Don’t worry, I am not asking you to put your tinfoil hats on, but bear with me as I do this mental exercise.
We are seeing the rise of chronic illnesses in America, and we are all reasonably concerned. It is especially concerning when young children and teenagers are being diagnosed with serious chronic illnesses. We can all agree this is not normal.
We can also agree that this is a relatively recent phenomenon, as many of these illnesses were not common among young otherwise healthy individuals just 20, 50, or 60 years ago. It’s likely that they are caused by something we (we = humanity) introduced into our environment recently.
The next logical step is to look at the things we introduced into our environment in the last century, and to question their safety. This is why so many people question GMOs – could it be the genetically modified foods that are causing obesity, ADHD, cancers and allergies? Could it be one or some of the ingredients found in vaccines that could be causing these chronic diseases? Could it be the air pollution from modern industries and never-ending traffic? Could it be the chemicals that are sprayed onto our crops and fed to our cattle? Could it be the processed food and synthetic additives like High-Fructose Corn Syrup that are to blame?
More likely than not, it’s the combination of these environmental factors. But one thing I rarely see questioned is Wi-Fi. Could Wi-Fi, or rather, its electromagnetic fields, be another factor contributing to the rise of chronic diseases? Shouldn’t we be questioning its safety and trying to educate ourselves on the topic? Could corporations be profiting from Wi-Fi technologies, and not be incentivized to do proper safety studies?
Wi-Fi is a Relatively Recent Development
Before Wi-Fi was introduced in 1997, very few households were filled with electromagnetic frequency of 2.4 GHz. Sure, they had microwaves, but those were at least designed to have an aluminum casing that prevents the radio-waves from actually escaping and hurting you. And yes, they had radio for more than a century, but radio is on a different, lower frequency than Wi-Fi.
Today, we have more mobile devices than there are people on Earth. In America, 94% cite Wi-Fi as their most important amenity. Overall, 61% of U.S. households now have Wi-Fi. Even if you don’t have Wi-Fi, chances are – your neighbor does, and you’re exposed to the electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on a daily basis. I can’t blame you – Wi-Fi is convenient and pretty much necessary in 2015. Hell, they don’t even make laptops that connect to hard line Ethernet cables anymore!
What Exactly is Wi-Fi?
It’s an invisible force that connects us to the interwebz!!!… but really, it’s made of invisible wavelengths that help connect devices and share data between them without the need for physical wires.
Take a look at the image above – the visible spectrum is just a small line on the vast spectrum of different electromagnetic waves found in nature. Wavelengths shorter than visible light (on the left of the spectrum) are known as Gamma Rays, X rays and UV light. Because they have shorter wavelengths, they have higher frequencies, and carry more energy. Basically, shorter wavelengths are strongest. They penetrate deeply through the tissues of living organisms, are a known hazard to humans and increase our risk of cancer.
Wavelengths longer than visible light (to the right of the visible spectrum) have less frequency, and are weaker. Many modern inventions utilize shorter wavelengths, such as radio (AM and FM), credit card readers, cell phones, walkie-talkies, video-game controllers, baby monitors, garage door openers, Chromecast and more! They surround us everywhere, and Wi-Fi is just one of them.
Wi-Fi and cell phones use electromagnetic waves of the same range as microwave ovens. These wavelengths do not contain sufficient energy to chemically alter substances through ionization. However, there are studies that suggest long-term exposure leads to cancer and exposure during pregnancy leads to delayed kidney development and ADHD. A school science experiment showed that plants didn’t grow in a room with electromagnetic radiation (plants had no problem growing in a different room with no radiation though), and another showed that microwaved water had lost its ability to support plant growth altogether. Although, the latter can be written off a anecdotal evidence, recent studies reveal that, “Long term exposure of 2.4 GHz RF may lead to adverse effects such as neurodegenerative diseases originated from the alteration of some miRNAs expression and more studies should be devoted to the effects of RF radiation on miRNAs expression levels.”
This raises concerns. Obviously, Wi-Fi was studied and tested for safety before it became widely available to consumers, right? These tests provided enough evidence to consider the product “safe enough,” but that doesn’t say much. There are plenty of products that are determined to be “safe” and sold to consumers only to later be recalled after they kill enough people where their bottom line suffers. Pharmaceuticals and cars come to mind. Or any high-profit industry for that matter.
Harvard professor and head of the Transcend Research Lab at Mass General Mrs. Martha Herbert stated,
Since Wi-Fi technology is so new, even the most unbiased studies cannot tell us of the dangers of long-term exposure – the technology hasn’t been around long enough. We are basically letting the industry experiment on us now. The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (non-industry affiliated) states that:
And who knows what will be determined 20 years down the line? Studies might show us that the radiation is so minuscule that it rarely has negative effects on our health. Or, studies might show us that long-term exposure significantly increases our risks for certain chronic illnesses.
Regardless of what the answer will be, by then it will be too late for those of us who have been continuously surrounded by EMF since the invention of Wi-Fi, without any precautions.
What Can You Do?
It is not my intent to spread fear or paranoia. I do not think you should throw away your wireless router and move into the woods, far away from EMFs.
I do think it’s healthy to question things. Food, technology, medicine. If it has the potential to hurt you, it should be proven safe. In my opinion, Wi-Fi has not been proven safe. It has been “inconclusive” at best. And yet it was rapidly incorporated into every aspect of our lives, at least here in the US.
To be frank, I think we have far bigger worries than Wi-Fi, things that are known to destroy our health at far higher rates. But given what we know about EMFs and their effects on children, we should at the very least be aware of this problem. Start monitoring further EMF studies so you are the first to know if some adverse effects have been reported. Keep young children away from wireless electronics. There are small steps you can take to reduce your exposure.
If you are worried about the effects of EMF from Wi-Fi, cell phones, and other wireless technology, here are a few things you could do to protect yourself and your family:
- Turn off your Wi-Fi when you are sleeping
- If you have pets, turn it off when you leave the house, so they are not exposed all day
- Do not keep your phone on or in close proximity to your body whenever possible, don’t carry it in your pocket
- Do not put your phone on your night stand near your head during the night
- Place the router far away from spaces you spend a lot of time in
- Consider connecting through a hard wire if your devices are compatible
- Keep smartphones and tablets away from children. I know, it’s hard, but young children are at a much higher risk than adults of developing brain tumors from EMF exposure.
- Use a landline at home, and not a wireless one
- Support labeling laws that require cell phone manufacturers to list radiation levels in an obvious place on the packaging and at the retailer.
- If you have a “smart meter” at your house – replace it with a safer analog one. “Smart meters” operate on the same frequency as Wi-Fi and microwaves, and have been proven to destroy cells of living organisms in close proximity: