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Electromagnetic Fields: Health Hazards

Volume 461: debated on Thursday 21 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will instigate an official inquiry into the potential effects on health of the roll-out of Wi-Fi technology. (145063)

The independent Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR) undertook a comprehensive assessment of radio waves and health in 2003. Its report, entitled ‘Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields’, was published by the then National Radiological Protection Board (now the Radiation Protection Division of the Health Protection Agency (HPA)). Copies are available in the Library and on the HPA web site:

www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/publications/documents_of_nrpb/abstracts/absdl4-2.htm

All devices that emit radio waves (such as wireless internet) should be used in compliance with the exposure guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) as specified in the European Recommendation on limiting public exposure to electromagnetic fields (EC/519/1999).

Information about wireless devices and health is available on the Department's web site at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Aboutus/MinistersandDepartmeatureLeaders/ChiefMedicalOfficer/Features/FeaturesArchive/Browsable/DH_5369553.

The Government acknowledge further advice provided by the HPA at:

www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/understand/radiation_topics/emf/wifi.htm

This states:

‘There is no consistent evidence to date that wireless fidelity (WiFi) and wireless local area networks adversely affect the health of the general population. The signals are very low power, typically 0.1 watt (100 milliwatts) in both the computer and the router (access point) and the results so far show exposures are well within internationally accepted (ICNIRP) guidelines. Based on current knowledge and experience, radio frequency (RF) exposures from WiFi are likely to be lower than those from mobile phones. Also, the frequencies used in WiFi are broadly the same as those from traditional RF applications.’