This week’s Independent on Sunday had a massive banner headline – “Wi-Fi: Children at risk from ‘electronic smog’ ”
A further story was entitled “Danger on the airwaves: Is the Wi-Fi revolution a health time bomb?”
The reports go on to report that WiFi is everywhere these days including many homes, towns and schools. So is it dangerous? What’s the basis of these reports?
“Virtually no studies have been carried out into Wi-Fi’s effects on pupils,” says the Independent on Sunday’s report. So what’s the basis of a front page scaremongering story then?
WiFi broadcasts around 2.4 GHz (UHF – Ultra High Frequency) which is somewhere around where microwave ovens work as well as TV is broadcast, along with mobile phones, bluetooth, GPS, some two-way radios and many other things. WiFi is limited to around 100m maximum, whereas mobile phones broadcast for upwards of 2km. I trust that no parent is ever again let their child use a mobile phone, and nor are they going to have any switched on themselves in the home (or any other time they’re with their children).
So, as Rob Beschizza writes over at Wired, either all of these things are dangerous, or none of them.
Undoubtedly, examining whether there are health risks based around all these technologies is a worthwhile venture, but I’d really hope that The Independent on Sunday is above these feeble sensationalist headlines.
There’s an excellent piece penned by Bill Thompson over at the BBC dismantling this kind of scaremongering.