Government to study Wi-Fi health risks

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

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.

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.


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