May 19, 2009
| by Jason Knott
Is Wi-Fi dangerous to your health? At this point, the jury is still out on that debate, but are the risks so great that you are unwilling to have a wireless local area network (WLAN) deployed in your home? I don’t think so.
The debate got more heated last month when a major teachers’ union in Britain called for a full-scale government study addressing the possible health risks of Wi-Fi due to the increasing pervasiveness of the technology. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is calling for the elimination of Wi-Fi networks in schools until it is proven to not cause a threat to children’s health. Wi-Fi networks are currently in half of all Britain’s elementary schools and 75 percent of secondary schools, according to an article in the Walsall Advertiser.
Human exposure to low-level radiation has been a topic of debate for quite awhile, led by the opponents of cell phones.
The radiation risks from Wi-Fi, like many low-voltage systems, are still unknown. Critics say that Wi-Fi, which uses the 2.4 GHz frequency just like cordless phones, sends out three times the radiation as a phone tower. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) says there are no long-term effects from being exposed to low-level radiation. In the past, the FCC has noted that long-term exposure from low levels of radiation to a particular area of human tissue (like a part of the head from a cell phone) can pose risks, but nothing specific to Wi-Fi is documented.
So if you are self installing a wireless access point… what should you do? Should you be installing a WAP near a baby’s crib, in your child’s bedroom or above the dining room table? Are the risks any greater than the low-level radiation from a TV or microwave? It’s a decision you need to make on your own, but it is something to be aware of during the design of your home network.
If you’re really worried about it, hardwire!