The debate on whether Wi-Fi is bad for your kids’ health is still thrumming in advance of tonight’s episode of Panorama investigating the issue. I’ve had my say on how worrying it is for consumers, and we’ve heard from Exradia’s Jim Lawler, who thinks the industry should be leading the way in addressing Wi-Fi fears.
Now here’s three academic experts, whose responses – disclosure alert – were sent to me by the Wi-Fi Alliance. That’s not to say they’re banging a drum for Wi-Fi though – my impression is that while they’re all saying the risks are non-existent or minimal, two of them stress the need for more research, while one re-iterates a warning about children using Wi-Fi laptops.
Click below to see what they have to say, and don’t forget to take our poll on the issue to give your views.
Dr James Rubin, Lecturer, Mobile Phones Research Unit, King’s College London
“People with electrosensitivity experience real, physical symptoms that can be severe and are sometimes disabling. There have now been 36 experiments which have tested whether such people can tell the difference between real and fake (placebo) electromagnetic fields under double-blind conditions.
Although people do experience symptoms in these studies, these tend to happen just as often in the fake conditions as in the real conditions. This suggests that it is probably not electromagnetic fields that are responsible for their symptoms, although there is still room for more work to be done in this area.”
Professor Malcolm Sperrin, Director Of Medical Physics And Clinical Engineering, Royal Berkshire Hospital
“Wi-Fi is a technique using very low intensity radio waves. Whilst similar in wavelength to domestic microwave radiation the intensity of Wi-Fi radiation is only a few 10s of mW as opposed to hundreds of Watts in the domestic case, which is up to 100 000 times less.
Furthermore, tissue can only be effectively heated by a wavelength that is closely matched to the absorption and there are strict guidelines for ensuring such absorption peaks are avoided. Some people suspect a non-thermal interaction but there is no evidence to suggest that this exists and indeed it is unlikely.
Radio waves and other non-ionising radiations have been part of our lives for a century or more and if such effects were occurring then damage or other untoward effects would have been recorded and studied. Research is still proceeding in this area at leading centres in many countries but evidence points to Wi -Fi transmissions being well below any likely threshold for human effects.”
Professor Lawrie Challis, Emeritus Professor Of Physics, Nottingham University and Chairman of the Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MHTR) Programme Management Committee
“Wi fi exposures are usually very small and seem unlikely to pose any risk to health – the transmitters are low power and some distance from the body.
They can be near to the body however when a laptop is on one’s lap and my own view is that just as we encourage young children not to use mobile phones we should also encourage them to use their laptops on a table rather than their lap if they are going online for a long time”.