Government to study Wi-Fi health risks

Government to study Wi-Fi health risks

Summary: Following last year's schools scare, the Health Protection Agency is to research the potential health effects of Wi-Fi energy emissions

TOPICS: Networking

The Health Protection Agency has announced a research programme into the possible health implications of Wi-Fi technology.

Although no evidence has been found of any harmful effects from Wi-Fi exposure, concerns have been raised over the possibility of such effects — particularly as regards the use of Wi-Fi in schools.

"There is no scientific evidence to date that Wi-Fi and WLANs adversely affect the health of the general population," said Professor Pat Troop, chief executive of the government-established Health Protection Agency (HPA), on Friday. "The signals are very low power, typically 0.1 watt in both the computer and the router, and the results so far show exposures are well within [International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation] guidelines. Given this, there is no particular reason why schools and others should not continue to use Wi-Fi or other wireless networks."

"However, there has not been extensive research into what people's exposures actually are to this new technology and that is why we are initiating this new programme of research and analyses," Troop said. "We have good scientific reasons to expect the results to be reassuring and we will publish our findings."

The HPA is undertaking the research programme because of the diversity of Wi-Fi equipment and the numerous ways in which it can be used. These factors have made it difficult to make exact measurements of energy emissions, the HPA said.

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The results of the study will be peer-reviewed and will form the basis for a wider study into the effects of radio signals on health.

Some individuals have also been concerned over GSM and 3G radio waves. All research to date in that field has suggested no ill effects in the short term, although long-term effects remain unknown.

Topic: Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • This is beyond pointless

    This is beyond pointless - who decided that this study was worth spending money on - this is nothing but baseless techno-fear - the government may as well spend the money setting up The Men in Black for real to protect us against the nameless alien hordes from the planet Zephod 10 come to steal our brains...actually maybe they are here already and have infiltrated the Health Protection Agency - help, help the aliens are coming!!!! Save us!
    Andrew Donoghue
  • Its unstoppable

    The demand for this technology is already out there and being implemented, this is no longer something we would like but something we need we are running out of ways to send data how can technology wait whilst a goverment survey is conducted.
  • Studies motivated by fear of magic

    These studies wouldn't be though enough anyway unless prolonged exposure over many years were to be conducted and technology can't wait.

    We already know that living next to power lines greatly increases the risk of cancer but you don't see us ranting on about removing electricity from schools do you?

    Some walkie talkies that are legal in america output over 1watt of power and you hold the damn thing to your head.

    It's the mobile phone causing damage saga all over again. While I agree some of the early mobiles espcially the small ones like the Nokia 8810 gave off shocking amount of whatever it is that caused speakers to pop and headaches but the handsets overall proved to have little or no effect and less so now.

    My only fear is that nothing is researched and in a rush to get Draft N finalised an seriously dangerous wi-fi device is manufactured in laptops and we won't discover it until half the population is sterile.

    However, the reasoning behind much of this research seems to be - "if it seems to work like magic then it is probably killing us" rather than based on any evidence or examples. Do you know how many radio waves, tv signals, satellite scans, mobile phone tower transmissions and infra red beams the average city dweller walks through every day? Adding Wi-fi to this doesn't sound like it will make a difference.