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Blanket Wi-Fi coverage comes with risks
Canada Created: 19 Nov 2010
Surely government safety regulations are protecting us from the effects of microwave radiation - So I thought. Several years of research have shaken that assurance.

One view, even among many public health advisors, is that the levels of radiation from wireless networks are low and do not cause concern.

Open to another opinion? Studies show evidence of harmful biological effects, at government-allowed “low levels,” including damage to DNA (Lai, Singh, Philips); leakage of the protective blood brain barrier (Salford, Persson); suppression of the immune system (Johansson, Namamura) and increased cancer risks (Hardell).

Scientists have also found that the closer people live to cell tower antennas, the higher their incidence of leukemia (Michelozzi 2001, 2002, Hocking et al 1996, among others).

So one wonders how local and federal officials can be so certain that there is no problem and continue to assure us that “there is no credible evidence....”

Dr. Martin Blank, a biophysicist and cellular physiologist and associate professor at Columbia University, is one of the leading scientists in this field and happens to have a place in Victoria.

He commented, “Yes, the radiation levels are very low. However, in our research we have found evidence that these levels cause significant damage to living cells. Our research has shown that this radiation reacts with DNA, and activates protective cellular processes.”

Dr. Lai’s work on DNA damage shows similar findings.

Blank’s concern isn’t the “not in my backyard” reaction; he lectures at scientific conferences around the world and was one of the authors of the BioInitiative Report, written by an international team calling for regulations to be brought in line with the science.

Wireless radiation from cellphones is also a concern. Prof. Hardell, a Swedish oncologist who has been studying this issue for years, reported, “People who started mobile phone use before age 20 had a more than five-fold increase in glioma, a form of brain cancer.”

He said young people are more at risk because their brains and nervous systems are still developing. And as their heads are smaller and their skulls thinner, the radiation penetrates deeper into their brains.

The Interphone study examined possible connections between cellphone radiation exposure and the incidence of brain cancer. It reported that the risk increased by 40 per cent with cellphone usage of 30 minutes a day, over 10 years.

Cardiologist Stephen Sinatra reports that cardiac symptoms, including arrhythmia and tachycardia, can be related to wireless radiation exposure and calls this “the greatest medical threat of our time.”

Cardiac effects could occur in any age group. How? Sinatra explains, “the heart is electrical in nature so it is vulnerable to electro-magnetic fields that can affect the rate and rhythm.”

No one is claiming scientific certainty. There is, however, enough statistically significant evidence, especially with young people, to warrant caution.

This evidence jolted me into action to reduce my family’s radiation exposure. I replaced our wireless router with a hard-wired, Ethernet cable, use our cellphone only briefly for urgent calls and replaced cordless phones with corded land lines. I wrote a book to alert others.

Fibre optics is highly recommended as the safe (and more secure) solution for wireless systems. The City of Victoria was using fibre optics for some of its communications.

This could be extended to really put Victoria on the map.

Perhaps we could rethink covering Victoria with Wi-Fi and follow the lead of many European cities that are removing this radiation exposure from public spaces including libraries and schools.

The precautionary principle may turn out to be the wisest innovation.
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Source: BC Local News, Kerry Crofton, 09 Nov 2010

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