Calls grow for investigation into health effects of Wi-Fi


Calls grow for investigation into health effects of Wi-Fi

John-Paul Kamath

Trade union Amicus has supported calls for a government investigation into the potential health effects of using Wi-Fi networks in the workplace, but has warned about raising fears over the technology without reasonable evidence.

“We would support the calls for longer term investigation of any possible Wi-Fi risks in the workplace, so that any judgement can be based on sound evidence,” said Peter Skyte, national officer for Amicus.

But he said that addressing the concerns of using Wi-Fi must be measured.

The move follows calls by the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT), which is concerned about the number of wireless networks that are being installed in schools without any research of the possible long-term consequences.

A statement from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said its chairman, Sir William Stewart, was being pressed by lobbyists to condemn Wi-Fi but was unprepared to do so.

The statement said that Wi-Fi devices are of very low power, much lower than mobile phones, and that the HPA and Stewart have always pressed for more research into these new technologies.

Kenneth Foster, professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, conducted a study of more than 300 different measurements at more than 50 sites in four countries of Wi-Fi signals in different environments.

“In all cases the signal levels were very far below international safety limits and 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 RF energy at levels below these international guidelines,” he said.

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