Today, our lives are so intertwined with the internet, that you can’t go anywhere without seeing people busy on their smartphones and smart devices. Whether you’re traveling by metro, the bus, or you’re in a café, shopping at a grocery store or at a mall, you can see everyone on some kind of a Wi-Fi connected device that’s most likely connected to the local Wi-Fi connection available there.
While Wi-Fi has made staying connected to the internet so easy, even when you’re on the move, there is a constant thought that lurks behind everyone’s mind. With most of our waking hours spent on Wi-Fi connected devices, what is the impact of Wi-Fi on your health? Does it involve any health risks?
Science swings both ways on this issue. While some studies claim that there is not a lot of evidence which shows that constant use of Wi-Fi devices is harmful, others claim that the use of Wi-Fi is linked to many health risks such as cancer, the development of tumors, etc. So, the question is, what is the truth really?
Understanding What Wi-Fi Is
Wi-Fi, short for “Wireless Fidelity”, essentially is a wireless internet connection which makes use of radio waves of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Both these frequencies of radio waves can be blocked by some physical structures, but can penetrate through walls. Wi-Fi makes use of the same microwaves as microwave ovens, satellite communications and radar transmissions. Various devices such as smartphones, personal computers, tablet devices, video games, etc. all use Wi-Fi to keep their users connected.
Instead of using the ethernet and a physical connection like wired equipment, wireless devices use microwaves that are transmitted from a hotspot that is at any distance between 66-feet indoors to larger distances outdoors and they don’t have physical connections.
It is really hard to determine the level of microwaves that are being absorbed by the human body. The amount of radio waves fluctuates according to the amount of data being transmitted to the user’s device. So, ultimately, the level of Wi-Fi related health risks are probably connected to the amount of data that is being used.
The Effects of Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi makes use of radio waves, which are the non-ionizing kind of radiation that is not strong enough to cause any major damage to the biological tissue. Non-ionizing radiation or electromagnetic radiation will not turn you into dust. When you use a microwave to heat up your food, it turns piping hot in a few minutes due to electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation. However, the microwave oven radiation is 10,000 times stronger than that of a Wi-Fi signal and so when compared to the health risk posed by electronic devices such as a microwave oven, the risk of Wi-Fi is minimal.
Wi-Fi Health Concerns
Studies have raised concerns that even a low-level of non-ionizing radiation Exposure can cause changes in the chromosome structure and researchers have linked Wi-Fi as being a cause of brain cancer, tumors and leukemia. However, there is no real evidence to support this hypothesis with respect to the Wi-Fi.
The main reason for the non-existence of any solid support for any of these theories is because Wi-Fi is a 2000’s phenomenon and there are no 20-year old studies that can establish the health risks of Wi-Fi. Also, these diseases are complex and develop over many decades and it is quite difficult to conclusively prove that increased Wi-Fi exposure is directly responsible for the cause of these diseases.
According to the U.K. Health Protection Agency, a person sitting for a year in a Wi-Fi hotspot will be exposed to the same amount of radiation as a person using a cell phone. However, if someone is sensitive to EMFs and have allergies due to radio waves, then they may have side effects due to Wi-Fi exposure too.
Some of the side effects due to exposure to Wi-Fi may include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Irregular heart rate
- Digestive problems
- Brain fog
- Probable variations in the brain function
- Likely links to cancer
- Likely neurological illnesses
- Probable irritable bowel disease
- Possible intestinal mucus lining damage
It is important to protect developing fetuses and children from radiation, as their developing bodies are more exposed to the dangers of radiation when compared to adults.
Reducing Wi-Fi Exposure
Although the exact effects of Wi-Fi radiation are not known, it is better to stay cautious and reduce the exposure to it as much as possible. Here are some ways by which you can reduce your entire family’s Wi-Fi exposure.
Switch off the Wi-Fi When Sleeping
It is a good idea to turn off the Wi-Fi when you go to sleep at night, as the Wi-Fi signal may disturb the brain while sleeping. This lets your body relax more deeply. Also, switching off the Wi-Fi at night before you go to sleep can reduce the exposure by around 33%. It may also be a great idea to switch off the Wi-Fi when it is not being used even during the day. You could opt for a Wi-Fi router that switches itself off automatically at night and switches on at a certain time in the day.
Children are at a greater risk of health and brain disorders when exposed to Wi-Fi environments for a long time. By turning off the Wi-Fi at night, you can reduce this risk and also discourage your child from using Wi-Fi devices for prolonged periods. Ensure that they don’t take these devices to bed with them and teach them to keep the devices as far away from their body as possible.
Switch on the Wi-Fi Only When Required
It is a good option to turn off the Wi-Fi for most of the day and turn it on only when you or your family members want to use the internet for a while. This will help to reduce your family’s Wi-Fi exposure to only a few hours daily.
Switch to Hardwired Connections
Probably switching to a hardwired connection and giving up your Wi-Fi usage completely is the healthiest possible option. Although this sounds impossible to achieve, it is possible and can help to prevent several health issues in the long run. Also, when you have a direct wired connection, you may have the advantage of faster internet speeds and a more reliable connection.
To do this, you can make use of ethernet cables, adaptors and an ethernet hub. It may also be a good idea to move to wired devices such as keyboards, headphones, a wired mouse, etc. instead of wireless options in order to reduce the EMF radiation.
Stop Adding Gadgets
Today, with wireless technology advancing so much, there are so many wireless devices available. Smart homes, smart offices and smart cars with wireless baby monitoring devices, Bluetooth controlled cookers, smart beds, etc. are taking over our lives. While extremely convenient, these are not very safe. All these devices and technologies are fairly new and we don’t really have an understanding of the consequences of these on our health in the long run. So, it is better to be cautious while converting all the things around us to wireless technology.
Use Devices in Airplane Mode
Smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. emit EMF while their receivers are switched on. And, since these devices are used very close to your bodies for long periods of time, the exposure to EMF is considerably high. Keeping these devices in airplane mode can help to cut down the EMF radiation, especially around kids.
Limit Your Wi-Fi Exposure
Limit the time you spend in front of your PC, tablet, gaming console or smartphone. If you spend most of your time on your desk glued to your computer, take time off and take short breaks while you work. Go outdoors, stretch your legs, take a brisk walk and get plenty of fresh air. This will not only help to clear the cobwebs from your brain but also give you some respite from Wi-Fi radiation exposure.
Mitigating the Detrimental Wi-Fi Exposure Effects
We live and work in an urban environment where it may be quite difficult to completely eliminate the exposure to Wi-Fi. Even if you do it in your personal setting, you may be exposed to the Wi-Fi radiations emanating from the neighborhood. So, apart from trying and reducing your Wi-Fi exposure, you can use various methods by which you can lessen the harmful effects of such exposure.
Using Dirty Electricity Filters
When electronic devices require manipulating the electric current into voltages and formats required by the respective devices, dirty electricity is produced, which can cause electrical surges in the wiring system. Devices such as computers, Wi-Fi routers, phone chargers produce dirty electricity which can be a source of EMF radiation. To reduce this effect, you can install dirty electricity filters on the outlets in your home and workplace.
Wireless devices produce positive ions which are unhealthy and can interfere with the waves in your body, such as the electric system which controls the working of the cells in the body, brain waves, etc. By using the process of earthing, the positive ions present in your body can be neutralized by the negative ions present in the earth that can help to lessen the dangerous effects of EMF radiations.
Earthing is a very simple process. All you have to do is stand barefoot for 20 minutes on the ground every day or you can make use of grounding shoes that has a piece of metal for earthing or make use of bed sheets that connect to the earthing port of the electrical outlets in your home.
Earthing also enables your body to get into sync with the earth’s electromagnetic frequency (7.83 Hz), known as the Schumann resonance. This has many health benefits and can also help to reduce problems such as blood pressure. By syncing your body to the earth’s natural frequency, you can alleviate the effects of Wi-Fi waves on your body functions.
Adding Negative Ions
Prolonged Wi-Fi exposure can cause positive ion build-up in the body that can cause inflammation. A great way to negate these positive ions is to expose yourself to negative ions regularly to neutralize the effect of these positive ions.
Negative ions can be found naturally in places where there is moving water such as moving streams, the beach, etc. You can also make use of a negative ion generator or a Himalayan salt lamp in your home to increase your exposure to negative ions and reduce the harmful effects due to exposure to Wi-Fi and other EMF radiations.
Some other ways in which you can protect yourself from the effects of Wi-Fi radiation are:
- Get regular exercise in fresh air.
- Limit the usage of your smartphone, tablets and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
- Keep the smartphone antenna away from your body.
- Keep your Wi-Fi router in a separate room.
- Keep away from points where the Wi-Fi originates and repeaters where the signal is quite strong.
- Use wired devices and accessories whenever possible.
- Keep all wireless devices at least around 6-feet away from your head while sleeping.
- Drink filtered water.
- Take multivitamins and ensure that you get adequate amounts of vitamins C, A, E and selenium.
- Have plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids through your diet or via supplements.
While Wi-Fi may not be completely safe, it is probably safer than mobile phone signals, which are far more powerful and affect your body constantly. As we mentioned earlier, while there is not much you can do to completely avoid exposure to Wi-Fi signals and even if you do manage to eliminate them completely from your home, you will still be exposed to the radiation from the houses around you. The only consolation is that since the signals are coming from farther away, their effect will be much lesser.
We may have to wait for a few more years before we know for sure the actual implications of prolonged exposure to Wi-Fi, we can always take the necessary precautions meanwhile to safeguard ourselves to mitigate the dangers of such exposure.
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