Refuting the health risks
WiFi is safe. Here are some resources & quotes from public health organizations around the world supporting that. While the quotes are meant to give you a flavour of what the position of each of these organizations is, please do follow the links to see the entire quote in context.
Note that not all articles have direct links or are available on the open web. These are often research articles locked behind academic paywalls and only available to the academic or research community. Where that is the case, I’ve provided an academic citation. You may be able to find these articles through the public library.
First, this video produced by Health Canada on the subject of WiFi in schools.
- Additionally, Health Canada notes in their 2011 publication It’s Your Health – Safety of Wi-Fi Equipment that, “no precautionary measures are needed, since RF energy exposure levels from Wi-Fi are typically well below Canadian and international safety limits. As with any product, Wi-Fi devices should be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.”
- Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Island Health Authority in a letter to SD 61 board (pdf) dated July 5, 2011 notes that, “Given the current scientific evidence, the consensus of public health practitioners is that at the current exposure levels these electromagnetic fields do not constitute a threat to the health of the public.”
- The BC Ministry of Health states that, “There is no convincing evidence that wi-fi exposures constitute a threat to the health of B.C. residents.”
- The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Province of Alberta, in their August 2012 fact sheet WiFi in Schools (PDF) states that, “Based on currently available scientific evidence (August 2012), it is the view of the Chief Medical Officer of Health that the use of WiFi in schools does not pose a health risk to staff or students.”
- While Dr. Perry Kendall, Chief Health Officer, BC Ministry of Health does provided some recommendations for school districts who wished to limit Wi-Fi, but notes in his 2010 letter to the BC Ministry of Education that the recommendations are “despite a lack of evidence of any adverse health effects related to Wi-Fi and the fact that Wi-Fi exposure constitutes only a small fraction of total radiofrequency exposure.”
- On their Wi-Fi at a Glance page, Public Health Ontario notes that “Extensive, long-term studies with biological organisms, including long-term animal studies, have been carried out using the same frequencies as Wi-Fi systems. These studies showed no effects at exposure levels within international exposure limits” and “…to date there is no plausible evidence that would indicate current public exposures to Wi-Fi are causing adverse effects on health.”
Moving beyond Canada, there are many public health organizations who have also examined the issue of the health of WiFi and have come to the same conclusions that WiFI does not pose an undue health hazard.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) fact sheet on Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health notes that, “Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects” and, “From all evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short- or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations. Since wireless networks produce generally lower RF signals than base stations, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them.”
- The American Cancer Society states that, “In general, most experts agree at this time that the evidence of a possible link between RF waves and cancer is limited. This is based on the generally poor quality of studies done so far and the fact that it’s not clear how the low levels of energy in RF waves might cause cancer.”
- The New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research (part of the New Zealand Health Authority) has a page devoted to the safety of WiFi where they state unequivocally that WiFi is not harmful.
- The New Zealand Ministry of Health, in their 2014 study on Wifi in Schools concluded, “Exposures to WiFi signals in New Zealand schools, both from the access points and devices, are very low. On this basis WiFi in schools does not pose a health risk to children or staff.”
- While more research is always a good thing and will continue, one of the arguments used by anti Wi-Fi advocates is that there have been no long term studies on the effects of WiFi. This is incorrect. According to the World Health Organization page What are Electromagnetic Fields there has been extensive research on the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation with over 25,000 published articles on the subject produced over the past 30 years. Notes the WHO, “Despite the feeling of some people that more research needs to be done, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.”
- In their 2010 fact sheet, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection states that, “The scientific data available so far do not indicate that low frequency electric and/or magnetic fields affect the neuroendocrine system in a way that these would have an adverse impact on human health.”
- The UK Health Protection Agency, on their page Understanding Radiation, Electromagnetic Fields state that, “There is no consistent evidence to date that exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi and WLANs adversely affects the health of the general population. The signals are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the router (access point), and the results so far show exposures are well within the internationally-accepted guidelines from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). On the basis of the published studies and those carried out in-house, the HPA sees no reason why Wi-Fi should not continue to be used in schools and in other places.”
- On the topic of Wi-Fi exposure of children in schools, Dr. Michael Clark of the British Health Protection Agency stated that, “All the expert reviews done here and abroad indicate that there is unlikely to be a health risk from wireless networks “ and “When we have conducted measurements in schools, typical exposures from wi-fi are around 20 millionths of the international guideline levels of exposure to radiation. As a comparison, a child on a mobile phone receives up to 50 per cent of guideline levels. So a year sitting in a classroom near a wireless network is roughly equivalent to 20 minutes on a mobile” Dr. Michael Clark of the British Health Protection Agency quoted in Daniels, Nicki. “Wi-fi: Should We Be Worried?” Times London, December 11, 2006.
- In a 2007 report published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers Peter Valberg, Emilie van Deventer, and Michael H. Repacholi concluded that, ” As summarized here, these separate avenues of scientific investigation provide little support for adverse health effects arising from RF exposure at levels below current international standards. Moreover, radio and television broadcast waves have exposed populations to RF for > 50 years with little evidence of deleterious health consequences.”Valberg, Peter A., T. Emilie van Deventer, and Michael H. Repacholi. “Workgroup Report: Base Stations and Wireless Networks—Radiofrequency (RF) Exposures and Health Consequences.” Environmental Health Perspectives 115, no. 3 (March 2007): 416–424. doi:10.1289/ehp.9633.