What are the health issues arising out of the proposal an electronic mesh on the town, asks Basil Jones of Swindon based charity Stop Harming Our Children (SHOC).
Controversy surrounds Swindon Borough Council’s plan to install 1,400 WiFi ‘routers’ throughout the town, turning it into a "Digital City".
Dark hints about a lack of transparency in setting up the deal and the alleged failure to follow proper guidelines, have led to calls for an external enquiry into how the contract and a £450,000 loan of taxpayers money was awarded without having been put out to tender.
But another, vitally important, question surrounds this project, yet it receives very little attention: “What are the potential health risks to us and our children, of being subjected to WiFi electromagnetic radiation, 24/7, wherever we are, for the foreseeable future”?
The government’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) doesn’t know. The best they can say is "There is no consistent evidence to date that exposure [to WiFi] adversely affects the health of the general population".
The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) takes an opposite view: "We take exception to the claim that there is no credible scientific evidence to conclude there is a risk. Recent epidemiological evidence is stronger than before, which is a further reason to justify precautions being taken to lower exposure standards".
Roger Coghill MA is a distinguished biologist and member of the Bio-electromagnetic Society. He serves on the Standing Advisory Group on Electro-pollution, which advises, but is frequently disregarded by, the Department of Health. He says. "If WiFi had been a drug, it would never have been approved. Swindon Council is wrong to install WiFi without properly considering the health risks to the thousands of residents". Asked what he expects to be the effect on them, he said "First, an increase in headaches, absenteeism and chronic tiredness; then an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases; and in five or six years’ time — a greater number of brain tumours".
With all the hoo-ha surrounding the Digital City proposals, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no alternative if Swindon is to be a leader in the field. But Dr. Magda Havas of Canada’s Trent University says “Fibre optics provide a much better solution than wireless broadband for Internet access. Fibre-optic networks are faster, more secure, have less interference, can handle large traffic flow, and do not emit radio-frequency radiation that seems to be making some people ill. In the short-term, fibre-optics are more expensive, but in the long-term they provide a much less expensive and more reliable service. They can be used in most communities and are especially cost-effective in densely populated areas”.
Turning Swindon into a "Digital City" is an enormous and unnecessary step in the wrong direction. In one area of France they are replacing WiFi with fibre-optic cables, covering a population of almost one million people in 372,000 homes. This will provide ultra high-speed broadband connections (100 Mbps!) for Internet, telephone and television. WiFi will stop altogether because of the health dangers.
In the meantime and without our consent, we are being used in what amounts to an enormous, un-monitored experiment by stealth. The future of our children, who are most vulnerable to the potential harm that "electro-smog" can do to their brains and bodies, is being jeopardised. Common sense demands that we take proper precautions to protect them.