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WiFi health risk report based on ‘alarming lack of science’

WiFi health risk report based on ‘alarming lack of science’

Another blast from the tin-foil hat brigade.

Tech site Ars Technica has just ripped apart a recent report from the Council of Europe, which likened the health risks of WiFi to those of smoking and asbestos poisoning.

Based on the report, European states have been encouraged to ban WiFi in schools while citizens have been encouraged to use wired phones. As Ars says, ‘those are pretty radical responses for what remains a purely hypothetical risk.

As a background, the site points out that almost all the studies that have examined a possible link with mobile phones and cancer have 'significant methodological limitations, as they rely on things like self-reported usage patterns, which are often unreliable.

It continues that there’s no evidence to support wireless radiation causing long-term damage to the human body. As the site points out, there's ‘no well-described mechanism by which non-ionising radiation can induce long-term biological changes, although it can cause short-term heating of tissues.

The confusion in the Council of Europe’s report, Ars claims, is that there are some papers written on the subject of wireless radiation causing long-term damage to the human body, but the site claims that ‘a careful reading shows that many of these citations are misleading; in some examples, its authors focus on single results from a publication that comes to conclusions opposite to the one being claimed.

This has led Jean Huss, a member of Luxembourg’s Les Verts, to claim that ‘non-ionising frequencies… appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals as well as the human body even when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.’ Ars Technica is scathing in its rebuttal of this view, claiming that ‘Huss has inserted language that suggests future deliberations include a bias towards the same conclusions.

Basically, the risks of radiation from wireless devices are ambiguous at best, and potentially insignificant. There’s certainly no clear evidence to equate the harm from WiFi with that of smoking. As always, let us know your thoughts in the forums.

31 Comments

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Valinor 27th May 2011, 13:11 Quote
Haven't there been studies in the past which concluded that there was very little risk? It seemed to be that this report was the only one that claimed there was a major health risk, which is a bit strange.
bogie170 27th May 2011, 13:19 Quote
Hmm.....
Low power Wifi signals with a range of meters at an arms length away.....
or
Medium power mobile phone with a range of kilometers stuck to within cm's of your brain....

Who is the winner? FIGHT!!!!!!
bogie170 27th May 2011, 13:20 Quote
*also probably more radiation up my ass than a wifi router.
Fizzban 27th May 2011, 13:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bogie170
*also probably more radiation up my ass than a wifi router.

haha have some rep.

I would think that wifi is no more harmful than the frequencies we use for the radio or TV. Of course I have nothing to back that view up, it just seems likely to me.
Cobalt 27th May 2011, 13:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Valinor
Haven't there been studies in the past which concluded that there was very little risk? It seemed to be that this report was the only one that claimed there was a major health risk, which is a bit strange.

File drawer effect. The studies which show a minimal risk get published. So do a few which show no difference. No one publishes the results which claim health benefits because that looks ridiculous. Overall it becomes clear that there is no effect at all and that only the publication bias causes anomalies and noise to be presented as a positive result.
enciem 27th May 2011, 13:37 Quote
90% of people would say this is complete trash. The other 10% died in unconfirmed wifi related incidents ;)
aleph31 27th May 2011, 13:42 Quote
The guy is just a politician, so he may claim whatever nonsensic stuff he wants -as the republicans often do in Texas with creationism.

In any case, even though mobile and Wifi are non-ionising radiations, signal intensity is still a factor (causing heat and burning tissues). I think a safe measure would be to keep a minimum distance to the mobile antenna (you know, intensity decreases with the inverse square of distance, so with distances below unit 1, intensity actually increases dramatically...
Flibblebot 27th May 2011, 13:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
...wifi related incidents ;)
Like being beaten to death with said WiFi router by the 90% of sensible people? :D
arcticstoat 27th May 2011, 14:06 Quote
There's a great comparative radiation chart here. Love the note about cell phones at the bottom of the blue chart.
borandi 27th May 2011, 14:19 Quote
Quote:
Huss has inserted language that suggests future deliberations include a bias towards the same conclusions

Welcome to the land of research. Although if you have a hypothesis (note http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1431 and http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=761) you strive to prove or disprove it - there's a very thin line between being neutral and someone calling you biased ("You wanted your hypothesis to work! Your experiments were geared towards positive results!") even if the methodology is so you can do one then the other.
steveo_mcg 27th May 2011, 14:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Like being beaten to death with said WiFi router by the 90% of sensible people? :D

Rofl
EzyRyder 27th May 2011, 14:42 Quote
Good to know - my wife is convinced it gives cancer so I will forward this to her :D
Yslen 27th May 2011, 15:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Quote:
Originally Posted by enciem
...wifi related incidents ;)
Like being beaten to death with said WiFi router by the 90% of sensible people? :D

You owe me a new keyboard, this one has Pepsi Max all over it.
Ending Credits 27th May 2011, 15:47 Quote
BAN EVERYTHING! IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE SAFE.
Azayles 27th May 2011, 17:27 Quote
Ironic, really, that you're far more likely to suffer injury from tripping over a network cable than you are from the radio waves emitted by a wireless system.
I reckon more people die a year from having routers dropped on them than they do from cancer resulting from exposure to wifi!
SMIFFYDUDE 27th May 2011, 18:30 Quote
Apexgun 27th May 2011, 19:02 Quote
http://xkcd.com/radiation/ Radiation chart daily every day things and what they do to us.
Neophyte4Life 27th May 2011, 19:22 Quote
I cant find a reference to it but I recall reading something (popular science if i am not mistaken) about a guy that had to seclude himself (in Russia i believe) from technology because it makes him sick due to high radio exposure in a previous job. I swear i am not crazy. [puts on tin foil hat]
Omnituens 27th May 2011, 19:33 Quote
It's ok, the only people who believe it's harmful are Daily Mail readers, and they live in the technological Dark Ages, so don't even have wifi.
Nexxo 27th May 2011, 19:42 Quote
Am I the only one thinking that just by standing on the surface of the Earth we are already in the middle of a huge magnetic field? And does just standing in sunlight not cause your body to absorb significantly more microwave radiation than a mobile can belt out?
TWeaK 27th May 2011, 20:10 Quote
I think I've posted about this before, but as bogie70 alluded, you're more likely to receive harm from your device than any transmitter/receiver station (i.e. a router or mobile phone mast).

The signal strength follows the inverse square law, meaning it's proportional to 1/d^2, where d is the distance. Thus, at 1m you'll receive a certain strength, at 2m you'll receive 1/4 of that and at 3m it'll only be 1/9 - the strength drops of exponentially. Thus, it's the device that's right next to you that's likely to cause harm.

In fact, if you use a mobile phone you're actually better off having more masts around you - if you have poor signal your phone will have to transmit at a higher power than with good signal (much like you have to shout in a club so someone can hear you - in a library you can just wisper). If you have more masts around your phone will use lower power, and since the phone is the main source of the radiation you experience you're much better off that way.
OCJunkie 27th May 2011, 20:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnituens
It's ok, the only people who believe it's harmful are Daily Mail readers, and they live in the technological Dark Ages, so don't even have wifi.
^ Oh snap!

Of course, it's a well known-fact that Wi-Fi and cellphones cause harmful radiation and that's why there's so much stupidity and cancer in the world today. Lol, for real..?

These people are complete luddites, afraid of technology because they don't understand it and I'm sure if there was any real actual legitimate risk at least they'd have warning pictures of half melted faces stampled on routers, just like cigarette packs. Heh.
jimmyjj 28th May 2011, 00:26 Quote
- .... . -.-- / .- .-. . / .-.. .. ... - . -. .. -. --. .-.-.- / ... .--. . .- -.- / --- -. .-.. -.-- / .. -. / -.-. --- -.. . .-.-.-
Bonze 28th May 2011, 00:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticstoat
There's a great comparative radiation chart here. Love the note about cell phones at the bottom of the blue chart.
dammit - best cancel that bananaphone order.....
E_Spaghetti 28th May 2011, 02:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleph31
The guy is just a politician, so he may claim whatever nonsensic stuff he wants -as the republicans often do in Texas with creationism.

In any case, even though mobile and Wifi are non-ionising radiations, signal intensity is still a factor (causing heat and burning tissues). I think a safe measure would be to keep a minimum distance to the mobile antenna (you know, intensity decreases with the inverse square of distance, so with distances below unit 1, intensity actually increases dramatically...

Let's not forget that carbon dioxide warms the earth. Like the ****in sun has nothing to do with it.

-Espaghetti....your fowl-mouthed "creationist"
E_Spaghetti 28th May 2011, 02:19 Quote
You people censored me? F U C U
[USRF]Obiwan 28th May 2011, 13:49 Quote
I think we get 99% more health issues from the direct exposure of the sun, magnetic waves around the earth, space particles bombarding the earth, the nuclear disasters of Chernobyl and Japan, plastic particles in the oceans, exhaust gas and all sorts of pollutions coming out from the industry around the world... Then one radio frequency wave called WIFI.
thehippoz 28th May 2011, 17:16 Quote
directional can put out some good focused radio waves.. but it is a lot like the sun- our bodies can handle that up to a certain point

think the issue is our bodies reaction- it could be our bodies react the same to the sun.. you ever wonder why there's tension built up in your body around a lot of devices emitting radio.. then when there's a power out, that tension is released?

I been building a lot of yagi's for wifi recently- those focus the waves off the dipole into a tear into the direction of the driven elements.. so you can turn like 2 watts of power into something illegal (eirp).. I can feel the tension when shooting off even a watt- I guess some people are just a bit more sensitive than others (goes back to the b monkey)

http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/9453/imgp0673c.jpg http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/4858/imgp0675o.jpg http://img841.imageshack.us/img841/2589/imgp0672g.jpg http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/1671/imgp0647t.jpg

now dish is really focused- it's why they use them for satellite tv and why it goes to pot when it rains (the signal is bent down)

my dad was telling me in at&t, they would put 2 dishes up on the tower.. one on top of the other.. when it rained the signal would bend and be caught by the dish underneath, then they had another backup at another altitude and if all 3 of those failed, the switchers would automatically route around the tower

I dunno if you guys heard that story about the security guard who fell asleep in front of a tv station dish and they found him baked like a ham.. wifi isn't totally harmless at higher power- it's microwaves
Quote:
You people censored me? F U C U

your the reason this country is going into the dumps :( so dumb don't even have common sense.. now go clean that toilet
chris66 28th May 2011, 17:38 Quote
....report based on ‘alarming lack of science’

Bit like the massive scam that is man made global warming then. I sometimes think that the West want us all to revert to the Dark Ages......
modfx 29th May 2011, 16:08 Quote
All the girlies say I'm pretty fly (for a wi-fi). Sorry, bored I'll get my coat
Sebbo 30th May 2011, 02:42 Quote
"Alarming lack of science"? GLaDOS would not approve

Maybe these people would be better as test subjects, though I'm not sure how successful they'd be in tests either...
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