Monday, November 5, 2007

SSC #43 Wireless Health Concerns

by Jeff Smith

    All day, every day, we are surrounded by and bombarded with radio waves.  More things emit radio waves than you can probably think. 
    Right now there is a lot of controversy surrounding WiFi (wireless internet) usage, and its associated health risks.
    In one camp, there are those who think that it can cause cancer, disrupt a good nights sleep, or just plain degrades general health.  In the other are all of the scientists who, so far, have found no evidence that it is harmful at all.
    Radio frequency waves are part of a larger spectrum of radiation that goes all the way from X-rays, which are definitely harmful, through the infrared spectrum, (thats infra-red to some of you, you know who you are) which is known to cause skins cancer, on down into the radio spectrum which is used for just about everything wireless these days.
    Believe it or not, whether you are a WiFi user or not, you're most likely being bathed in radio waves right now as you read this.  Wanna check?  Turn on the radio... if you hear music, thats radio waves at work.  Turn on the TV, do you get a station?  No? thats just because you live in Russell County.  But if you DO get a station, then that is also a sign of radio waves at work.   Here's a good one, look at your cell phone and see if you have any bars.  If you can call someone with it, again, thats radio frequency radiation. 
    Just because you turn off the radio, the TV, or switch off your phone doesn't mean they go away.  They're always there, unseen, waiting to be received.  The little keychain that you use to unlock your car? Radio waves.  The power lines to your house emit radio waves.  Your indoor cordless phone? Radio waves again.  Baby Monitor? Garage door opener? Satellite TV? CB radio?  Radio waves, radio waves radio waves!  Remote for the TV? Well, thats most likely infrared (infra-red) but thats worse than radio waves (skin cancer, remember?). 
    You get the picture.  If you are concerned about your WiFi, why don't these things bother you as well?
    The short and skinny is that there is no conclusive evidence that radio waves cause the sort of problems that people are claiming.  And theres a lot we don't know about it.  I'm not going to tell you that it is safe, because I can't.  We just don't know. 
    But even if you go out into the wilderness, with not a man-made device in sight, there are still radio waves coming down from from space... Apparently, ET wants to phone home.  Actually, spaceborne radiowaves are emitted from the stars themselves.  Or you can consider the brightest emitter of radio waves in the sky... the sun.
    There is a company that makes WiFi-resistant paint, that you can use to block radio waves from entering your house.  I've heard that it works, but I advise against using it unless you own your own home and you're absolutely sure that its WiFi thats causing you problems.  I'd be really mad to move in somewhere and find that previous tenants had slathered that stuff all over and that none of my gear would work.
    If you're interested, you can find this anti-WiFi paint at

Until next week, stay safe and try not to cook yourselves.



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