Wireless computer networks (WLAN) and other microwave emitting devices.
Although people are aware of the controversy surrounding phone masts, fewer
people are aware that the same problems will occur with any microwave emitting
device. Such devices include wireless computers, WLAN, WiFi, WIMAX, burglar
alarms with microwave detectors, wireless interactive whiteboards, DECT (digital
cordless) phones, cordless digital baby monitors etc.
Radiation is continuously emitted from these devices in the same way that it
is emitted from a mobile phone mast. It appears to cause damage to the immune
system leading to cancer and all sorts of other diseases including short term
effects of hyperactivity, concentration difficulties, headaches, nose bleeds and
There is a huge drive by OFSTED to put computers in every classroom and integrate them
into all lessons:
"Almost all schools are now connected to the internet with the proportion
with broadband connections having risen from 68% in 2002 to 90%. Many schools
have benefited from more flexible deployment of resources, for example through
the use of laptops wirelessly linked to school networks and clusters of machines
in various curriculum areas around the school. This has enabled more use of ICT
to take place in other subjects across the curriculum."
If you are concerned with this approach, sign the government petition to introduce legislation to require all UK
schools to remove Wi-Fi installations and replace them with wired alternatives.
With the U.K Department for Eductation encouraging school's to provide
computers for students use, many schools are finding that wireless network
connections are a cost effective and in some cases the only solution to
providing computer data points.
There is now an excellent site
created recently that is dedicated to looking at the scientifically supported
reasons that rolling WiFi out in schools is premature, and may be a very unwise
Although not specifically mentioned in the UK government's Stewart Report,
Stewart warned against masts being near schools. In January 2005 in an interview
with the Daily Telegraph Sir William said that he is 'now more worried than he
was 5 years ago' and that he 'did not want to see masts near schools'.
- The Public Health Dept of Salzburg has specifically warned that WLAN and
DECT (digital cordless phone) should not be put in schools and nurseries.
- The German doctors appeal, the Bamburger appeal also now includes a
warning about WLAN.
- The German equivalent of the HPA have just put out a soft warning on
- The German teachers union has told its members to resist the roll out of
WLAN into schools in Germany on safety grounds.
- Lakehead University in Canada has decided not to put in wireless
computers as the technology they use has never been tested and so not proved
to be safe.
- The Vienna Chamber of Doctors has warned that WLAN emits high levels of
Although generally EMF levels for wireless LAN devices are lower than
mobile phones, there seems to exist less public awareness of the health issues
for wireless LAN devices than there is for mobile phones. Wireless LANs work by
setting up microwave communication, in narrow frequency bands around 2.4 and 5.8
GHz, depending on the protocol that is used (WiFi, WiMax, OFDM, etc). The system
is comprised of a base station (called access point, or AP) which
establishes point-to-multipoint communication with a number of subscriber
units or SUs, to which client computers are connected. Both devices are
bidirectional and have antennas that emit at a certain RF power. Thus in effect
all the computers connected to the wireless network and the wireless base
station are a mini 'mast'.
There have already been schools across the U.K affected by this issue:
- Prebendal School, Chichester, West Sussex has removed its wireless
network after lobbying by concerned parents.
- Ysgol Pantycelyn, in Carmarthenshire, Wales. Has switched of its
wireless network due to parents and governors concerns.
- Stowe School, a Buckinghamshire private boarding school, removed part of
its wireless network after a teacher became ill.
We are calling for a re-think of the current trend to adopt wireless networks
and devices over traditional wired ones until further research is made available
on its potential health affects. We would urge all wireless computer owners
whether in schools, offices, homes etc. to reconsider or limit usage especially