New Zealand group pushing Wifi manufactroversy (UPDATE: Linked to boys death)

More and more rumors about safety concerns of wifi are circulating in the news such as this one, where a “safety” conscious group is demanding that wifi is dangerous for kids. This story is from New Zealand.

WiFi detrimental to health, study suggests – One News | TVNZ.

Many people can’t imagine getting by without WiFi, but one group says it’s coming at a cost more detrimental than people realise.

Safe Wireless Technology New Zealand says research confirms the negative health effects of electromagnetic radiation from WiFi, but that the Government is choosing to ignore it.

The radiation has the potential to cause headaches, nausea and even cancer SWTNZ chairman Greg Kasper told TV ONE’s Breakfast.

“If you get too much of this stuff it’s really bad for you,” he said.

How precise. <sarcasm>

As we’ve seen many many times throughout modern history, people will demonize a new technology as being the source of illness or death – plastic, microwaves, genetically modified food, vaccines, fluoride, electrical lines, cell phones. Geez, let’s go back to television and rock n roll as the downfall of society. Wifi is another in a long line of scare tales.

This article is misleading, as are many others you see in the news, regarding the science. In fact, it appears they are making stuff up and using poor studies to overshadow the facts that we are surrounded by electromagnetic radiation and we live longer than ever. People want research but research HAS been done. They just don’t agree with the results – they want it to show what they believe.

Addition: Parents of a New Zealand boy believe that the school wifi caused his cancer.

“We’re not saying that caused it, but it seems like a bit of a coincidence. Most people would be very cautious about giving their 5-year-old a cellphone — well, this is 30 kids in a classroom [being exposed] to the same thing,” said his Ethan’s father, Damon.

Hmm, sounds like you are. There is no evidence for it, either. Kids have been diagnosed with brain tumors long before wifi. It is irresponsible to suggest this when the evidence points out that there is NO connection.

Here is a response from a science blogger also in New Zealand.

Concern about Wifi has been whipped up of late by a New Zealand-based lobby group also opposed to its use in schools.

The chairman of the lobby group Safer Wireless Technology New Zealand Incorporated aka Ban the Tower, failed to coherently articulate the group’s concerns about Wifi technology and had to be rescued by sympathetic TVNZ host Raudon Christie several times. Just as well TVNZ hadn’t asked a scientist to sit on the couch and tackle Kasper’s claims – it would have been a bloodbath.

Kasper is a semi-retired accountant who lives in Howick and apparently “has had first-hand experience with unwanted cell towers”. If you are wondering where the scientific expertise in this group lies, its in Dr Stuart Reuben, a retired cardiologist and Toa Greening an ICT engineer. Yep, not an electro magnetic field (EMF) expert in sight.

What’s interesting about them however is that they have engaged a public relations company Passion PR to gain media exposure for a campaign they are pushing. They are not attempting to have Wifi routers banned, though the more you dig around the Ban the Tower website the more you realise they are determined to get rid of celltowers, smart meters and Wifi in schools.

Why? Because they BELIEVE they are harmful. There is no evidence that they are indeed harmful. Check out that piece in its entirety that links to actual studies and conclusions by health authorities.

This story about kids’ school experiment is going back around. We stomped on it back in May but the idea is so enticing – that even kids can show that wifi is bad – it is recirculating. This is not good science and the conclusion is not valid. MUCH more sound studies have shown that there is no increased risk. But the premise that we are hurting our kids with this new-fangled technological society is a powerful one and stokes unfounded fears. Note: UNFOUNDED.

Stop worrying and enjoy the convenience. Eat healthy, get some exercise, don’t smoke. You’ll be fine. That is, before the next tech scare comes around.

There is an active effort in Canada to stop these unfounded claims: Canadian consumer protection group reports: Wifi hazard claims unsupported by science | Doubtful News.

Cited studies of EMFs Electromagnetic sensitivity – Can’t escape it, but here is the science | Doubtful News.

  5 comments for “New Zealand group pushing Wifi manufactroversy (UPDATE: Linked to boys death)

  1. December 19, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    It’s a conspiracy!!! “The WiFi Dangers “THEY” Don’t Want You To Know About!”

    From TFA: “Damon and another Horowhenua father are now spearheading a campaign to have Wifi hotspots removed from Te Horo School requesting that internet instead be delivered via wired, Ethernet cables.” Just three decades ago it was WIRES carrying electricity (that had been carrying electricity for over a century) that were causing cancer:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/programs/transcripts/1319.html

    But now wires are preferable to this newly invented, invisible, uber-evil “WiFi” stuff…

  2. RadSwe
    December 19, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Huh. In NZ too?
    In Sweden, there’s a group that calls itself Strålskyddsstiftelsen (~”The Radiation Protection Foundation”) that’s contacted schools around the country about how WiFi is Evil And Destroying Our Youth And Our Health And What Have You. The name of the organization is clearly meant to impersonate the actual authority on radiation protection in Sweden, the governmental agency Strålskyddsmyndigheten (~”The Radiation Protection Authority”).

    Their propaganda has been bad enough that the actual government agency has had to send out its own debunking letter (link in Swedish, sorry – tried to find English-language references but couldn’t) to counter the woo group’s claims (in short, saying that there’s no scientific support that WiFi signals endanger our health, and in any case, the radiation levels in schools are equivalent to ordinary background noise in any urban environment).

    I wonder if the groups are related somehow?

  3. Barry
    December 19, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    I recommend this youtube video (made by a former science writer) which talks about the people who prefer to believe their feelings rather than hard evidence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjD0e1d6GgQ Although the topic is about climate change, the “feelie” concept is relevant to many situations like this. In fact I recommend his entire youtube channel.

  4. Andrew W
    December 19, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Well, they had better ban Storms the, as lightning outputs more emf than wifi, not mention the square inverse law – the farther away you are the more the emf decreases by a factor 2 squared. Which I am sure every thinking person here knows about or has heard of.
    I also love the fact that the anti-wifi brigade fail to mention, is that the airways are full of naturally occuring radio waves anyway!
    Pity I am preaching to the choir here :D

  5. eddi
    December 20, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    From io9: http://io9.com/the-cursed-coffee-experiment-1484741031

    tl;dr version: King Gustav III of Sweden tried to prove coffee was a deadly poison. The test subject out lived him.

    It’s not the wi-fi signals that are dangerous. It’s the content of the signals that will rot your brain. Present company excepted naturally.

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