Re: Experts warn about wifi in public
Free wireless Internet plan remains in limbo
Here is the unedited version of the letter I sent to the Vancouver
Courier a couple of weeks ago. It was edited very heavily - I find the
points that are the most damning to the industry are usually the ones
that get deleted. I know this is often for space - my frustration is
that the public misses out on so much of the information they should
have access to.
To the Editor:
Re: Free wireless Internet plan remains in limbo, April 10
I am astounded that our city councilors are still trying to find a way
to roll out Wi-Fi in pubic buildings without considering the emerging
body of science that is saying that Wi-Fi represents a considerable
I have heard those in favour of pubic Wi-Fi cite the World Health
Organization (WHO) and Health Canada (who bases their radiation safety
guidelines on the WHO’s guidelines) and as two public bodies that say
Wi-Fi is safe and falls within their safety guidelines. In reality, Wi-
Fi does fall within these guidelines, however there are the following
important points to consider:
Health Canada’s Safety Code Six is based on thermal guidelines. It
allows human tissue to increase in temperature by one degree Celsius
over a six minute period when exposed to microwave radiation. All the
deleterious health effects from microwave radiation that are
documented in current peer reviewed research occur at levels thousands
of times lower than Safety Code Six. Some of these health effects
include headaches, dizziness, cognitive difficulties, sleep
disturbances and unexplained anxiety. At a biological level, leakage
in the blood-brain barrier, DNA breakage, and disruption in
intracellular communication have all been documented.
If you watch the BBC Panorama episode “Wi-Fi: A Warning Signal” at
, you will hear Sir William Stewart, U.K.'s top
scientist and former science adviser to Margaret Thatcher and Tony
Blair saying the WHO is wrong about safe levels of non-ionizing
radiation and that the whole basis of their safety limits are
inadequate to protect the population, especially our children.
Ditto for the German government, who in 2007 warned all citizens not
to use Wi-Fi. Then there are Doctors Gerd Oberfeld and Henry Lai, who
are world renowned for their research into electromagnetic radiation
and biological effects - they both said they would pull their children
out of any school that had Wi-Fi. Professor Olle Johansson of the
world renowned Karolinska institute in Sweden, has found biological
effects at radiation levels lower than those associated with Wi-Fi.
In 2002, following research on wireless radiation in the ‘90’s, the
global insurance industry pulled liability coverage for the health
effects from wireless technology. Given that insurance companies
quantify risks and then associate a dollar value on that risk, this
represents a huge liability issue for cities, school boards and anyone
who rolls out wireless technologies – they are virtually uninsured.
Last December, in an effort to improve traffic flow for buses by
wirelessly controlling traffic signals, Translink rolled out a Wi-Fi
network along Main Street from 57th Avenue all the way downtown, with
no public consultation or transparency. This Wi-Fi network subjects
all residents and businesses along Main street to radiation without
their awareness or consent. Now there is serious talk of putting Wi-Fi
into all community centres in Vancouver, which will expose our
children, the employees and the general public - all the while schools
all over Europe are pulling out Wi-Fi based on the aforementioned
warnings. Lakehead university in Thunder Bay has held off on
implementing campus-wide Wi-Fi for the same reasons.
City council and the city of Vancouver must take a step back and look
at independent the body of research that is clearly saying we may have
a huge public health problem in the future. For the sake of our
children and all our citizens, the City of Vancouver must apply the
Precautionary Principle, and hold off on implementing this technology.
Anything less would be irresponsible.