Sunday, February 7, 2010

Magda Havas Letter on Wi-Fi

From Magda Havas:

I was asked to write an open letter about WiFi in libraries and am
attaching a pdf of that for those who can use this information to help
convince libraries to go with wired connections rather than wireless.
It has information about electromagnetic interference (EMI) for those
with medical implants so will be new information for some of you.

The same material is on my website but with live links. So please go
to for the live link "Open letter." You will note
there is one for libraries and one for schools, both written at the
request of women who care.

Forward to those who need to know.



Open Letter – WiFi in Schools (#2)

Date: January 11, 2010

To: Second Open letter to School Boards, Teachers, and Parents

From: Dr. Magda Havas, B.Sc., Ph.D., Trent University, Peterborough, Canada.

Re: ALERT: Wireless routers in schools may be harming students and staff

Very little research has been published on the health effects associated with wireless routers used in schools and on the effects of cell phones on children. Studies have focused entirely on adults and these studies are showing an increased risk of several types of tumors, including tumors of the brain, the eye, the nerve leading to the ear, and the salivary gland with mobile phone use. These tumors appear on the same side of the head used to listen to the cell phone and appear after 10 years of moderate to heavy cell phone use. One of the most recent studies by Hardell and colleagues (2009) reported that the highest risk was for those who started using a mobile phone before the age of 20.

Other studies are finding an increased cancer rate for those who live within 300 to 400 meters of cell phone antennas. The cancer rates are higher and the cancers grow more rapidly than in populations further from these antennas.

This is particularly disturbing for the following reasons:

1. Younger children are beginning to use cell phones and they are much more sensitive to this radiation than adults.

2. Tumors are developing in adults at a much faster rate than expected with cell phone use and this is likely to be even faster for children whose cells are dividing.

3. A growing number of schools are installing wireless routers for internet access. The same frequencies are used for wireless routers in schools as are used for mobile phones (cell and cordless phones). These frequencies are between 2.4 and 6 GHz in North America. Consequently children are receiving a double dose of microwave radiation from both wireless routers and mobile phones.

4. Some of these children may be exposed to wireless routers at home as well and they may be living near cell phone antennas giving them around the clock microwave exposure.

Studies also are documenting reproductive problems for men who use cell phones. There is a decrease in sperm density, motility, and viability. While sperms are produced every few months, females are born with all of their egg cells and are much more vulnerable to damage as a result. To date there have been no studies on the effects of microwave radiation from mobile phones and wireless computers on egg cells and reproductive success in women.

The purpose of this open letter is to alert those who are responsible for the health and safety of children to think twice before installing wireless microwave technology in schools and exposing students and staff to radiation that could be potentially harmful.’

Open Letter – WiFi in Libraries

Date: January 12, 2010

To: Open letter to Librarians, Library Administrators and Visitors to Libraries.

From: Dr. Magda Havas, BSc, PhD, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada.

ALERT: WiFi Hotspots in Libraries may be Harming Staff and Visitors and may Prevent Access to those with Medical Implants.

While a growing number of libraries are installing WiFi hotspots for their visitors and staff, they seem not to be reading the literature on this topic related to health effects, interference with medical implants, speed of data transmission, and data security issues.

WiFi uses a microwave frequency of 2.45 GHz. This is the same frequency used in many mobile phones (cell and cordless) and these microwave frequencies have been linked to various illnesses including cancer, reproductive problems, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, skin disorders, sleep disorders, cognitive dysfunction, tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, etc. That is one reason why the France National Library (BNF) decided to give up WiFi in 2008.

Based on reports of genetic alternations in human cells at WiFi frequencies (a study conducted at the University of Chicago, Department of Medicine by Lee et al. 2005) and on an increasing number of scientific reports documenting ill effects of microwave exposure (including The Bioinitiative Report) the safer route is to provide wired rather than wireless access to the internet.

While it might take years of exposure to develop cancer (as has been shown in mobile phone studies) changes in gene expression occurred within a matter of a few hours for cultured human cells under controlled laboratory conditions. Lee and colleagues noticed that 221 genes altered their expression after a 2-hour exposure and 759 genes after a 6-hour exposure at levels below thermal effects, on which guidelines are based. If it doesn’t heat your tissue it is assumed to be safe, according to federal guidelines in many countries. However, scientific studies are showing that this ‘thermal effect assumption’ is no longer valid.

Another consideration is that some people with medical implants may be adversely affected because of radio frequency interference (RFI) and may not be able to visit libraries unless the WiFi service is turned off during their stay. This violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar acts in other jurisdictions.

Dr. Gary Olhoeft, Professor of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, brought this to my attention last November at a presentation he gave in Golden Colorado organized by the EMR Policy Institute. Not only is he an expert when it comes to electromagnetic interference (EMI) but he is also one of 20 million Americans who has a medical implant. In his case the implant is a deep brain stimulator to control tremors due to Parkinson’s Disease. Malfunctions of deep brain stimulators may constitute a medical emergency and can be fatal. According to Dr. Olhoeft, interference may prevent normal therapeutic function, reset or reprogram the device, bring damaging energy into the device or body, and cause injury including death.

Medical implants include cardiac pacemakers/defibrillators, neurostimulators, infusion pumps for diabetics, artificial hearts, metal rods to support broken bones, spinal stimulators, and hearing aids.

In addition to WiFi there are a growing number of devices that can cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) including: cell phones, CB or ham radios, TV and radio transmitting antennas, theft detectors and security gates (airports, schools, stores, libraries), power lines, electric arc welding equipment, electricity substations and generators, cardiac defibrillators, diathermy equipment and MRI (magnetic Resonance Imaging).

The France National Library replaced WiFi not only because of health concerns but because wired service can handle a larger volume of data transmission more rapidly, something that is essential for a large library with many researchers, and because it is a more secure and reliable way of transmitting data. The France National Library is not the first and will not be the last replacing WiFi terminals with wired terminals.

The purpose of this open letter is to alert libraries considering WiFi to investigate the feasibility of using wired terminals and for those libraries with WiFi to consider replacing them with wired service. Ignoring these issues of interference with medical devices and potential health effects will not make the problems go away.

As Aldous Huxley said, “Facts don’t cease to exist just because they are ignored.”

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