Health alert?

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Wifi computer access may not be safe

By Sue Wright

I was very surprised to read in The Argus (3 March 2007) that the new eco flagship Jubilee Library has installed DECT (digital cordless) phones on every floor. People seem not to realise that the base unit of these phones emits microwave radiation all the time whether or not one is on a call. The levels will be higher than from a nearby phone mast. Both DECT and Wifi use the same technology as mobile phone masts.

It is for this reason that the German Health Protection Agency issued a warning on DECT phones last year.

I was also disappointed to read that East Grinstead library are trialling Wifi computer access.

Before these trials are put in place, those in charge should review the health implications for the librarians and users.

There is evidence coming to light that these systems are less than safe. Wifi uses the same technology as mobile phone masts. The frequency is the same as used in a microwave oven. The intensity inside the library will be the same or higher than from a phone mast outside.

The Times recently covered the fact that schools which are also installing Wifi are having to dismantle it at the request of parents and teachers who experience serious adverse health effects.

Librarians in the USA are resigning over this issue. The Salzburg public health department warns not to put Wifi in schools and nurseries.

There is a lot of research into the effects and many people are made ill from exposure to the radiation emitted by these systems, as highlighted on the Richard and Judy show recently.

It is possible to cable in computers for internet access. Wifi is not necessary.

[Previously printed in the 'North Laine Runner', No 185, March/April 2007]

This page was added on 25/02/2008.

I feel that the above views by Sue Wright regarding the use of DECT telephone technology in the Jubilee Library are misleading.

While DECT and WiFi devices both use microwaves to transmit information, the amount of actual power emitted by such devices is very small. DECT phones emit 10 milliwatts of power during a call on average. WiFi equipment is limited by law to 100 milliwatts, or 0.1 watts. Imagine how bright a lightbulb would be if it emitted one tenth of a watt!

Mobile phones can emit up to 3.6 watts at peak power, such as when making a call in an area with poor reception. In other words, mobile phones are 36 times more powerful than WiFi and 360 times more powerful than DECT phones. Mobile phone masts can emit up to 100 watts of power, but in use emit on average only 3 watts.

For comparison, outdoors on a sunny day in Brighton you will be exposed to about 65 watts of UV radiation from the sun, which is proven to cause cancer. UV radiation is much more dangerous than microwave radiation because it can damage the DNA in your cells, which microwaves cannot do.

So, if you want to be safe, go inside the Library and read a book!

[Previously printed in the 'North Laine Runner', No 186, May/June 2007]

By Rupert Hodgkins, North Laine resident
On 25/02/2008

I was appalled to see the news as reported in the local press about the planned blanket Wifi coverage in Brighton!

Wifi systems use microwaves at a 2.4 GHz frequency (exactly the same as microwave ovens). There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that long-term low level exposure to microwaves causes cell damage in humans, animals and plants, leading to a wide range of illnesses.

The health effects range from tinnitus, lack of concentration and insomnia to leakage of the blood brain barrier, spikes of high blood pressure and heart palpitations in the short term to the development of cancer in the long term. More and more people are also developing electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) as a result of being exposed to low level microwaves from mobile transmitters and other wireless applications.

The government currently advises GPs not to recognise this condition. However in Sweden, where it is recognised and statistical data exist, the official estimate is that already 3% of the entire population suffer from this condition. This number is expected to rise as more people become permanently exposed.

Just as with passive smoking, people will no longer be able to protect themselves from unwanted microwave exposure in a city with blanket Wifi coverage. It is the duty of the government and local authority to protect its citizens' health and safety by allowing them to have the choice not to be exposed. I urge the City Council to review this decision and adopt a precautionary approach to this issue.

[Previously printed in the 'North Laine Runner', No 186, May/June 2007]

By Andrea Klein
On 25/02/2008

I am responding to Andrea Klein's contribution above. She claims there is overwhelming evidence that long-term low level exposure to microwaves is harmful but gives no references with which we can educate ourselves. This is because the evidence she is referring to does not exist.

Electro-hypersensitivity is not an accepted medical diagnosis in the UK or anywhere else. The condition is being championed by its Swedish discoverer, Professor Olle Johansson, a dermatologist from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Prof Johansson was previously awarded with the "Misleader of the Year Award" by the Swedish Sketics group for "presenting unsubstantiated hypotheses as established facts". He has claimed in the past that BSE, or mad cow disease, is caused by radio waves, without providing any supporting evidence.

If, as a precautionary measure in the absence of hard evidence, we agree that radiation exposure should be kept to an absolute minimum, then blanket WiFi coverage is a means of achieving this. Extensive WiFi coverage would make traditional mobile masts redundant in urban areas, and therefore reduce the total environmental levels of microwave radiation, thanks to the relatively low power emissions of WiFi equipment compared to standard mobile telephones.

[Previously printed in the 'North Laine Runner', No 187, July/August 2007]

By Rupert Hodgkins, North Laine resident
On 06/03/2008

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