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Will Citywide Wi-Fi Cause Cancer?

Citywide Wi-Fi was the topic of our January 12, 2016 meeting. Subject matter specialist Kevin Mottus was our speaker. He presented results of studies on the health impacts of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RFR) from cell towers, cell phones and Wi-Fi devices. This technology has spread rapidly with little thought to the long term health impacts. With the recent and ongoing Aliso Canyon gas leak, everyone is now starting to be concerned about long term health impacts from infrastructure and technology that had not previously been questioned.

Of special interest is the resolution passed in 2014 by the California Medical Association which supports further study and implementation of safety exposure limits on non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation used in wireless communications. They note that peer reviewed research “has demonstrated adverse biological effects of wireless EMF including single and double stranded DNA breaks, creation of reactive oxygen species, immune dysfunction, cognitive processing effects, stress protein synthesis in the brain, altered brain development, sleep and memory disturbances, ADHD, abnormal behavior, sperm dysfunction, and brain tumors.” There is a long latency period of years to decades to study the impacts. Children are more vulnerable to exposure and the World Health Organization identified cell phone and wireless communications to be possibly carcinogenic in 2011. They are concerned that the FCC standards are outdated.

Further, while schools in Los Angeles are busy installing Wi-Fi, schools abroad are limiting it. A Russian committee recommended Wi-Fi not be used in schools in 2011. As of 2013 Israel stopped installing it in kindergarten, limits its use in first through third grades and requires it to be turned off when not in use. France passed a law in 2015 banning Wi-Fi in nursery schools, requiring routers to be turned off in schools when not in use, providing measurements on cell tower radiation near homes. California Medical Association, Bulletin-Wireless Out Of Schools

Mayor Garcetti is moving forward with a citywide Wi-Fi plan called CitiLinkLA and the City Council announced June 2015 that it is soliciting proposals from providers. Proposals were due November 2015. View NBC Report on Wi-Fi plan. With the data presented by Mr. Mottus we have to wonder if citywide Wi-Fi is indeed a good idea.

All documents related to this article were provided by Mr. Mottus.

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