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Is Wireless Affecting Our Health?

All this time I've been thinking that the cause of my tiredness and quick temper is work-related stress, the side effects of living in New York City, and lack of sleep. But it's possible that the actual culprit could be my home Wi-Fi network.

Elena Malykhina

April 28, 2006

2 Min Read

All this time I've been thinking that the cause of my tiredness and quick temper is work-related stress, the side effects of living in New York City, and lack of sleep. But it's possible that the actual culprit could be my home Wi-Fi network.This morning, I stumbled upon an article on Sci-TechToday.com that carried a very catchy headline: "Experts Raise Health Concerns Over Wi-Fi." The article references experts that believe Wi-Fi networks could be the cause of headaches, fatigue, irritability, and lack of concentration. That means some people, and possibly me, are hypersensitive to radio emissions from wireless access points.

It's not exactly clear how many people are affected by Wi-Fi emissions. Some studies say it's only about one in 10,000 people, while others say it's more prevalent and could be as high as 30 in 100 people. One expert referenced in the article believes it affects about 3% of the population.

It's not the first time wireless has been linked to poor health. A recent study conducted by the Swedish National Institute for Working Life found an increased risk of brain tumors in cell phone users. Past studies have also associated cell phones with cancer, although there are mixed views out there. A report released by British researchers in January says cell phones don't cause glioma, the most common type of brain tumor.

But just to be safe, I'm taking the experts' advice. First, I'll be using my headset more often. Second, now every day when I come home and turn on my Linksys wireless router, I'll make sure not to sit directly in front of it. In fact, I'll go to a different room, where the emissions aren't as strong. Or maybe I should stop spending so much time staring at my laptop because I've noticed that also triggers headaches, fatigue, irritability, and lack of concentration.

About the Author(s)

Elena Malykhina

Technology Journalist

Elena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she followed the world of advertising. Having earned the nickname of "gadget girl," she is excited to be writing about technology again for InformationWeek, where she worked in the past as an associate editor covering the mobile and wireless space. She now writes about the federal government and NASA’s space missions on occasion.

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