Recently a documentary entitled ‘Wi-fried’ was aired on Australian television. The makers were looking for an answer to the question of whether radiation from wireless equipment can negatively affect your health. During the film, several medical experts gave their opinions. They stated that although wireless technology offers enormous advantages to society – it is very important that it be used carefully, and certainly in places where children are present.
Highest radiation levels ever
Both in the modern home and at school, there is an accumulation of radiation sources: wireless internet, mobile telephones, tablets and laptops. Children are hereby being exposed to the highest radiation levels in human history. Levels that can reach 10.000.000.000.000.000.000 (that’s 10 to the 18th power!) times the normal background level that is naturally present on Earth. The effects of this artificially-generated radiation, especially in the long-term, are still unknown. In 2011 the radio emissions from mobile telephones were classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘potentially cancer-inducing’. There was also a link made to DNA damage and possible negative effects on the quality of sperm.
Children absorb more radiation
Professor Devra Davis is internationally recognised due to her work in the field of epidemiologic healthcare and sickness prevention. In the documentary Davis says: “Children are growing up in a sea of radiation issuing from wireless devices. This equipment has been tested for its effects on full-grown adult males and not on developing children. A child’s skull is thinner and the young brain contains more liquid. So a child will absorb more radiation than an adult.”
Davis advises parents to be very careful with devices that emit radiation. “It is important to limit the risks and that can be done by keeping a distance. Distance is your friend: exposure to radiation is reduced exponentially by the physical distance from a wirelessly-communicating apparatus like a mobile, tablet or baby phone. If you, as a parent, still want to give your child a Smartphone or tablet to play games on – then make sure that it is on ‘airplane mode’ and that no wireless communication is possible.”
Worries about wireless internet at school
Davis: “We are living in a digital society. In schools, as well, continually more use is being made of wirelessly communicating devices such as laptops and tablets. It is important that children learn at school how to use the internet and access sources of information. It’s true – more and more parents are expressing their concerns about the exposure of their children to the radiation from wireless internet at school. The Israeli authorities recommend the use of wired connections in schools and, in France, Wi-Fi is forbidden in crèches and child-care centres.”
As opposed to mobile phones, which can be turned off, the radiation from a Wi-Fi router is continually present – most wireless routers just don’t have an on/off switch. In the documentary a school is shown where the wireless internet in the classroom is turned off when not being used. Davis: “Wi-Fi-routers are programmed to be active24/7 which is completely unnecessary. The placement of routers is also very important, at home as well: do not put a router in a bedroom – install it preferably inside a cupboard, as far away as possible from places where people spend a lot of time. Turn off devices that transmit radiation when they are not in use, especially at night. And don’t keep a wireless telephone handset next to your bed.”
A brain surgeon who is conscious of radiation
In the documentary, the leading Australian brain surgeon Charlie Teo also expresses his views. As a father he is consciously aware of radiation. “My children didn’t get their own mobile phone until they were older, certainly not before they finished primary school. I have told them not to hold the phone close to their head but to use the speaker setting or a headset for conversations. And when they go to bed that the mobile mustn’t be near the bed and definitely not under the pillow.”