wireless-350x122Modern civilization has flourished with the ready availability of water, gas and electricity. Today a fourth utility has become part of our daily lives: wireless. Computers, cell phones, watches, televisions, tablets, even coffee machines and refrigerators all run on wireless.

    While wireless used to be available at a few specialized locations, such as cafes, it is now part of the environment in offices, schools, hospitals and businesses of all types. Wireless connectivity has become ubiquitous in just a few short years. Now scientists are beginning to assess the safety of wireless.

    There are thousands of peer-reviewed studies that cite a link between the frequency radiation or microwave radiation emitted by wireless devices and adverse biological health effects. These include brain tumors, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Safety guidelines do exist, but because they are set by engineers rather than health professionals, there is concern they are insufficient.

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) establishes the safety guidelines for wireless. FCC oversees all broadcast frequencies across the spectrum. It moderates competition among service providers, maintains emergency communications, and even enforces decency standards on radio and television. But the FCC is not qualified to address issues related to health.

    Currently, all wireless communications devices sold in the U.S. must meet minimum guidelines for safe human exposure to radio frequency energy. The guidelines were established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, almost twenty years ago. Amy O’Hair of watchdog group, describes them as “established in the 1970s based on 1950s science, and firmed up in the Telecommunications Act (TCA) of 1996, (just as cellular networks were going up), the guidelines have not been reviewed since then – even as usage patterns have changed drastically.”

    The current guidelines set exposure limits for handheld wireless devices in terms of Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, which measures the rate at which radio frequency (RF) radiation is absorbed by the human body. The FCC has set the allowable rate at 1.6 watts per kilogram, averaged over a gram of tissue. Experts estimate cumulative radiation exposure may actually be more than a hundred times higher than official exposure limits, because most of us are exposed to multiple devices.

    Here are some of the ways you can safeguard your health:

    1) Substitute wired devices for your wireless versions
    2) When you use your cell phone, keep it away from your ear. Use headphones and your speaker.
    3) Establish a low EMF sleep sanctuary in your bedroom. Get rid of electrical devices.
    4) Invest in a simple-to-use EMF meter, and measure the EMF readings in your house.

    Here are suggestions for updating the FCC guidelines:

    1) Regulations should reflect current research regarding the biological effects of exposure.
    2) The regulations should be based on the maximum power of devices as well as the number of devices to which a person is exposed.
    3) Wireless devices in public places should have an automatic maximum power reduction based capability tied to the number of wireless devices in the area.

    Wireless technology has developed and expanded so quickly that most people remain unaware of the potential dangers. It is critical that we all spread the world to increase awareness, and to insist on adequate safeguards for our personal and public health.