One more crazy, tinfoil hat health concern has popped up, and with any luck, it’ll be shattered before it gets any steam.
UK scientists have announced that there isn’t any research to show that there’s more danger from having a Wifi router in your home than from having a television-and no, that doesn’t mean that televisions are radioactive. It means that we’re safe from any boogy men hiding in our cable modems and laptop cards.
The controversy over Wifi has been raging for a while, pretty simply because people don’t understand how the technology works and, as such, are extremely afraid of it. They concocted theories with no basis in scientific fact whatsoever claiming that WiFi was somehow going to give us all cancer, because, as everyone knows, energy moving throughout the air has that magical ability. That’s why cell phones are so dangerous (they’re not, by the way).
The United Kingdom and Canada went really nuts when the theories were proposed. Some schools even pulled their wireless networks over fears of Wi-Fi badness. They claimed that the effects of WiFi usage couldn’t be seen yet, but, like second hand smoke, they were there (the jury’s still out on the health effects of second hand smoke, by the way, though everyone can admit that it’s annoying and concerns over smoke are far more valid, given that it’s an actual carcinogen and definitely not healthy).
There’s some pretty simple science to allay any fears you might have; WiFi energy emissions are much lower than a cell phone or TV, and any concerns in that respect are simply not valid. WiFi doesn’t consist of laser beams shooting across your house; it operates in a controlled manner that’s actually pretty weak compared to most household technology.
It’s not unnatural that people would be wary of something that basically transmits massive quantities of information across the air, or that they’d associate large amounts of information with large amounts of power and therefore danger, but there’s no risk of cancer or anything else from WiFi.
Some people in the UK are even starting to claim that they’ve had physical problems from WiFi, despite the fact that there’s no science to back up that such problems would even be possible. Nevertheless, the complaints lodge in the public memory as valid points, and they’re putting fuel on the irrational fire of WiFi hating.
Glenn Fleishman, a Wi-Fi expert, recommends a double blind study to see if people are really being affected by WiFi in a negative way. Nobody’s really doing that, though; it’d be easy enough, but fear mongering is always a bit easier than actually doing some sort of quantitative research.
Therefore, despite the evidence that WiFi isn’t any more harmful than a microwave, you’re probably going to hear health concerns sprout up for quite a while about routers and other WiFi devices. Just remember; if you believe that stuff, you’ll believe anything.
Anything you don’t quite understand, that is.