A program titled ‘Wi-Fried’, enlisting the possible effects of electromagnetic radiation was aired a few weeks ago. This sent people into a tizzy wondering whether routers and other modern day home appliances were acceptable in the long run.
Every now and then we hear of a story that claims a person acquired an illness attributed to the radiations emitted by an electronic device. We then go into panic mode and turn off the Wi-fi religiously for a few nights and then forget about it.
How harmful is Wi-Fi ?
Are the statements surrounding Wi-fi true? Or is it just another hoax?
Over 25,000 articles have been published on this topic in the last 3 years, yet no one knows for sure what the effects are. Most instances of Wi-Fi induced diseases are un-verifiable.
The belief that Wi-Fi is harmful stems from the fact that the wavelength of radiation used in microwave ovens is the same as that emitted by a router, for example. However, the difference between a microwave oven and a router is the intensity of radiation. The intensity of radiation in an oven is so large that it can cause a mug of water to boil in a few seconds. On the contrary, the intensity of Wi-Fi is 100,000 times less than that of the microwave.
Additionally, several other devices such as baby alarms, cordless phones etc. require radio waves for operation. The radiation emitted by a router is minuscule in intensity and is not a significant cause for concern. Yet we panic as we hear about several cases, most unverified, about Wi-Fi being harmful to the human body.
Wi-Fi is perceived to be relatively safe, yet if we are paranoid, precautionary measures may be taken to reduce the effect of the radiation.
Instead of using routers, wired internet connections may be used. Wired connections using a cable are faster than Wi-Fi and cause less problems as well.
Additionally, it is rational to curb sources that generate more radio signals than Wi-Fi does. Mobile phones emit twenty times more radiation than a router. They are held close to the ear and can cause damage owing to the heat generated by them. You might have noticed that your smartphone turns hot when you talk on the phone for a long time. Microwave ovens need to be properly shielded and a safe distance of 1m needs to be maintained when the oven is in operation.
As Dr. Magda Havas, an environmental scientist says, all research has been conducted on cells in the laboratory and cannot be conclusive. He calls the advent of Wi-Fi a large human experiment that all of us are undertaking, the results of which will remain unknown until conclusively proved.