If you’re a young man who plans to have children one day, you’d be wise to keep your distance from Wi-Fi—literally. A study published in the January issue of the scientific journal Fertility and Sterility showed that after four hours of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from laptop Wi-Fi, sperm taken from 29 men exhibited permanent DNA damage and reduced ability to move.
For years researchers have been cautioning people about the effects of radio frequency (RF) radiation from Wi-Fi and other devices, such as cell phones. However, the Fertility and Sterility study is the first research to directly show sperm damage from RF radiation. The researchers concluded use of Wi-Fi may decrease male fertility.
Unfortunately, damage from RF radiation is not limited to higher intensity exposure, such as holding a cell phone next to one’s head or putting a Wi-Fi connected laptop with WiFi on one’s lap. At least 17 scientific studies have reported damage from long-term exposure to low intensity RF radiation, such as occurs in a Wi-Fi (or other wireless RF) environment, but not close to a transmitter.
A Long List RF Side Effects
Research has shown short-term effects from RF exposure include sleep disruption, hormone disruption, and impairment of concentration, attention, and well-being. Long-term effects include leukemia, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Recent animal research (Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 2012) shows that RF/cell phone radiation interferes with fundamental biological processes in areas of the brain involved in learning, memory, and other important brain functions.
Lawsuit in Portland Schools
The damaging effects of RF radiation may be of particular concern when it comes to children, whose bodies are still developing.
In Oregon, a parent launched a lawsuit against the Portland Public Schools to remove Wi-Fi in order to protect his child. One of the witnesses in this lawsuit is Dr. Barrie Trower, a physicist who has worked for the Defense Department in all aspects of microwave radiation technology. Trower testified that the Wi-Fi frequencies and radiation levels broadcast in the school are similar to those used as weapons during the Cold War. When the Soviets beamed RF into U.S. embassies, personnel experienced headaches, inability to concentrate, sleep disorders, and general behavioral impairment. Long-term effects included serious neurological disorders, cancer, depression, and other illnesses.
Another witness in the suit was David Carpenter, MD, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, an expert in biological effects of RF. Dr. Carpenter stated that chronic RF exposure (such as all-day exposure to Wi-Fi at school) is more likely than short and intermittent exposure (such as with cell phones) to produce harmful health effects, especially at lower exposure levels.
Dr. Carpenter maintains that adverse health effects of RF radiation occur at several hundred thousand times below FCC guidelines, and that the Wi-Fi frequency used in the school, 2.45 GHz, is the most damaging to the body. This frequency, also used in microwave ovens, is resonant with water molecules and most absorbed by the brain.
Cell Phone Studies
The most persuasive research to date may be studies showing increased incidence of brain tumors from mobile phones.
In a pilot study on the environmental impact of RF, a sixth grade student watered one set of plants with filtered water that had been boiled in a microwave and cooled. An identical set of plants was given filtered water boiled on the stove and then cooled. Within a few days, plants given the RF microwaved water lost their leaves and withered. The other plants flourished. This experiment has been replicated many times with the same results, including by a doctoral student at Maharishi University of Management.
The 2007 BioInitiative Report, produced by an international team of leading scientists, evaluated research on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), including RF. Then, in November 2009, an international scientific panel met in Seletun, Norway, to discuss “scientific evidence and public health implications of the unprecedented global exposures to artificial electromagnetic fields (EMF).”
Both the Seletun Report and the BioInitiative Report stated that present international and FCC standards are not adequate to protect the public and recommended immediately adopting more stringent standards. The reports highlighted the rapid development of wireless RF technologies with their potential health damaging effects.
It could take several decades to precisely determine long-term effects of RF. While it may be difficult for most people to avoid Wi-Fi environments, it’s recommended to keep all RF transmission devices—whether cell phones, cordless phones (especially DECT), or Wi-Fi modems—away from the body. For cell phones, use speaker phones, airtubes, or headsets with ferrite clips. Keep laptops with Wi-Fi away from your lap. Keeping several yards away from DECT cordless phone base stations is recommended. At home, turn Wi-Fi off at night.
For more information or more detailed scientific references see http://tinyurl.com/WiFi-Refs