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Free WiFi, But At What Cost?

free_wifiBy Deirdre Imus, 1-27-15-Free Wi-Fi. The sound of those two words is like music to many people’s ears, even though it could be poison to their bodies. A recently published analysis on exposure to the kind of radiation given off by Wi-Fi – radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, or RF/EMF – suggests that children absorb more of this radiation than adults, and that fetuses are particularly vulnerable to RF/EMF absorption. Such warnings might seem frantic, but maybe they’re not quite frantic enough.  
 
When something becomes ubiquitous in our society, it can be difficult to remember life without it. Wireless internet access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity of modern life. We rely on it for nearly everything and become enraged when it is not working, or not available. This dependence might also result in denial: we don’t want to know if Wi-Fi is bad for us, because we need it so darn badly. 
 
The article on RF/EMF exposure, which was published in the Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure, is noteworthy not necessarily for the red flags it raises, but for the uproar it doesn’t.  Most people just don’t want to hear it when it comes to many health risks, because they can’t bear the thought that their beloved smartphones could be harming their beloved children. 
 
And those are the real potential victims of RF/EMF exposure, as the study notes: children and unborn children’s smaller bodies and thinner skulls absorb more radiation than those of adults.  Some of the potential future health risks associated with this exposure include cancer, low sperm count, and attention deficit disorders, though the authors point out the average time between exposure to a carcinogen and the diagnosis of a tumor can be three decades or more.
 
How can we process these conclusions without becoming hysterical, angry, regretful, and scared for what we may be unknowingly doing to our kids, and to ourselves? The initial instinct is to cut off all Wi-Fi access, but this is hardly a sustainable solution, and definitely an unpopular one in most households. 
 
When possible, try to limit your children’s exposure to devices that use RF/EMF frequency to operate. This includes Wi-Fi-enabled toys, phones, tablets, and computers, but also televisions, microwaves and cell phones.  Try unplugging your wireless router after a certain hour in the evening, like when everybody is asleep and (presumably) not using the internet. 
 
And bear in mind that just because something has not been proven detrimental to our health does not mean it is benign. We’ve only been using the internet regularly for around 25 years, and wireless internet for about a decade. This is hardly long enough to know if, how, and to what extent near-constant exposure to low-level radiation is affecting our bodies in the short term, or over time. 
 
The U.S. government insists RF/EMF radiation and cell phone/Wi-Fi use in general is perfectly safe. They also refuse to ban the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in plastics and in the lining inside most food and drink cans (among other places), even though it is a known endocrine disruptor and has been linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and reproductive problems. The various agencies in this country devoted to human health claim to have our best interests at heart, but are regrettably slow out of the chute on too many pertinent health issues. 
 
In a court of law, you’re innocent until proven guilty. But when it comes to our well-being, why should we wait until something is so obviously causing harm to implicate it, and perform the according research? Let’s get to these potentially toxic substances or frequencies before they get to us – and before it’s too late. 
 
 
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