The latest issue of the excellent ES-UK’s newsletter reprints two pieces from the Guardian last year (15th June and 21st December) reporting on the spread of wifi throughout NHS hospitals and GP surgeries.
The aim is excellent. More connectivity between hospital departments and patients’ GPs, enabling a more joined up approach to patient care – so hopefully fewer mistakes! Computers for older patients and those with dementia to help them pass the time. The potential benefits are huge. But what are the risks of bathing hospitals and GP practices in a 24/7 wifi smog?
If you accept the ever growing evidence that continuous exposure to man-made electromagnetic radiation via wifi can have detrimental health outcomes, including cancer, then surely the last thing you want to do is to subject people who are already ill (otherwise they would not be in their GP’s surgery or hospital) to further assaults on their health? Especially when the same result in terms on connectivity (indeed, more reliable connectivity than wth wifi) could be achieved by having wired connections.
Exactly the same argument of course applies to schools where the installation of wifi in all classrooms, and the insistence that all pupils should use it, is causing concerns and health issues around the country. Very sadly, it appears to have caused the death of 15-year-old Jenny Fry in June last year. (See this report in the Telegraph.)
Sadly, the UK lags behind many other countries in its acceptance of the precautionary principle as far as electromagnetic damage is concerned. This principle states that even if you do not have proof that something is harmful, if you have any suspicions that it may be, then until you have proof that it is not harmful you should be extremely careful not to put anyone (and that includes whole populations) in a situation where they could be harmed by it, if it does eventually turn out to be harmful. (Sorry, sounds convoluted, but it does make sense!) So, as far as electromagnetic radiation is concerned you should not install universal systems such as wifi and smart meters from which it is impossible for anyone to escape as long as there is any doubt at all as to their safety.
The principle has been accepted, although not without a struggle, in many other places. France has banned the use of wifi in any spaces used for under 3-year-olds and wifi is only allowed to be switched on in primary schools when it is actually being used for ‘digital educational activities’. Individual towns and schools in Italy, Spain, Canada, the US, Australia and many other places have banned or limited the used of wifi; the European council has advised that it should be banned. But not the UK….
Returning briefly the the medical use of wireless communication there is also a large question mark over the many devices that you can either wear or actually have implanted in your body which will report on your heart rate, your blood pressure, your compliance with drug regimes etc. Once again, these offer enormous benefits in terms of monitoring you health, especially valuable for those with serious health conditions, but what damage may the wireless transmission of that information from within your body, or at very least strapped onto it, also be doing?
If you want to learn more about electro sensitivity and electromagnetic radiation, check in to ES-UK’s site, to into the FoodsMatter site here, including a fascinating one day conference on the subject here.
If you are up for signing a few petitions to raise awareness and encourage the application of the precautionary principle, see this blog.