just google lead garment, lead gonad shield)
      There is a reason you cannot work on a cell tower until it is off."

      Yes, there are reasons. Reasons that don't apply here, unless you're boosting your wifi to a ridiculous level not within the range of the device you were supplied with.

      "It would be also interesting to see what kind of configuration does the school have for their wifi. "

      If done as an overall study that takes into account everything about the school and home environment, and not just the wifi? Sure. The real explanation would probably be found while they're at it.

      "people just ignore it and go for the highest specifications doing some stupid dangerous wifi systems"

      Funny. In my experience, most people plug in their router and never touch the default settings, and have equipment that can never be set to dangerous levels without serious deliberate intervention..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re:

        there are "home routers" with tiny antennas for HOME USE.

        you have never seen the wifi famous lynksys wrts with aftermarket high gain antennas bolted on the wall 70cms above some poor office/hotel guy? you know everybody uses those because you can set the power to ilegal levels to "maximize" coverage? now if people sits there 8 hrs a day, you do the math

        I wonder what would you say if you see a high gain antenna bolted above your daughters desk at school?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          there is no harm in checking that at least the schools do not use more mWs than needed instead of hiring the cheapest bidder?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Actually there is harm in checking. It puts credibility behind the false claims that WiFi is dangerous.

            There is 0 evidence that anyone is actually affected by WiFi. Treating it as a brand new, dangerous thing after 20 years of use (not including the decades of other types of signals) is just fear mongering.

            But, hay, your an "electronic engineer versed in electronic medical devices." Do you have any idea how much money you could get, and how much good you could do if you prove your claims? I mean, everyone here thinks the claims are full of it and have no problems being around WiFi. Imagen what would change if you put your money where your mouth is and proved it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:05pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Actually there is harm in checking. It puts credibility behind the false claims that WiFi is dangerous."

              This is an unscientific position to take. There is research grant money out there for people to study things like squirel's nuts. There should be enough left over to study the potential effect of Wifi on squirel nuts, etcetera. Only reasonable thing to do.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                techflaws (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:12pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Yeah, probably as reasonable as still investing homeopathy after 200 years of producing no results beyond the Placebo effect.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JBDragon (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:58am

      Re:

      Yes, Lead screens are a god thing to be using went taking X-Rays because it's a known fact that to much exposure can KILL YOU!!! Especially if you're the person taking them all day long on other people. That has NOTHING to do with Wifi.

      Yes, Power OFF on a Cell Tower before working is also the smart move. Point blank range right next to something outputting a lot of power may not be good for you, let alone the risk of Electrical shock from all the high voltage. Again, NOTHING to do with Wifi.

      Wifi is really using very low power. You're getting beamed by much more powerful AM/FM radio signals then what you're getting from Wifi!!! These so called Sensitive people should be going out of their mind most of the time because of AM/FM/ Satellite like SiriusXM Radio, etc all blasting thought everyone's environment, that's much stronger then Wifi.

      Again, if they're so sensitive, why can't even 1 person pass a double blind test? That should be easy!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:05am

        Re: Re:

        "You're getting beamed by much more powerful AM/FM radio signals"

        Especially AM. There's enough power on an AM radio signal that you can power a physical radio.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Aussie Anon, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And then there's the fact with enough juice, an AM radio signal easily bounces off of the ionosphere and back down, allowing folks in one part of a country to be able to pick up an AM station from other states.

          Canberra's 1053 2CA AM station is known for getting listeners and requests from folks living in southern Queensland, because they get the signal bounced down for the Ionosphere, whilst it's a pain to listen to 2CA's FM counterpart - Mix 106.3 - in parts of Queanbeyan, and that's just over the flipping border from Canberra.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          the higher the freq the deeper the penetration

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So I'm gonna get my freq on, and penetrate you.

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          • icon
            Roger Strong (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            > the higher the freq the deeper the penetration

            Just the opposite actually.

            Which is why AM signals goes right through walls, while cell phone and WiFi signals are significantly weakened by them and higher frequencies are stopped. And why the TSA uses millimeter wave scanners to image the surface of your body rather than image the inside like an X-Ray.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2015 @ 2:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              AM just means amplitude modulation. There are different frequencies that AM may operate on. I believe short wave AM is intended for longer distance. There is a Wikipedia article on it. It's not the frequency that varies but the amplitude. With FM, frequency modulation, the frequency varies.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2015 @ 3:01pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Oh and short wave = higher frequency.

                To try and determine what will go further really depends on conditions. It depends on the atmosphere, types of gasses present and pressure, types of materials you must penetrate, if there are clouds, temperature, interference sources (which can be affected by the sun), time of day. I think certain AM radio frequencies work better at night and some governments may even require broadcasters to turn down AM intensity at night or to stop broadcasting. Hence you had daytime stations.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 6 Dec 2015 @ 3:08pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I think he was talking about AM radio, which is 540–1610 kHz in the US, lower frequency than FM at 87.5 to 108.0 MHz, or cellular phones at 850 - 2500 MHz and wifi at 2400. So AM radio has better penetration (and lower bandwidth) than the other technologies.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re:

      "Yes, SOME humans DO have hypersensitivity to RF/EMF radiation."

      [Citation needed]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      The girl was found dead in a wooded area near the family's home after sending a text message to her friend....


      While it would be interesting to see the school's WiFi configuration, there's a reason the bands used for WiFi are unlicensed -- there have been many studies in those bands, and the wavelengths don't tend to interfere with organic matter.

      *Cellular* signals, on the other hand, well, are heavily studied now, have wavelengths and emission strengths closer to what *might* affect humans, and they've been repeatedly proven to be safe.

      If you're an electronic engineer versed in electronic medical devices, I presume you know the physics behind EM radiation, and radio-biological interaction? And about the fact that radiation, by definition, radiates, which means the intensity drops off pretty quickly (by the inverse square)?

      This girl had on her person a radio emitter with THREE emitting antennas in it. Unless she was disabling WiFi and Bluetooth on her phone, it was CONSTANTLY emitting right up against her body at a fixed level. On top of that, she had a cellular emitter that boosts its emissions strength as it gets a weaker and weaker signal from the cell site.

      If the school had set up a microwave tower with a strong enough emissions signal to cause bodily harm, there would have been a LOT of complaints -- not just from students and staff getting tumors or baked insides, but from all the surrounding homes and businesses who would have found that their WiFi was completely overpowered by the strong signal coming from the school.

      You get way more radiation exposure (and actual ionizing radiation) from climbing a mountain or flying on an airplane than you could ever hope to get from an FCC-approved WiFi router. You probably even get more (non-visible) radiation from the school's lighting system.

      If allergies to WiFi signals were a real thing, nature wouldn't be picky: you'd have people allergic to ambient light, to x-rays, to FM radio, to ham radio, to electrical wiring, etc. And yet whenever a double blind study is done, no correlation is found.

      What I find dodgy about all this is that it doesn't seem to matter what frequency WiFi routers are running at, the allergies persist. But another radio operating in ANY of those frequency ranges where there isn't a physical box with a blinking light present appears to have no effect.

      This isn't to say that there isn't cause/effect here, but it's likely not due to radiation, but due to physical psychology. You *can* die from what you believe.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re:

        One other thing: while I get that "allergy" is used when people generally mean "feels bad", it has quite a specific meaning.

        An allergy is formed when your autoimmune system's B cells are exposed to a specific molecular structure and they deem it to be threatening to bodily health (by having the ability to interfere with other biological processes). B cells then encode a description of the structure (antibodies) and release these constructs which get picked up by mast cells that come in contact with them. When those primed mast cells come in contact with the allergen again, they basically dissolve into a caustic goop, destroying the allergen and anything else in the area.

        Sensitivities are different: these are when your body reacts to a specific substance through some other biological mechanism: sensitivities often involve stimulus, including visible radiation (light). At their base, these are caused by the regulating parts of the brain failing to dampen prolonged signals to the brain from the nervous system, which then causes neural interference, which can result in nausea, dizziness, scattered thinking, and other cognitive impairments.

        Note: this is not caused by the stimulus, it's caused by a malfunctioning damping system in the brain. There are current treatments for this condition, but they can have side effects.

        But in the case of WiFi, we don't actually have neurosensors in the body that are receptive to radiation at these wavelengths, so it is unlikely they are playing a part here. What COULD be playing a part is the AC adapters used for the routers, which, if they're wired into the same circuit as the lighting system, could be setting up pulsed energy to the lights themselves, which, in a sensitive person, could cause the nausea, etc. mentioned above.

        I hope these descriptions help.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:13pm

      Re:

      "There is A REASON people use lead vests and lead screens in the hospitals. (just google lead garment, lead gonad shield)
      There is a reason you cannot work on a cell tower until it is off."

      Yes.

      Reason 1: They use lead vests because of repeated, consistent, daily exposure to high blasts of X-rays (an ionizing wavelength of EMF.) And with modern equipment, they wear it just to have an abundance of caution. You or I don't wear lead shields, but on the contrary, we are the subjects of the exposure.

      Reason 2: Cellular towers concentrated locations of higher-power (100 watts), and focused directional beams of EMF. At these power levels, the effects of EMF are measurable on humans (mostly detected as a heating of our meat). Of course, this is one of the reasons we mount antennas high on masts, and aim horizontally instead of towards the people below. The inverse-square law provides safety after just a dozen or so meters.

      http://www.emfexplained.info/?ID=25821

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:48am

    Challenge Accepted

    > nobody claiming to suffer from such a disorder has been able to show they can actually detect radio frequency fields

    Whenever my WiFi goes down I feel cranky and depressed. The symptoms go away once my router is working again.

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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:48am

    This reminds me of the vaccine/autism stuff that people continue to believe despite lack of evidence. It's understandable - grieving parents who wish they could have done more to prevent their child's condition/death latch on to anything with even a tenuous link, usually supported in their belief by pseudo science or even outright lies.

    That's understandable, but without scientific proof it's just another tragic story with a far-fetched blame attached. It's up to the people who believe this stuff to present compelling evidence that such things exist, not for them to be trying to change rules for the other 99.9% of the population who have felt no such ill effects.

    As for the mother's comment:

    "Much more research needs to be done into this"

    There's a mountain already. How much more is needed? Until it's proven beyond a doubt that there's no such danger (on top of the mountain that shows that), or just until someone creates a study that proves your preconceived assumption? I suspect the latter, and like the anti-vaxxers and the widely-discredited Wakefield study (even admitted as a lie by the author), I suspect that no study will be good enough until someone presents them with what they want to hear, even if it's a lie. Tragic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:59am

      Re:

      I think the first thing that needs to be done is educating the parent (and other parents and children) as to what allergies actually are and what neural sensitivities are.

      It's likely that this could have been fixed with a neural drug therapy. The problem is: it had nothing to do with WiFi signals.

      One of the down-sides of self-diagnosis is that you may never provide a medical practitioner with the necessary data to find out what's REALLY wrong once you've made up your mind as to what you THINK is wrong. Confirmation bias sets in, and then there's not much the medical establishment can do to help other than prescribe placebos (which only work if it's purely a mental disease).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      Some of my family have had terrible allergic reactions to vaccines. Massive fever, or seizures seconds after injections and the one with the seizure ended up with brain damage. I am not against vaccines and I am fully vaccinated but some people's fears may be justified but are labeling it wrong. Simple solution is just to test if you are allergic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:18pm

      Re:

      so, you don't know about hcg antibodies in vaccines?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:56am

    > after sending a text message to her friend warning her of the suicide.

    So the kid was carrying around her own cell phone. Brilliant.

    A Wi-Fi access point will have a maximum output power of a tenth of a watt. A GSM mobile phone can transmit two watts. And the phone will be held MUCH closer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 11:12am

      Re:

      A Wi-Fi access point will have a maximum output power of a tenth of a watt. A GSM mobile phone can transmit two watts. And the phone will be held MUCH closer.


      Which is important, due to the inverse square law. A phone physically touching her is going to be much more of an issue than a non-compliant emitter three meters away.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 1:21pm

      Re:

      whatabout the loss in the antenna genius?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Na. They're both omnidirectional with negligible cabling to the antennas. So, "the loss in the anten" is basically irrelevant...genius.

        BTW, I lost a "na" somewhere, can you help me find it?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:59am

    WiFi is from the devil

    Just the other day I was using WiFi with my tablet and suddenly my screen was covered in pro-suicide propaganda.

    One day when using WiFi my screen was covered with hate speech from the KKK and than another day from the Black Panthers and most recently extremist Jihadist muslim hate speech telling me to blow up all infedels whatever they are.

    When looking up something for my chemestry homework the WiFi showed me something called the anarchists cookbook, its about making bombs! Evil stuff that WiFi provides I tell you.

    WiFi is a work of the devil, its true and I can proove it.
    Turn off your wifi and none of this evil text shows up!

    Turn it back on and boom! The devil is in your face enticing you to fornicate, spew out hate speech and blow up stuff with IEDs.

    We need to ban WiFi to protect our children from these evils!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dmitri Seletski, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:00am

    She is too nutts to have microwave owen

    I bet she is "all green" and is believing in homeopathy and urinotheraphy so she wouldn't have any of appliances anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:15am

    The real skinny about WiFi sensitivity

    It's totally possible that people get headaches from an active WiFi router. However, it's quite unlikely that the RF is at fault (which is much weaker than a mobile phone usually held to the head directly) but rather cheap switched power supplies emitting high frequency whines. Namely acoustic rather than electromagnetic pollution. Hey, my girl friend often asks me to plug my laptop in since she gets annoyed by the screen inverter when running on battery (apparently, with mains power its operating frequency is out of her audible range).

    This kind of noise can particularly hit young people with better hearing range than the skeptic adults.

    Of course, figuring out such a problem, where existing, is rather less than more likely once crackpot theories are floating the boat.

    Cheap switching power supplies are actually very much in incline and I'd not consider it impossible that they could even be responsible for stress-induced rashes with some infants if you have some suitable device next to the bed (babyphone?).

    But since the electrosensitives are hogging all the mind space, it will be hard to make any serious studies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rich, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:51am

      Re: The real skinny about WiFi sensitivity

      Complete and utter BS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Aussie Anon, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:26am

        Re: Re: The real skinny about WiFi sensitivity

        Tell that to all the video game players in their 20's and 30's with expensive high-end components in their machines that bitch and moan about coil whine coming from their video cards due to problems with the coolers and having hit-and-miss results on NOT getting a card with coil whine as a replacement RMA.

        And they can actually effing PROVE the coil whine on their video cards and have third-parties back it up.

        Personally? I don't have to worry about coil whine on my GPU - Watercooling with the fans on the rad generating white noise for the win.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:25am

      Re: The real skinny about WiFi sensitivity

      so what you're saying is that you're dating a much younger woman.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re: The real skinny about WiFi sensitivity

        Not all that much. I can hear the screen inverter myself, but it does not add all that much of a difference over my tinnitus. Which is more blood pressure than age related.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:34am

    Call me a nut, but I believe all these frequencies travelling though us must have some adverse affect. Not that I've noticed any myself :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:36am

    A Hideo Kojima Article

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:38am

    seriously though, I'm pretty sure that electrosensitivity is a thing, even if it's all in your head. If you get sick because you think wiFi makes you sick, you still get sick. :V

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Moonkey, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:57am

      Re:

      I don't. Either that or the amount of people affected by it is extremely small. Household of 8. Me, 3 brothers, 2 sisters, 2 parents.

      Many phones (at least 6 at once), Microwave usage pretty high, wifi from at least 3-5 computers at once in use.

      Router is nearly always in use.

      I guarantee you, any aches or pains are not from wifi, but your body doing things. e.g. menstruation, immense change in pressure from cold and warm fronts in the atmosphere, the atmosphere in general, etc.

      But if something does relate to WiFi... Oh well, I'll still use it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      In which case we already have a term for that, 'Hypochondriasis', that of believing that something is effecting you when it's not, at times to the point that the individual in question basically tricks their own body into acting sick when there's nothing actually wrong with them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:44am

    Depression - and Inverse Square

    The unfortunate thing is that the girl's symptoms point to clinical depression. Instead of recognizing the psychological condition and getting her treatment the mother removed WiFi from the house and went on this campaign.

    Had the girl been given professional help likely she would be alive, happy, thriving, growing, learning, and her kookie mother would not be giving interviews.

    ---
    The power of radio waves diminishes as the inverse square of the distance. Cell-tower workers do wear protective gear because they are directly in contact with a tower transmitting at 500 watts. That same 500 watts of effective radidative power (ERP) is 5 watts at the ground 20ft below, and negligible in the air from a tower many feet away.
    https://www.fcc.gov/guides/human-exposure-rf-fields-guidelines-cellular-and-pcs-sites

    WiFi routers put out less than one watt, which at 10 feet is also negligible -- less than a lot of radio waves emitted by the universe which we call "background radiation".

    Ehud

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:43am

      Re: Depression - and Inverse Square

      Is it even possible to get away from wifi since it's now installed in fast food restaurants, malls, and even theme parks.

      But blaming wifi gets more attention than saying she had clinical depression or a mold allergy. It's fine for the school to rip out their wifi, but heaven forbid anyone check the house for mold.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:01am

    I get a headache every time I come to this article. I'm not kidding, I actually get a headache. But I'm smart enough to know that it's psychosomatic.

    802.11 (not all WiFi, just 802.11) was released in 1997. Does that really count as new any more?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      I think that's where the problem lies. Most of us reading TD are old enough to have developed a natural immunity to WiFi by being exposed to 802.11a/b. Kids these days have probably never even been around anything older than 802.11n, which is why they should be vaccinated with attenuated WiFi signals. As long as they're thimerosal-free WiFi signals.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:12am

    Wow. I absolutely cannot believe the number of comments attempting to rationalize claims of wi-fi sensitivity.

    While I'm not a doctor and certainly can't definitively say such a thing doesn't exist, I do know that there are a vast array of prolific technologies today that not only emit EMF on the same frequencies as wi-fi but are doing so at levels many orders of magnitude greater than consumer wi-fi appliances.

    And yet, no one is claiming to have allergies to these other sources of EMF. Heck, it even says in the article that the girl with the supposed wi-fi allergy had her own cell phone and carried it with her!

    To me, this sounds as ridiculous as someone claiming to have an allergy to the light emitted by blue LEDs, but having absolutely no problem walking around outside on a sunny day.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    a simple engineer, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:19am

    you people are aware that when you talk about miliwatts on a wifi router and watts on a cellphone those are BEFORE the antenna?
    and you are aware that the antenna in the wifi router usually is bigger or at least has a higher efficiency than the tiny one inside the cellphone?
    and what is important is the TRP or EIRP AFTER the antenna because there are some LOSSES??
    (Total Radiated Power,Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power)
    as far as I remember the max. allowed SAR for cellphones and HOME wifi devices are exactly the same,
    and YES microwaves do leak MORE than that

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ryunosuke, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:26am

    a few things...

    it also appears that the victim also text a friend (from other news outlets) before hand, now.... why, if you have an allergy to something (or in this case a supposed allergy), would you carry something that triggers said allergy?

    I mean people with nut allergies don't exactly carry around a jar of peanut butter everywhere they go, do they?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 12:21pm

      Re: a few things...

      "I mean people with nut allergies don't exactly carry around a jar of peanut butter everywhere they go, do they?

      They may do if they were, say, suicidal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:32am

    microwave riot control weapons
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14250-microwave-ray-gun-controls-crowds-with-noise/
    ple ase note microwaves are non-ionizing

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:35am

    and YES some humans can feel they "hear" RF radiation
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bem.10163/pdf

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:09am

    The universe is built on EM radiation

    People act like wifi is some new mysterious force that we've invented. Are people not aware that even if no technology existed we would be awash in EM radiation? The sun produces it, even the earth produces it. All our technology does is organize it.

    I also love that the kid who is "allergic to wifi" has a cell phone. Cause you know, wifi is evil, but cell frequency good!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 12:09pm

      Re: The universe is built on EM radiation

      Good point. On the other hand, tons of people are allergic to neutrinos. Unfortunately, studies are difficult because only extremely obese people who live deep underground can be used as test subjects.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 10:39am

    Who knows what the science is when you have huge companies wanting to protect their products?

    Cell Phones have been listed as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

    FU, if you take away my bacon, I will take away your cell phone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 2:01pm

      Re:

      "Cell Phones have been listed as a potential carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)."

      You should read what the IARC says this means. It's not nearly as bad as you imply. What they actually say is that there is no indication of any carcinogenic effect at all, with a single exception: extremely heavy cell phone usage may incur a tiny increase in the incidence of glioma, but the data is inconclusive. Therefore they classified it the way they did did said so that this aspect will be studied more closely.

      What they did not say is that RF emissions are carcinogenic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 3 Dec 2015 @ 11:07am

    Blaming WiFi is stupid! Everyone knows that vaccines are the cause of all medical problems!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 3 Dec 2015 @ 11:52am

    Just being around peanuts if you're allergic won't hurt you either. The physical properties of wi-fi aren't really new, much like background radiation. "Unflagging belief"... sounds like every other religion to ever have existed. Almost without exception, parents are responsible for what their children choose to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 12:32pm

      Re:

      "parents are responsible for what their children choose to do".

      That assumes rather a lot, some people just aren't wired right and no amount of 'parental responsibility' can change that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    That One Other Not So Random Guy, 3 Dec 2015 @ 2:29pm

    Just to play Devil's Advocate... Carl

    "nobody claiming to suffer from such a disorder has been able to show they can actually detect radio frequency fields"

    Can patients "detect" or "feel" cancer? How about the common cold? Can you or anyone else detect the presence of the flu in someone without symptoms?

    There are lots of things that make you sick and you cannot detect it.

    show they can actually detect radio frequency fields = Strawman.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 7:15pm

      Re: Just to play Devil's Advocate... Carl

      show they can actually detect radio frequency fields = Strawman.

      Not so. If they're claiming that it's the radio frequencies that are making them sick, yet can't even tell when they're being subjected to them, then it calls into question their claim. If something is causing an adverse reaction to you, to the point of making you feel ill, you notice it, yet they cannot.

      If I claimed to be allergic to peanuts for example, and you presented me with a two dishes, one of which may or may not contain peanuts, and I either don't show a reaction to the one that contains peanuts, or do show a reaction to the one without peanuts, it would be fairly safe to say that my 'peanut allergy' claims probably aren't accurate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sensitive, 3 Dec 2015 @ 3:48pm

    How stupid. Oh wait. I am allergic myself.

    I have completed an scientific education in this area. But I am also allergic to certain frequencies (and amplitudes).

    The problem is that scientists use a far too simplified model, namely water.

    The structures inside the body that can resonate and form antennas, like nerves, are totally ignored. The evidence of scientific research shows that under certain frequencies EM radiation can cause stress. Which seem logically if you see nerves as possible antennas.

    The electromagnetic model of the body becomes a lot more complicated if you look deeper. Birds use quantum physics to create a sensitivity to (changes in) magnetism. Something that seemed impossible a few years ago.

    Anyway. Have fun telling how stupid it is.
    In the mean time, I'll just pretend my own observations do not exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 4:03pm

      Re: How stupid. Oh wait. I am allergic myself.

      In the mean time, I'll just pretend my own observations do not exist.
      Words to live by.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:59pm

      Re: How stupid. Oh wait. I am allergic myself.

      Awesome, if you're sure that you have the 'allergy' in question, get it tested and verify it in a lab. I'm sure those with less scientific backgrounds will appreciate your support on the matter thanks to you providing vindication of their claims.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:35pm

        Re: Re: How stupid. Oh wait. I am allergic myself.

        Wouldn't even be difficult to set up a double blind test yourself, just need a couple of other people to help.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 5:33pm

    More likely

    You know what's far more likely?
    "...she was almost hunting out areas of the school which weren't covered by WiFi just to do her work."
    Your daughter was depressed and suicidal. I say that as someone who is both myself (I'm receiving treatment) and it isn't easy to admit or to deal with for anyone involved.

    It probably wasn't WiFi making her seek out these areas. It was probably bullying.

    I'd also be interested to see if 1) the house had WiFi and 2) if she carried a mobile phone, tablet or laptop on her person (which would probably have WiFi enabled by default).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 6:00pm

    The mother should be prosecuted for subjecting the daughter to such substantial mental abuse that she committed suicide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2015 @ 8:57pm

    This discussion reminds me of the comments that play out with respect to discussions about radiation: pro-nuke people claim science and rationality is on their side, and ridicule anyone who raises claims about the danger of radiation as being irrational and unscientific. And here we are with EMR. But when you actually dig into the rational/"scientific" position, there is not much there. I understand that the actual studies that proved cellphones were safe were incredibly meagre back in the mid-90s. In addition, there are claims that telecom companies refuse to provide any usage data of their subscribers to epidemiologists. Does that suggest rationality and transparency and fearless engagement with science? There actually seem to be many scientific studies out there, if one cares to look. One place I came across is BioInitiative.org Let's actually be sure that our ever increasing saturation in wifi technology is safe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 3 Dec 2015 @ 9:44pm

    Theres No PROOF That Radiatiation Is Safe

    I think all Radiation should be BANNED until they abolustely PROVE its Safe.

    How I long for the good old Days before all this radiation Malarkey. The whole thing is UN Natural and contrary to Gods swill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 4:27pm

    Just because WiFi is new and all around us doesn't mean it is safe.
    Just because something is 'new and all around us' doesn't mean it isn't safe, either. Maybe you should do your research, then you'd know that WiFi uses the same signals that radios and TVs used for years. (-_Q)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2015 @ 5:02pm

    It's time for the UK Tory party to announce a Wi-Fi Commissioner on say hundreds of thousands a year just like their RWNJ counterparts in the Australian federal government have set up a Wind Farm Commissioner to investigate the health effects from Wind farms at a cost of $200,000pa for a few years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scott Biddick (profile), 9 Dec 2015 @ 10:36am

    Thats pushing it little bit---We have no idea what the waves are doing to our brains.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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