Is Wi-Fi Dangerous to your Health and Well-Being?
We’re linked to our ipads, playbooks and laptops and other tech devices. We connect through Wi-Fi as we sip our coffee, enjoy our meal, shop or wait to catch a flight. But is Wi-Fi dangerous to our health and well-being?
First of all, what is Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi technology enables the wireless transmission of data along the virtual super highway. Cell phones are another, and the most common form of wireless technology. Like cell phones, Wi-Fi equipment emits radio frequencies.
Does Wi-Fi emit radiation?
Wi-Fi does give off radiation, but unlike X-ray machines, it cannot break chemical bonds. That is, while some of the energy emitted by Wi-Fi is absorbed into your body, the amount depends on how close your body is to a Wi-Fi enabled device and the strength of the signal.
Unlike cellular phones, where the transmitter is close to the head and, therefore absorbed in a localized area, energy from Wi-Fi devices is typically transmitted at a much greater distance from the human body. This results in very low average energy absorption levels in all parts of the body, similar to AM/FM radio signals exposure.
Is there evidence that Wi-Fi is harmful?
1. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)suggested that Wi-Fi energy can be “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. However, there is limited research to refute or support that Wi-Fi energy might be a risk factor for cancer. For now, Health Canada, the World Health Organization, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and the UK Health Protection Agency conclude that energy emissions from Wi-Fi devices are not harmful. Health Canada requires that all Wi-Fi equipment for use by the general public meet its safety guidelines. Such guidelines are reviewed every five years.
2. In response to a study conducted by the Ontario English Catholic Teacher’s Association (OECTA), the Office for Minister of Education, Laurel Barton, made the following statement to Global News, “…there is no evidence to show that the use of WiFi is linked to adverse health effects, including in school children”. The study by OECTA suggests that “at least 3 percent of the population has an environmental sensitivity to the radiation that is emitted by these devices and, as a result, experience serious immediate physical/biological effects when exposed.”
3. There has also been speculation that Wi-Fi radiation harms trees. A Dutch study suggests that trees in the area of Alphen aan den Rijn exhibited inexplicable abnormalities, such as bleeding and fissures on their bark. No bacteria or virus was linked to these symptoms, leading the researchers to conclude that wireless technology may be the culprit. However, the researchers agreed that more research is necessary. (Source: http://www.switched.com/2010/11/22/wi-fi- radiation-harms-trees-study-says/)
At this point in time, there is no concluding evidence about the harmful health impacts of Wi-Fi energy.
What can we do to minimize our risk?
A few simple actions can be considered in our day-to-day use of Wi-Fi devices:
1. Ask questions about your Wi-Fi enabled devices;
2. Operate them in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions;
3. Try to limit their use by not being connected 24/7; and
4. Unplug equipment when not in use.