Aug 12, 2009

Human antenna

When you call me these days, you may notice that I'm more present. You won't hear the sound of washing dishes or putting away laundry, won't catch me checking emails while you pour your heart out, and I sure won't be up the ladder picking plums with the cordless squeezed between my shoulder and ear. I'll be sitting on a chair in the main hallway of our house, with nothing better to do than talk to you.

You see, there's a $120 box of Future Shop wireless phones sitting unopened on our counter. It'll be returned the next time I screw up my courage to go into that scary Big Box. We've gone back to an old-fashioned $3 corded phone from Salvation Army.

While this radical experiment has turned out to be yet another marker in our quest for simplicity, and has yielded the usual unexpected benefits of slowing down and remaining in the moment, the real reason for turning away from wireless was health concerns.

In just my grandma's lifetime, our species has gone from one with virtually zero electrical exposure to a massive overdose. The average home has wireless internet, phones, remote controls, alarm systems, invisible pet fences, i-tune systems, even Sarah's computer mouse and keyboard and speakers, that deliberately and constantly send electro-magnetic waves through through our brains and bodies. How many wireless signals can one body transmit?

Every google-able article online says there is no evidence directly linking this massive new electro-magnetic (ie, radiation) invasion of our bodies with the massive increase in cancer, autism, heart attacks, stress, ADD, SAD, etc etc etc that mark our increasingly sick society. But there was no evidence either for asbestos, for lead-based paint, for mercury-based vaccinations, for second-hand tobacco smoke, for... One university has refused to go wireless simply because

there are many environmental impacts that are not manifest for 30 to 40 years after exposure. "Second-hand tobacco exposure is a case in point," he said. "We're just finding out now what some of those impacts are. Asbestos is another example."

"These are particularly relevant in younger people (who have) fast-growing tissues, and most of our student body are late teenagers and still growing, so it's just a matter of taking precautions and providing an environment that doesn't have a potential risk associated risk," he said.

Another online article about a UK movement to ban wi-fi in schools writes of the similar lack of knowledge:
Virtually no studies have been carried out into Wi-Fi's effects on pupils, but it gives off radiation similar to emissions from mobile phones and phone masts.

Recent research has linked radiation from mobiles to cancer and to brain damage. And many studies have found disturbing symptoms in people near masts.

Professor Olle Johansson, of Sweden's prestigious Karolinska Institute, who is deeply concerned about the spread of Wi-Fi, says there are "thousands" of articles in scientific literature demonstrating "adverse health effects." He adds: "Do we not know enough already to say, 'Stop!'?"

In the absence of reliable scientific evidence (and sometimes in the face of it), we have to go with what makes sense. My gut tells me it can't be good to expose ourselves so much. When I see my kids holding an electromagnetic gun to their precious brains as they talk to grandma, it doesn't feel right. Why take the risk?

It also doesn't feel necessary. We had one phone jack in the kitchen growing up, and somehow made due with winding up the extra-long cord that stretched down the hall to my bedroom for those calls to my high school girlfriend. Do we really need to be able to sit anywhere in the house or yard to gab on the phone or check emails, rather than a few designated outlets?

The last straw leading to this decision was a comment by an enthusiastic man in the parking lot: "If you hold your car alarm clicker up to your chin, the signal carries farther. Your body acts as a transmitter." He said it like a cool scientific fact - the kind they put in modern kids' magazines - but I think it's downright scary.

So bye bye cordless phones, and hopefully wi-fi internet. You can go back to the Big Box from whence you came, and stop using my child's temple of a body as your transmitter tower.


  1. Interesting point of view. Sounds quite reasonable, wow. We do not even realize how dangerous all our daily used devices might be. Just like we had no idea how dangerous asbestos or tobacco smoke are. However, imagining our lives without all the tools is difficult, right?

    Best regards, Julie

  2. In case you didn't notice, I put up a new posting on Sept.8 about scientific evidence backing up all my paranoid fears above. Great source of info: