dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Report: Canadian Schools Banning Wi-Fi Based on Bogus Science
Wi-Fi Phobes Fears Not Based on ANY Sound Research
by Karl Bode 02:22PM Monday Feb 04 2013
There's no scientific evidence that Wi-Fi is a health hazard, but that hasn't stopped those who believe otherwise from trying to stop Wi-Fi deployment, usually citing non-existent evidence. Over the years we've reported how some families have sued schools to derail installs, while angel guidance consultants (seriously) have launched campaigns against Wi-Fi in their free time.

In Canada, at least 12 elementary and middle schools in Ontario and British Columbia imposed bans on classroom Wi-Fi over the last few years after pressure from anti Wi-Fi advocacy groups. Now a new report by a group calling itself "Bad Science Watch" takes aim at many of this anti-Wi-Fi activists behind those pushes, finding that actual science supporting their positions is nonexistent:
quote:
These claims are not substantiated by the scientific literature and have little acceptance from medical professionals and the scientific community. This activism therefore amounts to nothing more than fear-mongering by misguided special interest groups who are attempting to have these networks removed.

Nevertheless, the media has been all too willing to fan the flames of controversy and has contributed to a growing false uncertainty over the safety of WiFi. As a result many school boards, libraries, and town councils across Canada have been called on by concerned citizens to limit or remove WiFi networks.
The full report (which you can read here) goes on to explore how these bogus health worries not only increase costs for schools who have to dismantle the equipment, but it prevents individuals and kids suffering from real ailments from getting proper diagnosis and treatment. With low power Wi-Fi being the least likely to cause health problems, it's important to remember the burden of proof lies upon those claiming Wi-Fi physically harms them (by messing with their chakras and intergalactic meridians or what have you) despite more than a decade of no studies showing it. Science is important, kids.

view:
topics flat nest 
ExoticFish

join:2008-08-31
Stuarts Draft, VA

1 recommendation

No Evidence

Doesn't mean too much. There has been "no evidence" that lots of things didn't cause health problems that were later found to not be so healthy. Not that my router worries me.
--
»www.VAJeeps.com
»www.BronzedBod.com
Emiya

join:2006-03-30
Southington, OH

1 recommendation

Re: No Evidence

said by ExoticFish:

Doesn't mean too much. There has been "no evidence" that lots of things didn't cause health problems that were later found to not be so healthy. Not that my router worries me.

I totally agree and considering a Position Paper amounts to little more than squat, this is a non-story. I'm sure the Tin Foil Hat Brigade can cherry-pick their own studies and come up with just the opposite report.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

1 recommendation

While I think there are many other concerns to worry about (I have lots of friends who live in Ontario and they have no idea of what they are talking about), there are probably other high-priority items to worry about.

My concern follows that w/ LTE advanced and all these new MIMO technologies brewing and focused beams (beamforming), you cell phone is going to become a radio station, and that is when things get interesting w/ orthogonal waves. I know a lot of guys who spent time in front of microwave and radar who have bit the bucket before they were 40 from the big C.

Not far from where I live, there are known cancer clusters in the Buffalo area from the times when "healthy" chemicals weren't all so healthy.

The question is one of cost as it is like always. It's isn't very costly to run Cat cable into a classroom just to be safe. My kids school did it. But I laugh when I see old Asbestos pipe still running around. When I was a kid we used to take the pipe insulation (aka asbestos) and throw it up and let it come down. Now atomizing a lung carcinogen wasn't too swift, the question is if POSSIBLY all these transmitters were are putting on our bodies will come to pass being an issue in 30 years?

Nobody knows why Cancer is happening in higher rates than ever before. Yes we live longer... Well it's because we are swimming in man made chemicals most likely but I can't prove that.

Ask those in China living in air polluted 200x higher than recommended in 30 years how that worked out.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

Re: No Evidence

When you have a party (TEAGOP) that has voted over 84+ times to limit or even kill the EPA, what do you expect.

Boggles the mind that anyone with an IQ higher than a rock, regardless of political views, would be against clean air, clean water, as well as clean, sustainable, and ethical food sources.

Moreover, doesn't see a problem with a businesses dumping waste in the waterways, for example, to save a dime.

Socrates

@comcast.net
That's right. Those who fear RF radiation point to the "no evidence" phraseology and they're correct. Simply because there is no evidence (and it's implied, no evidence...yet) doesn't mean something doesn't exist. It's just good scientific language. That was the phrasing used in cell phone radiation research until...some evidence started to emerge in bona fide scientific circles that there was a relationship between a certain form of brain cancer--glioma--and cell phone use, which is not to say there is a causal connection however. So, the people who need to be persuaded that the risks are low are still not persuaded and the people who don't fear RF radiation have been reaffirmed (I'm one of them). Zero-sum study.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

Re: No Evidence

Pretty much sums it up. Lack of evidence does not mean in the clear.

That said, WIFI is low power.
big_e

join:2011-03-05

1 recommendation

You are asking that science prove a negative, that Wifi does not cause cancer. Then when a study concludes there is no link between wifi and cancer, you dismiss it stating that because science was wrong before these results don't mean anything. So how on earth do you prove that wifi doesn't cause cancer in your worldview?

The burden of proof rests on those who believe that Wifi causes cancer to prove that claim. If there is no proof, then the claim can be dismissed.

Socrates

@comcast.net

Re: You are ignoring the burden of proof

I'm not saying this for myself - I don't believe the harm of RF radiation precisely because the good science doesn't back it up. I'm just stating that this is thinking behind those who object to Wi-Fi, smart meters, power lines, etc. You're not going to convince them with science because science rarely strays beyond the evidence and does not make categorical, unhedged statements beyond what the evidence will say. That leaves wiggle room for those who fear that we just haven't found the evidence yet.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Re: You are ignoring the burden of proof

said by Socrates :

I'm not saying this for myself - I don't believe the harm of RF radiation precisely because the good science doesn't back it up. I'm just stating that this is thinking behind those who object to Wi-Fi, smart meters, power lines, etc. You're not going to convince them with science because science rarely strays beyond the evidence and does not make categorical, unhedged statements beyond what the evidence will say. That leaves wiggle room for those who fear that we just haven't found the evidence yet.

Microwave ovens emit much larger amounts of EMR (even in their enclosures...enough to disrupt Wi-Fi) and those have been around for decades. Surely, the entire western world would be nothing but walking cancer patients if the harm was that great or prevalent.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

Re: You are ignoring the burden of proof

said by moonpuppy:

Microwave ovens emit much larger amounts of EMR (even in their enclosures...enough to disrupt Wi-Fi) and those have been around for decades. Surely, the entire western world would be nothing but walking cancer patients if the harm was that great or prevalent.

The cancer rates in English nations speak for themselves. As does the rate of cancer for Americans located near farms or factories.

However, I don't see how low power radio-waves would be an issue under most normal usage, considering we are bombarded by them through space anyway.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Re: You are ignoring the burden of proof

said by Telco:

The cancer rates in English nations speak for themselves. As does the rate of cancer for Americans located near farms or factories.

However, I don't see how low power radio-waves would be an issue under most normal usage, considering we are bombarded by them through space anyway.

So only "English" nations have high cancer rates? Seriously? Care to cite a study or do we have to take your word for it? I guess no one in Europe uses microwave ovens either.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
So how on earth do you prove that wifi doesn't cause cancer in your worldview?
Easy. You don't.

The people who believe this aren't looking for proof. They already have all the "proof" they need (in the form of "This is what I think" opinion). Thus, if a scientific study proves them right, they'll tout it as iron-clad proof that they were right all along. However, if a hundred scientific studies find no link, they'll claim the link is there and science just hasn't found it yet.
--
-Jason Levine
Mango
What router are you using?
Premium
join:2008-12-25
www.toao.net
kudos:13
Reviews:
·AcroVoice
·Callcentric
·Anveo

Until there's proof...

said by big_e:

So how on earth do you prove that wifi doesn't cause cancer in your worldview?

said by Jason Levine:

Easy. You don't.

Bingo. Until there's widely-accepted proof, (if there ever is) I'm going to err on the side of caution and limit the EMR that my kids are exposed to. Can I eliminate it entirely? Not easily. Can I reduce it? Yes, fairly easily.

Will it improve their health? I might find out in 20-30 years.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

Re: Until there's proof...

Did you read the part where I wrote "However, if a hundred scientific studies find no link, they'll claim the link is there and science just hasn't found it yet."?

Study after study has found no link. If no link is found repeatedly, how is assuming the link is there and science just hasn't found it yet "erring on the side of caution"? Using that reasoning, you could claim that people shouldn't eat apples since they can cause cancer (science hasn't found a link yet, therefore the link is there waiting to be found), people shouldn't drink water or they'll get diabetes (no link found = be cautious), or people should keep tin foil hats on their heads to protect against solar flares (science says there's no danger and that tin foil hats would do nothing even if there was, but this just means they haven't found the connection yet).
--
-Jason Levine

CrazyFingers

join:2003-10-01
Columbia, MO

Re: Until there's proof...

So, no apples or water, and buy more Reynold's Wrap?
Gotcha.
--
Burrow owl...burrow owl...
raylp

join:2010-03-05
There actually is alot of evidence that WiFi is harmful.

There are now thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers showing biological effects from RF radiofrequency microwave radiation.

There are dozens of papers that have reported genetic effects. Two recent studies have found damage to DNA and the reproductive system from WiFi.

WiFi emits levels of RF that are more than high enough to cause health issues. There is tremendous variability in radiation levels, and this can be confusing for those who haven't studied or measured it.

A router emits very high levels right next to it, as do iPads and laptops. The further away from the source, the lower the level. At 10 feet away from a router, the radiation levels are similar to having a cell tower down the street.

I have tested this extensively, and I provide the facts at:

www.wifiiinschools.com

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

The anti-WiFi groups frauds; but targets are hypochondriacs

As the study states, there are groups that use anti-WiFi activism to rip people off. But they can do this because their targets are mentally unstable. Either hypochondriacs, paranoids who think gov't and industry is out to get them, or those who think that they will somehow live forever if they eschew all modern artifacts. The back to nature people, vegans, etc think that by going back 500 yrs they will somehow live forever(or at least in to the low 100s).
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO

Re: The anti-WiFi groups frauds; but targets are hypochondriacs

funny how the avg life span of people living be for modern tech was maybe 35.... gl living to 100 with out modern tech
Expand your moderator at work
NOVA_UAV_Guy
Premium
join:2012-12-14
Purcellville, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by FFH5:

As the study states, there are groups that use anti-WiFi activism to rip people off. But they can do this because their targets are mentally unstable. Either hypochondriacs, paranoids who think gov't and industry is out to get them

(bolding mine)

The group in bold above aren't necessarily mentally unstable. All one needs to do is look around today to see concrete evidence of how the government wants to run and control lives, and is "out to get" us. Tracking bank transactions, requiring certain diseases to be reported to the CDC when lab tests come back positive, wanting to take away firearm ownership rights... it's all a sign of the things to come.

(OK, now back to my bunker with a brand new tin foil hat. )

intok

join:2012-03-15

Re: The anti-WiFi groups frauds; but targets are hypochondriacs

Yes, like assign rape victims a 24/7 guard to make sure she doesn't have an abortion?

Sorry, but the gestapo you are looking for isn't who you think they are.

GrandPaFD

@shawcable.net
seems the 'chicken-little's' are still alive and running in circles!
Earlier they professed we'd burn-to-a-crisp [climate warming]
where-as I see now the UN stating... oops, earlier calculations
didn't include the sun and it's flare-cycles.

Still, in hind-sight - human kind is improving since in years-gone-bye
the 'flat-earth' and 'everything revolves around earth' societies
would burn or stone to death any heretic...

MerinX
Crunching for Cures
Premium
join:2011-02-03
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Shaw

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C5RJT5fjdc


»www.youtube.com/watch?v=30BLHJj6aLo


»www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV6SAhj8VPY


»www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLeCTaSG2-U


How much Research have you actually done?
Let me guess if a corporation says something you will buy it.
--
WCG Can you BOINC it?!?
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Again, study the people making the claims

If anyone making the claims that WiFi is bad for you has any of the following items in their house or person, then they need to be discredited: cell phone, cordless phone, microwave oven, TV, radio, electric vehicle, internal combustion vehicle, etc. All these things give off EMR in one way or another at rates higher than a WiFi router.

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO

Re: Again, study the people making the claims

you left out the BIG ball of plasma thats in the sky
and all the other billions of them as well that actually produce ionizing radiation lol

wounder what these people would say when you till them TRILLIONS of neutrinos pass threw them every second
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
Exactly. And hopefully they have no neighbors within several hundred feet at MINIMUM, as surely they have wifi, a cordless phone, a microwave, and the like.

dnoyeB
Ferrous Phallus

join:2000-10-09
Southfield, MI
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

I run Cable at my house when I can

Considering that cell phones are enormously more powerful that wifi I call bogus on this. Well not exactly. Let me say that if wifi is a problem, cell phones are a catastrophe. Just imagine the power difference between going 100' vs. going 1/2 mile.

I'm not at all comfortable with something just because I cant see or touch it. I run cat5 over wifi at my house. for the next few years I won't because I am renting, but soon enough I will be back on the cable. Its an unnecessary risk.
--
dnoyeB
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom [is] despised, and his words are not heard. " Ecclesiastes 9:16

elios

join:2005-11-15
Springfield, MO

1 edit

Re: I run Cable at my house when I can

wifi an cell phone got nothing on the Sun
ever get a sunburn? thats really a radiation burn

the effects of man made non-ionizing radiation have NOTHING on the amount of ionizing radiation we get just going out side on a clear day or flying on a plane

you get a bigger dose of radiation from one round of medical imaging then youll get from wi-fi, TV, Radio, Satellite and cell phones over your whole life

and yes if your worried about wi-fi did you know your getting more Ghz range EMF from satellites every time you go out your front door?

IF wi-fi is threat then so are EVERY communications sat that uses any thing from L to Ka band
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: I run Cable at my house when I can

Actually, the UVB that causes sunburn is also non-ionizing. The boundary between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation is well in the UVC area which is filtered out of sunlight by the atmosphere. Sunburn is one example of direct DNA damage by non-ionizing radiation. There are studies that show cell phone radiation also has an effect on DNA (although obviously not as severe).

milnoc

join:2001-03-05
H3B
kudos:2
The only reason anyone needs to run cable instead of using Wi-Fi is when you absolutely need an uninterrupted connection with low latency such as for gaming or VOIP/Skype.

For everything else such as Web surfing, email, YouTube and Netflix streaming, Wi-Fi will work perfectly fine with no added health risks.

Cable however can be EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS, especially if you don't install it properly and someone trips over it.
--
Watch my future television channel's public test broadcast!
»thecanadianpublic.com/live
whozzit

join:2003-03-26
Westwood, CA

Re: I run Cable at my house when I can

I have a wireless ISP. My internet access arrives in the house via a CAT-% cable from the external antenna/modem/router. As it comes into the house it is directly connected to a powerful wireless access point, thus, the house is online 24/7. All computer activity, nedia activity, VoIP communications, TV and audio activity is available anywhere within the house (or actually the block that I live on) in a wireless configuration. My wireless ISP is not sattelite provided. I am within the "footprint" provided by microwave dishes mounted atop Mt Dyer; a mountain that is within a few miles of my residence. My ISP uses no caps or thottling where my access is concerned. Due to the "footprint" involved, this whole town is a healthy wireless hot spot. THAT is the way that it should be... everywhere.
ISurfTooMuch

join:2007-04-23
Tuscaloosa, AL

Ignorant people abound

This is the outcome of people not understanding how science works. Pick a topic, and you'll hear people say things like, "Well, I don't believe in the theory of . I have my own theory of why things happen the way they do." And the thing is, the people who say these things often have no idea what the term "theory" in science actually means, so they think that, just because they hold the contrary opinion, they can call it a theory and give it some sort of weight.

I remember someone (I don't recall who) once saying, "Just because you hold an opinion doesn't mean it's right." And just because a group of people, no matter how many of them there are, dispute something doesn't mean there's a valid controversy about its existence. There was a time when most people thought the world was flat, and they held this opinion despite clear observations to the contrary. And they were dead wrong.

I'm not saying that there is absolutely no chance that wi-fi can't have some negative health effects, but I haven't seen any studies lending credibility to that idea. And until the people pushing it get serious and commission some studies that produce contradictory results (I say "commission" because I have no faith that they'd be capable of conducting the study themselves), I'll continue to view them as nothing more than a bunch of crackpots.

Mike
Premium,Mod
join:2000-09-17
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

It's a conspiracy

No seriously.

Here's how it works.

1. Exploit current previous BS weakness - cell phones and cancer link. That's kinda the same right? Let's repaint it.
2. Attorneys hire grassroot organizations to bring up non-sense bull to cause trouble.
3. Attack schools, public places, and other places with people.
4. Lawyer up (both sides).
5. Win or lose lawyers win. Really it doesn't matter win or lose since it's non sense... the lawyers get paid regardless.
--
"If something about the human body disgusts you, complain to the manufacturer" - Lenny Bruce
What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

Re: It's a conspiracy

Over here, you scenario has become the norm. However, other English countries do not have the same legal rules as we do.

For starters, one cannot just sue anyone abroad and if the legal system does allow a case to proceed and they loose, then they are automatically forced to pay all of their legal costs.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Pure Junk Science

This is based on junk science. They should make the parents who believe in this junk science pay to run thousands of feet of cat 5 cabling from the networking gear to every computer in the school. When I was in middle school, they wired the buildings for internet during my 7th grade year (1996-1997) and it went online during my 8th grade year (1997-1998). Wi-Fi did not exist then and they had to run cat 5 wiring from the networking hardware located in a storeroom to each computer. Now they just have to run cat 5 to each wireless access point. With the middle school I went to, it might not be possible to use Wi-Fi as the building was built in 1922 and the walls were thick concrete and they had those old terrazzo floors. Many schools are older facilities with many buildings being built in the 1920's and 1930's. My mother's high school was built in 1910. When that building was built, they used gas lamps for light and textbooks, pencil and paper. Telephone was the biggest thing that people were waiting for like we want broadband today. Electricity was new as well.

As for junk science, I have Autism and I can tell you that vaccines and Autism are junk science as well because my mother said I was having symptoms before I received any vaccines. Vaccines and Autism were later disproven and the report was retracted. I think the doctor behind the junk science later lost his privileges to practice medicine. And now we have unvaccinated children in our schools that are infecting other kids. Some science is legitimate but a lot of science is biased and later proven junk science, especially when there is a cash grab involved. As for RF exposure causing cancer, there has not been a big surge of cancer cases involving brain tumors since cell phones became widespread about 10 years ago. Everybody has cell phones these days and payphones are becoming a thing of the past.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Pure Junk Science

I have an interesting test for these so called wifi sensitive people.

build a group of Faraday cages, put wireless routers in each one. Get a group of people and shut them in the cages and then turn the router power on.

The catch is half of them would be just the router casing and just enough circuitry to power up LEDs in the right spots on the front.

I bet those people would still claim headaches even though they were in the cage with the fake.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
said by IowaCowboy:

As for junk science, I have Autism and I can tell you that vaccines and Autism are junk science as well because my mother said I was having symptoms before I received any vaccines. Vaccines and Autism were later disproven and the report was retracted. I think the doctor behind the junk science later lost his privileges to practice medicine. And now we have unvaccinated children in our schools that are infecting other kids. Some science is legitimate but a lot of science is biased and later proven junk science, especially when there is a cash grab involved.

Tell that to Jenny McCarthy and a few of the people here who have responded to me (calling it junk science) and they will trot out that the big, bad pharmaceutical companies are the ones who discredited the studies. All the scientific journals are paid off and anyone who disagrees with that, now disgraced, doctor are all in the pocket of big pharma.

There will always be a few idiots out there who will push junk science to further a particular agenda and when their theories crash and burn, they simply will trot out another bad study with even more ridiculous claims.

Again, I will say this; if anyone of those complaining parents even has so much as a cordless telephone or microwave oven in their house, they need to be locked up in a mental institution and their kids removed from their care.

CL Tamer

@gwtc.net

And yet...

Other Canadian schools are sticking Wi-fi right on the school bus and watching this additional internet access cut down bad behavior while in transit.

»www.calgaryherald.com/technology···=7880126

evil_gusgus

join:2008-04-14
London, ON

Grammar Nazi

Shouldn't it be: "Report: Canadian Schools Banning Wi-Fi Based on Bogus Science"

Instead of Canada Schools?

Sparky

@contact.net

Re: Grammar Nazi

That is correct.

Anyway, if it's safe as they claim than they should be able to prove it unequivocally and they can't. So caveat emptor. All radiation is dangerous, it's a question of how much.

MerinX
Crunching for Cures
Premium
join:2011-02-03
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Shaw

Resonance - Beings of Frequency (documentary film)

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vb9R0x_0NQ