• United States
Contributing Writer

Health concerns dog wireless world

Oct 14, 20032 mins
Cellular NetworksEnterprise Applications

* Is wireless networking bad for your health?

Is there a bump in the road for wireless networks ahead? If a recent report by Reuters is any indication, there just might be.

Parents in Oak Park, Ill., are suing the school district for installing wireless access. They are concerned over the health risks that wireless networking might cause to their children.

Officials are quick to point out that wireless networks operate in the same frequency as cordless phones and other home appliances.

This comes on the heels of a study about the emerging 3G industry. According to Reuters, a survey conducted for three government ministries in the Netherlands found that radio signals from 3G phone networks – base stations included – can cause nausea and headaches to the public.

The report points out that the base stations “transmit signals to mobile phones with an electromagnetic field.” It also notes that “base station signals, in contrast, emit lower but more constant levels of radiation and expose everyone within range, not just those making calls.”

At Network World’s recent Wireless LANs Technology Tour, attendees in several cities brought up the issue of health concerns in regards to wireless networking. The IT managers who raised the issue said they did not want to install something that could prove hazardous down the road.

Similar charges have plagued the current cell phone and wireless handheld device industries. However, study results have varied on the long-term effects.

I know a lot of people who refuse to carry their BlackBerry devices on their hips because they are afraid of the effects of the constant transmission of signals. And there are others who keep their cell phone use to a minimum and always use an earpiece because of their beliefs about the dangers of radio waves.

With a whole generation of heavy cell phone and mobile device users in the ranks now, it’s time for the health community to publish a non-biased comprehensive and conclusive study on the ramifications of heavy wireless use. Speculating on the effects without such information seems useless.

What do you think? Is wireless networking in jeopardy because of health concerns? Or will it dodge the bullet like the cell phone industry did? Let me know at