Wireless technology is all around us and we are told it is safe, or rather we are told by Public Health England (PHE) that "there is no consistent evidence of health effects from RF [radiofrequency] exposures below guideline levels."
However, what are these "gudeline levels"? They are recommended safety levels based on research from the 1990s which looked only at thermal or heating effects on the body, not other biological effects.
In addition, a 2016 peer-reviewed study showed that the AGNIR 2012 report, on which PHE still relies, is inaccurate. This means that any advice based on it is misleading at best, if not actually unsafe - hardly appropriate for a safeguarding body!
What the science is saying
The science has moved on since the 1990s. Around the world concern is growing among doctors and scientists about the health impacts of radiofrequency radiation.
Thousands of independent peer-reviewed studies point to serious harm from exposure to this radiation.
What is radiofrequency radiation?
Radiofrequency electro-magnetic radiation is the transfer of energy via radio waves. It lies in the frequency range between 3 kilohertz (kHz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz), which is the microwave range. Radiofrequency radiation is also called microwave radiation for this reason.
Sources of microwave radiation include microwave ovens, moblie phones and mobile phone masts, digital televisions, Wi-Fi, and all wireless devices including cordless phones, digital baby monitors and smart meters.
What are the biological effects of microwave radiation?
Microwave radiation is non-ionising, meaning that it doesn't have enough energy to break chemical bonds or remove electrons. However, it can penetrate human cells, opening the blood-brain barrier (the barrier between the blood vessels and the brain, allowing toxins into the brain).
Even sources of low frequency radiation such as Wi-Fi can cause these biological effects - the pulsed nature of this radiation has an effect at the cellular level.
Biological effects include damage to the brain, heart, nervous system and reproductive organs, over time leading to conditions such as cardiac arrythmia, heart disease, neurodenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, birth defects and infertility. See more research findings.
Who are most vulnerable?
According to doctor-led campaign organisation Physicians' Health Initiative on Radiation & Environment (PHIRE), children and babies are most vulnerable, due to their thinner bones, smaller skulls and the higher water content in their bodies, as well as the fact that they are still developing.
Pregnant women are also vulnerable. The BabySafe Project is a coalition of doctors, scientists and public health professionals from around the world who have urged pregnant women to limit their exposure to microwave radiation. Read their joint statement here.
What is happening around the world?
Other countries are taking the issue very seriously, some banning or limiting Wi-Fi in schools and nurseries, including France and Israel. Meanwhile, the UK government continues to encourage the rollout of Wi-Fi systems, often industrial strength, in schools and public places around the country without the informed consent of parents or the children themselves who are most vulnerable.
Surely now is the time to adopt a precautionary approach and limit our children's exposure to microwave radiation, including from
Wi-Fi in schools, and begin limiting our own exposure too?