Members of the public often ask about the cumulative exposure that a child receives when using a Wi-Fi device in a classroom in which a number of children are simultaneously using Wi-Fi. When downloading files, most of the transmissions will be from the access point, not the students’ device. When downloading and uploading only a portion of the maximum capacity of a network would be used even in a classroom filled with children using Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi network divides RF transmissions among the access points and client devices therefore the individual RF exposure to a child in a classroom that is using a device consists of sequential exposures from all active devices, the majority of which are located at some distance away(15). For the majority of schools (20) the measurements in the current study were conducted in an empty classroom (to avoid lesson disruption) with an access point and one laptop. In three schools, measurements were conducted with students or teachers present and using Wi-Fi devices. A comparison between measurements conducted in empty classrooms and classrooms with multiple students/teachers using Wi-Fi showed no significant difference in the RF levels (p > 0.1 for all); although this may have been due to low numbers (only three schools measured with multiple users in the classroom).
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Although recall bias is minimized in studies such as COSMOS that link participants to their cell phone records, such studies face other problems. For example, it is impossible to know who is using the listed cell phone or whether that individual also places calls using other cell phones. To a lesser extent, it is not clear whether multiple users of a single phone, for example family members who may share a device, will be represented on a single phone company account. Additionally, for many long-term cohort studies, participation tends to decline over time.
The only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency radiation in humans is heating. The ability of microwave ovens to heat food is one example of this effect of radiofrequency radiation. Radiofrequency exposure from cell phone use does cause heating to the area of the body where a cell phone or other device is held (e.g., the ear and head). However, it is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature. There are no other clearly established effects on the human body from radiofrequency radiation.
The recent report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) about the potential connection between cell phone use and cancer is big news to media outposts and the general public. Prior to the report, scientists told us no evidence existed that cell phones were carcinogenic. And now? According to the IARC, research now proves that there is evidence that cell phones might in fact be carcinogenic. The potential villains in this scenario are radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, which are emitted by a cell phone’s antenna, and which the agency says may be linked to two types of brain cancer.
The most compelling evidence though comes from a Swedish team of cancer experts whose research stretches back 15 years. The results clearly demonstrate “a consistent association between long-term use of cell phone and cordless phones and glioma and acoustic neuroma”. Overall, they found that using a cell phone for more than a decade significantly increases the risk of a malignant tumour by almost two times with an analogue cell phone and by nearly four times with a digital phone. Interestingly, the risks were even higher for people who had started using mobiles as teenagers.