Re: Should all NHS premises provide free access to wi-fi?
Comment on BMJ article by Dave Ashton, EMF/Health Advocate (voluntary), Addlestone, Surrey,
16 August 2015
I'm afraid I find it depressing that a medical journal should even have to ask this question - regardless of whether or not the wi-fi is free.
Here are some facts which I believe show that the very last thing that NHS medical staff, patients and visitors should be exposed to is the pulsed, microwave frequency radiation (at either 2.4GHz or 5GHz) that is emitted from Wi-Fi routers.
I have included references at the end.
1) The whole of the radiofrequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum (which includes the microwave portion used by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless technologies) was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation, as a Group 2B Possible Carcinogen in 2011. A number of the scientists involved in this classification have since called for it to be tightened still further - to Group 2A Probable Carcinogen, or even Group 1 Carcinogen.
2) On May 11th 2015, 190 experts from around the world, who study the health effects of this radiation and who have collectively published more than 2000 peer-reviewed papers, sent a warning to the UN, all UN member states, and the World Health Organisation, in which they said:
In summary, the International EMF Scientist Appeal calls upon the United Nations, the WHO, and the UN Member States to:
•address the emerging public health crisis related to cell phones, wireless devices, wireless utility meters and wireless infrastructure in neighborhoods; and
•urge that the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) initiate an assessment of alternatives to current exposure standards and practices that could substantially lower human exposures to non-ionizing radiation.
The scientists who signed this Appeal (and who now number 206) note that pregnant women and children are most vulnerable to this radiation.
3) Earlier this year, France enacted legislation to outlaw children under 3 from being exposed to the microwave radiation from Wi-Fi whilst in nurseries and other public places, and restricted the exposure of older children to Wi-Fi radiation.
4) In 2003, telecoms company Swisscom filed a patent application for a technology to reduce harmful "electrosmog" from WLAN (aka Wi-Fi). This patent, which has never been implemented, said:
"The risk of damage to health through electrosmog has also become better understood as a result of more recent and improved studies. When, for example, human blood cells are irradiated with electromagnetic fields, clear damage to hereditary material has been demonstrated and there have been indications of an increased cancer risk (Mashevich et al., 2003) … an aneuploidy (=numerical chromosome aberration) - was observed as a function of the SAR, demonstrating that this radiation has a genotoxic effect … These findings indicate that the genotoxic effect of electromagnetic radiation is elicited via a non-thermal pathway. Moreover aneuploidy is to be considered as a known phenomenon in the increase of cancer risk."
It goes on to say:
"Thus it has been possible to show that mobile radio radiation can cause damage to genetic material, in particular in human white blood cells, whereby both the DNA itself is damaged and the number of chromosomes changed. This mutation can consequently lead to increased cancer risk. In particular, it could also be shown that this destruction is not dependent upon temperature increases, i.e. is non-thermal."
(Please note that our non-ionising radiation exposure levels are ultimately set by a private organisation, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which disregards non-thermal effects altogether).
5) In 2014, the Director of the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance of the United States Department of the Interior sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in the Department of Commerce, in which he says:
"...the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today."
6) The US Environmental Protection Agency said this in 2002:
"The FCC's current exposure guidelines, as well as those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, are thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, nonthermal exposure situations.
They are believed to protect against injury that may be caused by acute exposures that result in tissue heating or electric shock and burn. The hazard level (for frequencies generally at or greater than 3 MHz) is based on a specific absorbtion dose-rate, SAR, associated with an effect that results from an increase in body temperature.
The FCC's exposure guideline is considered protective of effects arising from a thermal mechanism but not from all possible mechanisms. Therefore, the generalisation by many that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms is not justified."
7) In a recent letter to Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organisation, eminent Swedish oncologist and researcher Lennart Hardell said the following, concerning WHO's draft Radio Frequency fields: Environmental Health Criteria Monograph:
"In summary there is consistent evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma associated with use of mobile phones and cordless phones. Furthermore, the risk is highest for persons with first use before the age of 20, which is of special concern.
Our conclusion is that RF-EMF should be regarded as a human carcinogen. The IARC classification should be updated to at least Group 2A, a probable human carcinogen.
Current guidelines for exposure need to be urgently revised. The WHO Monograph draft on this issue is based on selective inclusion of studies and wrong assessment of the evidence of increased risk. Thus the Danish cohort study on mobile phone users and the Swedish Cancer Register data cannot be used as evidence of no increased risk.
It is important that the public and decision makers are given correct information about the cancer risk so that they can make decisions based on correct data and take precautions. Otherwise there is an obvious risk of forthcoming increasing impairment of human health and increasing numbers of cancer in the population."
I hope that if anyone reads my comment and is sceptical about my assertion that wi-fi is a harmful technology, and should NOT be present on NHS premises under any circumstances, that they will at least verify the points that I have made above, before finally making up their minds.
1. IARC Monograph 102 -http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol102/
2. The International EMF Scientist Appeal -https://www.emfscientist.org/
3. Bill 468 Article 7 - http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/ta/ta0468.asp
4. Swisscom patent application WO2004075583 -https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2004075583
5. DoI letter -http://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/us_doi_comments.pdf
6. EPA letter - http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/USEPA_Letter...
7. Letter from Lennart Hardell to Margaret Chan -https://lennarthardellenglish.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/letter-to-who-reg...
Competing interests: No competing interests