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article imageNew study looks at the health effects of Wi-Fi

By Tim Sandle     Oct 24, 2016 in Health
Digital technology is increasingly becoming the main way we access media, and the desire for this to be portable has led to most public places having Wi-Fi. What effect does this expansion have on our health?
The answer to this question is, unfortunately, ‘we don’t know’…yet. This is because most studies on people need to be longitudinal. Studying the long-term effect of radiation can only be achieved after significant time has elapsed. It should be pointed out that the general scientific consensus is that Wi-Fi is safe. Although Wi-Fi has been anecdotally linked to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, no study has proven this.
In addition, most governments have studies on-going looking at the thermal (and sometimes non-thermal) effects of electric magnetic fields.
Trying a different data gathering approach to those set-up by most government backed laboratories, a research group have used bacteria to assess what might be happening in the context of the modern, urbanized environment. Wherever people go there is exposure to a similar range of unlicensed radio signals from baby alarms, radio-controlled cars, cordless (DECT) phones, Bluetooth headsets, security alarms and many other things. Wi-Fi (wireless local area network) at 2.45GHz falls in the microwave band along with baby monitors and mobile phones, although the radiation level is 100,000 times less than a microwave oven.
With the new research, scientists from the Swansea University led National Research Network (NRN) in Advanced Engineering and Materials have looked at the effects occurring at the molecular level in relation to Wi-Fi.
In a research brief, the person leading up the review, Dr. Catrin F Williams explains: "We are adopting a 'bottom-up' approach. In the first instance, we want to understand what interactions are occurring at the sub-cellular or molecular level."
For this inquiry, the research group used a bioluminescent marine bacterium called Vibrio fisheri. This organism ‘glows’ under certain conditions due to a luciferin-luciferase system. Here bioluminescence stems from their expression of a series of proteins contained in the lux operon (a gene organization which codes for for luciferase.) Luciferase refers to a class of oxidative enzymes that produce bioluminescence, a similar mechanism occurs with fireflies.
The aim was to explore the effect that microwaves have on light emission, using pulsed electromagnetic fields. This enabled the team to study the bacterial responses to irradiation. The outcome showed direct interaction within a microwave electric field. The field applied was equivalent to that produced by mobile phone technology.
Noting the effect is interesting but what does it mean for biological health? For the next phase the researchers aim to discover the effect of microwaves upon living tissue and mammalian cells. The main concern here is to note any biological effects that might act as precursors for cancer.
The researchers believe this continuing study to be in the public interest and if adverse effects are seen, this might lead to recommendations for include the fine-tuning of microwave procedures.
The research has been published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, and it is under the title “The separated electric and magnetic field responses of luminescent bacteria exposed to pulsed microwave irradiation.”
More about WiFi health, Wifi, Health, Radiation, Electromagnetic radiation
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