UK government to investigate Wi-Fi fears

UK government to investigate Wi-Fi fears

Lack of studies causing worries in Whitehall

The UK government has responded to growing concerns about the effect on health from Wi-Fi.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is to perform a systematic survey on the effects of Wi-Fi, claiming that a lack of peer reviewed and scientifically sound studies on the topic make it difficult to assess the potential harm.

Professor Pat Troop, chief executive of the HPA, said: "There is no scientific evidence to date that Wi-Fi and wireless local area networks adversely affect the health of the general population.

"There is no particular reason why schools and others should not continue to use Wi-Fi or other wireless networks. We have good scientific reasons to expect the results to be reassuring, and we will publish our findings."

Professor Troop pointed out that Wi-Fi signals are very low power and unlikely to cause a problem, but that checking is in the national interest.

The tests will assess the problem by measuring the output of Wi-Fi devices themselves, as well as mobile phones and other radio emitters.

It will then consider the effect of multiple devices being used in concert, for example by pupils in a classroom.

The study is in response to growing concerns in some quarters about the harm that Wi-Fi might be causing to humans.

The German Environment Ministry has advised users to turn off Wi-Fi networks where possible, and the HPA has urged caution.

However, some UK scientists have rubbished suggestions that there are any problems, pointing out that radio has been with us for over a century and has never been shown to cause cellular harm or cancer.