Feature

Wi-Fi linked to childhood autism

A study published this week in the Australasian Journal of Clinical Environmental Medicine warns that wireless communication technology may be responsible for accelerating the rise in autism among children.

Autism is a disabling neuro-developmental disorder. Its cause is not completely understood, but it is linked to heavy-metal toxicity.

Dr George Carlo, an expert on the dangers of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), who headed the world's largest research program on mobile phone health hazards in the 1990s, revealed the autism-wireless technology connection following a series of tests on autistic children monitored during 2005 and 2006.

Dr Carlo said, "These findings tie in with other studies showing adverse cell-membrane responses and disruptions of normal cell physiology. The electromagnetic radiation apparently causes the metals to be trapped in cells, slowing clearance and accelerating the onset of symptoms."

The authors says that the rise in cases of autism is paralleled by the huge growth in mobile phone and Wi-Fi usage since the late 1990s with worldwide wireless usage now having reached nearly 4 billion people.

But Dr Kenneth Foster, of the engineering department at Penn University, had conducted a survey of more than 300 different measurements at more than 50 sites in four countries (US, France, Germany, Sweden) of Wi-Fi signals in different environments and found them to be safe.

"In all cases the signal levels were very far below international safety limits. Health agencies such as the World Health Organisation have repeatedly examined the scientific evidence and concluded that there is no convincing evidence for hazard from radiofrequency energy at levels below these international guidelines," said Foster.





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This was first published in November 2007

 

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