Panorama Wi-Fi scare: "The industry should be taking the lead"

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Jim.jpgTonight’s Panorama is sure to have much of the consumer tech industry glued to their TVs, to evaluate the BBC’s evidence about the potential health risks of Wi-Fi networks. My column earlier on today looked at the issue from a concerned new parent’s point of view, but I’ve also been finding out what industry figures think.

“I think it is the industry rather than consumers who should be taking the lead as part of responsible risk management,” says Jim Lawler, CEO of Exradia, which makes products designed to protect people from the potentially harmful effects of man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from mobile phones and other wireless devices.

Yes, his business is based on people being worried about these EMFs, so he might be biased. On the other hand, it’s his job to understand the issues around this technically-complex subject, so his views are certainly worth hearing.

Does there need to be any more research into the potential health risks of WiFi?

Yes, but it has to cover long term exposure to be meaningful. If you had looked for a link between tobacco and lung cancer using smokers with less than 10 years smoking then you would not have found one.

We know that exposure to electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation has increased over a billion times since the 1950’s, due to the explosive growth and use of wireless technology. New reports on the health effects of WiFi technology are now coming out on a weekly basis. These include links with tumours, behaviour disorder, anxiety, sleep disturbances and headaches.

Should consumers be taking precautions.

I don’t believe people should panic, given the jury is still very much out on a certain link between EMF and health problems, but I agree with Sir William Stewart’s report that it is sensible to take precautions.

That said, I think it is the industry rather than consumers who should be taking the lead as part of responsible risk management. There are enough indications, and enough sensible people saying so, of a possible problem for it to be increasingly inexcusable for any manufacturer or reseller of technologies that emit EMF radiation not to take action.

It is not difficult, we already have the technology at Exradia to cut out or minimise EMF radiation at low costs. The patented “My Wi-Guard” technology can be applied to any EMF-emitting device, from mobile phones and laptops, to an entire office.

By superimposing a randomised signal over the regular EMF signal emitted from a wireless device, the “My Wi-Guard” technology mimics the pattern emitted from any natural source and in doing so neutralises the negative reaction by the human body’s cells.

The World Health Organisation cited in 2006 that “Electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation is spreading.”

We believe that The Telecoms, Media, and Technology industries need to raise their Corporate Social Responsibility Standards to provide grandparents, parents and their children the benefit of unconstrained freedom with complete peace of mind when in the WiFi world.

Do you think the Panorama Episode is scaremongering?

I would not be in the business of developing products that cancel the biological effects of EMF from wireless devices if I did not think there was a problem. I welcome responsible programme makers like Panorama looking at this subject.

There has been a tendency to dismiss legitimate concerns in this area in the past because so much money rides on mobile and wireless technologies. This has often been achieved by attacking those who express them.

This has done much to dampen people’s willingness to talk publicly. It probably needed a broadcaster like Panorama to bring these things out into the open and force some proper, and respectful, dialogue.

Got an opinion on the Wi-Fi health debate? Post a comment below, or respond to our poll on the issue.

Stuart Dredge