What does it mean for your health?
Let’s start by talking about what radiation actually is. Radiation is a type of energy produced by certain atoms (called isotopes) when they break up or change their composition. It’s essentially any emission of energy in the form of electromagnetic waves or particles. This includes X-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet light, and visible light. This type of radiation is invisible to humans and we can only detect it via machines like Geiger counters, which measure levels of radiation in a given area, or detectors on satellites in space that monitor solar activity.
All these different forms of radiation have very different properties and effects on human health. For example, some types (like sunlight) are essential for life because they help our bodies make vitamin D; other types (like UV rays) can cause skin cancer if you get too much exposure; still others – including X-rays – are potentially harmful to your health but are so useful to diagnose problems with the human body that we accept the risks involved.
Wi-Fi and cancer.
It’s true that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified radiofrequency radiation from Wi-Fi as a possible carcinogen. But that doesn’t mean you should throw your router away.
Radiofrequency radiation, which is produced by devices like Wi-Fi routers and cellphones, has been classified as a Group 2B carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the WHO. Group 2B means “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” and it was first used to describe coffee in 1991. However, keep in mind this classification is based on limited evidence — animal studies have connected prolonged exposure to radiofrequency radiation with cancerous tumors, but there aren’t any conclusive studies showing this link in humans yet.
Wi-Fi and brain function.
There is limited evidence that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects. More research is needed. However, there’s no evidence that Wi-Fi networks in schools cause adverse health effects.
A large study in children found no link between brain tumor risk and cellular phone use. It did find a statistical increase in tumors among heavy users of cordless phones but the researchers could not conclude that it was caused by the phones (there were other possible explanations).
Some studies have shown an increased risk for gliomas—a type of malignant brain tumor—and acoustic neuromas (noncancerous tumors) among people who reported using mobile or cordless phones for 10 years or more. But these studies did not show a causal relationship between phone use and tumor growth; they only showed an association between the two factors. More research is needed to show whether there’s a direct cause-and-effect relationship between cancer risk and cell phone use.
Effect on children.
Children are more vulnerable to the effects of Wi-Fi radiation, since their nervous systems, organs and tissues are still developing. Repeated exposure to Wi-Fi radiation during childhood may damage cells and cause problems with learning, memory and behavior later in life.
Wi-Fi is especially dangerous for children because it can affect their brain function. Children’s brains absorb two times more mobile phone radiation than adults’ brains do. This is why it’s important to keep your kids away from mobile phones and other wireless devices as much as possible (especially when they’re sleeping).