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WiFi: Health Hazards

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with the chairman of the Health Protection Agency on the possible health implications of the use of wireless technology; (243950)

(2) what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential effects on health of the use of wireless technology.

Exposure guidelines published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), are based on a comprehensive review of health effects of electromagnetic fields from sources including WiFi, mobile telephones and any wireless technology that emits radio signals. All these wireless devices are expected to comply with the ICNIRP exposure guidelines following the recommendations of the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, chaired by Professor Sir William Stewart who now holds the position of Chair of the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The HPA issued the following advice in 2007:

“There is no consistent evidence to date that WiFi and WLANs 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.”

The HPA is currently carrying out a systematic programme of exposure measurements from wireless local area networks (WLANs). Further information about this study and wireless technology more generally is available on the HPA website at:

www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebContentAreaLanding/Page/1153822623782