Kenneth Foster, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 1992
For contributions to the understanding of mechanisms of interaction of nonionizing electromagnetic fields with biological systems.

Kenneth Foster Debunks Wifi Fears

Via Network World | August 21, 2014

What would it take to get you to not use Wi-Fi? I don’t mean simply not connecting to it; I mean not having Wi-Fi switched on. At all. And what about cellphones? I know that the issue of cellphone safety has come and gone and most authorities have dismissed the risks as negligible. But what if the risks to you are trivial, but not to your children? Would you stop using these devices? I ask because an academic paper has recently been published that concludes that electromagnetic radiation generated by humans is far more dangerous to children and babies than we think.

Now, human-generated EMR in the general environment was negligible at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, but by 1933 the problem of electromagnetic interference was becoming significant. In that year, the International Electrotechnical Commission in Paris “recommended the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) be set up to deal with the emerging problem of EMI.” (Wikipedia)

Since then, despite much legislation and regulation, the general EMR background has increased significantly in the Western hemisphere and even more dramatically in suburban and urban areas, with radio and television being among the greatest contributors. That said, the general suburban and urban EMR levels are to the order of few tens of µW/m² which has been thought to be a harmless level of exposure.

For example, according to Kenneth R. Foster, Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote:

In 2006 I conducted an industry-supported survey of RF field levels in urban and suburban areas in four countries—the United States, France, Germany, and Sweden (Foster 2007). The survey made 356 measurements of background RF signals at 55 sites: private residences, commercial spaces, health care and educational institutions, and other public spaces. Measurements were conducted in public spaces as close as practical to access points. 

The results, which are detailed in "Radiofrequency Exposure From Wireless LANs" (Foster 2007), show that in all cases the measured Wi-Fi signal levels were very far below international safety limits, specifically, those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP 2002). These limits were designed to protect against all known hazards of RF energy. In nearly all cases, these signals were also considerably lower than those from other nearby sources of RF energy, including cellular telephone base stations.