I was interested to read that a Canadian university has banned the use of wi-fi networks over fears there could be links between electric and magnetic radiation and cancer.
According to Lakehead University's president "the jury's out on this one, I'm not going to put in place what is potential chronic exposure for our students."
Apparantly the decision was based on a study (opens in new tab) by the California Public Utilities Commission, which, although found there was no proven link between EMF (electric and magnetic fields) and diseases such as childhood leukaemia and adult brain cancer, said that a possible risk meant further research was advisable.
The possible health risks from wifi networks is part of a wider debate over the growing use of wireless technologies that, up until now has been overshadowed by questions over the safety of mobile phones.
The profusion of studies has produced no clear evidence either way; for mobile phones or wifi. As with many health debates, there is no black and white, just a whole expanse of grey. For example, tap into Google mobile phone studies (opens in new tab), and the top two articles, one reads "Mobile phones 'alter human DNA' "and the second says "Mobile phones 'safe for brains'".
The World Health Organisation is currently looking into the whole issue of EMF but as yet to reach a definitive conclusion . What is for sure, though, is that as wifi technology becomes more widespread, with talk of city wide hotspots, and new technologies such as WiMax coming on board, the amount of wireless signals whizzing near us is only set to increase.
I use a wifi network at home and have no plans to be throwing it away anytime soon, but if you asked me if I would be happy for any young child of mine to be using a mobile phone all the time then my answer would probably be no.
You can read more on the Canadian university’s decision to ban wifi networks here (opens in new tab).