This is part of a longer article covering all aspects of electrical sensitivity to be found in ES - Miscellaneous
Wi-fi and bluetooth
Wireless internet connection devices which utilise microwave technology are now widespread. The range of many of the current wireless local area network (WLAN) devices – commonly known as WI-Fi – typically extends far beyond the buildings where they are located, spreading continuous radiation into the homes of neighbours in every direction.
For more on Wi-Fi and health, see the Powerwatch and Townsend Letter sites.
There is now an alternative, microwave-free technology for internet connection and computer networking within the home or office. Called direct local area network (dLAN), it utilizes the domestic ring main wiring to allow users to access the internet and other networked computers within the same building by plugging an adapter into any convenient socket outlet.
dLAN provides a similar level of flexibility to Wi-Fi, at a comparable price, it is not adversely affected by distance or heavy walls, as Wi-Fi can be, and it is not accessible to
hackers. dLAN systems are also easier to set up than Wi-Fi.
dLAN units are available from a number of sources, including Home Plugs and Dixons.
Bluetooth, a similar technology to Wi-Fi, uses microwaves to transfer information between electronic devices such as phones, printers, computers and headsets in relatively close proximity to one another. But, while it uses the same frequency range as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth generally uses less power, so the risks involved are more comparable with those of mobile phones than with Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices which are built into computers may be switched on by default, so users need to ensure that they are off, in order to avoid being inadvertently irradiated while using their computer.
Wi-fi in schools
Wi-Fi has become the standard internet connection method in British schools, and most establishments now bathe their pupils and staff in microwave radiation throughout the entire school day.
Grave concerns have been expressed about this situation by those who understand the implications, and a few establishments have removed their wireless networks after lobbying by parents, and when pupils or teachers have become ill as a result of Wi-Fi activity.
A re-think on this issue is urgently needed, but the Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families is currently following the advice of the Health Protection Agency, which does not consider that any risk exists.
Lists of those schools which use, and those which do not use Wi-FI, are being assembled.
A mast by any other name...
The domestic Wi-Fi system now has a big brother, in the form of the much more powerful WiMAX, installations of which are springing up in town and city centres, airports, railway stations, shopping centres, universities and colleges, with the aim of providing people with universal access to the internet.
Whereas the range of
domestic Wi-Fi base stations is measured in hundreds of
metres, WIMAX bases have ranges of up to 10 miles. However, you are unlikely to have seen one, because they are often contained inside burglar alarm-like boxes placed high on walls and lampposts, or hidden inside chimneys and ceiling cavities.
Apart from WIMAX equipment, the main source of microwave radiation from outside the home is mobile telephone base stations, which, like WiMAX bases, are not always in the form of actual masts, and can be effectively hidden inside buildings, such as church steeples, so the absence of any obvious structure in your area does not mean that there is not a 'mast' near you.
You can check your locality for the presence of mobile telephone (but not WiMAX) base stations at Ofcom's Sitefinder website, although it is neither up to date nor comprehensive – http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/. The use
of an Electrosmog Detector will also reveal their microwave
(For more about the health effects of mast transmissions and related research)
If the use of an Electro-
smog Detector indicates
that external microwave
radiation is a problem in
a particular home,
shielding materials are
available to reduce exposure. Special wall paint, and fabrics for use as curtaining, can be
obtained from EMFields (www.emfields.org) where you can also find more information on shielding and related topics. Still further advice and additional shielding products are available from the US EMF Safety Superstore.
The most important area to protect is where you sleep, and the mosquito net-style protective bed canopies sold by EMFields are a convenient way to achieve this.
There are also devices which claim to provide individuals with additional personal protection by countering the biological effects of microwaves. The Healthy House offers a range of such protection devices.
2 Tower Road, Sutton CB6 2QA
The Healthy House
The Old Co-op, Lower Street, Ruscombe GL6 6BU
0845 450 5950 / 01453 752216
The US EMF Safety Superstore (carries a huge range of protection options) www.lessemf.com
www.es-uk.info and www.electrosensitivity.org (support for electro-sensitives)
www.detect-protect.com (A-COM Electrosmog Detector)
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First Published in 2008 updated 2010
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