Parents Of Boy With Tumour Want Wi-fi Out of School

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A Kapiti Coast school is surveying parents about plans for classroom wi-fi after a young pupil died from brain cancer.

The parents of Ethan Wyman, who died 11 months after being diagnosed with two brain tumours, want wi-fi removed from classrooms at Te Horo School.

The board of trustees has now sent out a survey to all parents, after the Wymans expressed fears that the radiation effect of wi-fi could be linked to cancer.

But the Ministry of Education, which has been at community meetings held by the school alongside the Ministry of Health, says research shows wi-fi is safe.

Damon Wyman, who still has two children at the school, says Ethan was diagnosed with the tumours three months after he was given a wi-fi-connected iPod.

Written By: Michelle Duff
continue to source article at stuff.co.nz

34 COMMENTS

  1. I’m no doctor, but is three months enough to get cancer from wi-fi waves (I call them wi-fi waves because I don’t know their correct designation, I apologise for my ignorance)? I have a general idea that they aren’t that harmful, like radio waves and the like.

    • In reply to #2 by Dreamweaver:

      I’m no doctor, but is three months enough to get cancer from wi-fi waves (I call them wi-fi waves because I don’t know their correct designation, I apologise for my ignorance)? I have a general idea that they aren’t that harmful, like radio waves and the like.

      IF Wi-Fi was that harmful, would not millions be affected after decades of exposure?

      Please point out the error in my thinking…

    • In reply to #2 by Dreamweaver:

      I’m no doctor, but is three months enough to get cancer from wi-fi waves…

      WiFi is radio waves, which are not in the “ionizing radiation” category. They are similar to microwaves. A wifi field as provided by a wireless router is weak… it only has to be strong enough to be detected by the receiver in the iPod. The emission from the iPod (iPad, tablet… whatever) has to be somewhat stronger to be able to be received by the router. There is the “inverse square” factor affecting the strength of the signal. Since wifi is usually restricted to a fairly small area (a room or 2 or 3, or maybe an entire small building), these signals are not that powerful. The emission from a cell phone would be much stronger, since the signal must reach a tower that may be a significant distance away. (This is one reason BlueTooth headsets are sometimes recommended as a way of reducing the electromagnetic radiation reaching the brain, since BlueTooth only has to travel a meter or so to reach the phone which is located away from the head (closer to the genitals!).

      As for the tumor, it started out as a single cell and had to multiply many, many times before it started causing signs and symptoms. So it had to be developing before he got the iPod.

      It’s a very sad thing, though, to lose a child to a disease like cancer. I feel very sad for the parents. They want to do something to help prevent others from having the same tragedy, but they’re barking up the wrong tree.

      Steve

      • In reply to #6 by Agrajag:

        In reply to #2 by Dreamweaver:

        When my mom learned I have Cowden’s disease, she started talking virtually all the day round about poor queen of Victoria who is said to be blamed for spreading haemophilia, and it did not help that I kept telling that such things (deleterious mutations) just happen. Parents are so f… self-centered. Instead of helping their offspring.
        >

        I’m no doctor, but is three months enough to get cancer from wi-fi waves…

        WiFi is radio waves, which are not in the “ionizing radiation” category. They are similar to microwaves. A wifi field as provided by a wireless router is weak… it only has to be strong enou…

    • In reply to #2 by Dreamweaver:

      I’m no doctor, but is three months enough to get cancer from wi-fi waves (I call them wi-fi waves because I don’t know their correct designation, I apologise for my ignorance)? I have a general idea that they aren’t that harmful, like radio waves and the like.

      Brain tumars, including most malignant grow very slowly, and, in addition, many genes are know, mutations of whic increase risk of brain tumors.

    • In reply to #2 by Dreamweaver:

      I’m no doctor, but is three months enough to get cancer from wi-fi waves (I call them wi-fi waves because I don’t know their correct designation, I apologise for my ignorance)? I have a general idea that they aren’t that harmful, like radio waves and the like.

      Nope. Three months isn’t enough for wi-fi waves. 300 years isn’t enough either.

      If three months is enough then I’d be nearly pure tumor since I’ve been running 802.11 since 2001. I’ve been blanketed in wi-fi radiation since B was cutting edge (before G was in draft).

      Chicken little idiots that don’t fully understand the tech or item they’re demonizing need to STFU and stay in the hen-house.

  2. I do love a good knee-jerk, especially when it threatens education

    Ethan was diagnosed with the tumours three months after he was given a wi-fi-connected iPod.

    oh ok that’s as conclusive as anyone needs to be. better check for any other forms of radiation, cellphones, fluorescent lighting, proximity to the cosmos…

    I say put every child in a sealled lead box for 18 years.

    • In reply to #4 by SaganTheCat:

      I say put every child in a sealled lead box for 18 years.

      Now that would seriously irradiate the buggers, given that all the “old” Lead has been mined and the newer Lead still contains a fair bit of Uranium decay products……

  3. This is an after “A” therefore because of “A” fallacy. Clearly every child exposed to Wi-Fi has not come down with a tumour. A vast number of cell communications, internet signals, TV transmissions that fly through our bodies every day, yet city folk are not dropping in the streets from radiation induced lymphomas. As my old physics teacher used to say, three points does not a line make and in this instance you have one (and that’s at best dubious and anecdotal). Every sympathy for the young man but I fear the parents will have to move to a deep mine shaft and live in one of those shielded dark matter detectors to avoid this kind of radiation completely.

  4. Currently WiFi signals are one tenth of a mobile phone in power and the frequency is at the top end of the range of frequencies used by mobile phones. Generally irradiation from either device will fall off as the distance squared and a phone held to the head might be considered as being about half the phone thickness away, or certainly less than 20mm. On this basis the irradiation a WiFi aerial 1m away will irradiate 4e-5 times less. Though exposure to WiFi is continual, proximity will rarely if ever be at this 1m distance. At 10m the irradiance will be 4e-7times.

    WHO rate cell phone irradiation in the same carcinogenic category as coffee (2B).A millionth of a cup of coffee is not too scary, I think. (British medical opinion diverges from this view as the appropriate cancer rate has not risen in line with this categorisation and given the rate of personal phone use..)

  5. Correlation does not imply causation.

    For the life of me I have no idea why the school would footbullet itself into an unmanageable and unnecessary controversy. Nothing productive can come out of soliciting parent opinions on a policy that clearly should keep context in perspective, focus on facts and avoid conjecture and speculation.

    This is how denier movements start.

    • In reply to #10 by woefulb:

      Has someone checked this parent for brain damage?

      A bit harsh of a judgment, I think. These parents lost their child to a vicious illness and are grieving terribly. One way to respond to that grief is to seek something or someone to blame. The problem, judging from the article, is that the school is enabling these parents’ attempt to make sense of their loss where no sense or purpose actually exists. Making matters worse, the school is dragging other parents in the enabling process.

      It’s similar to Jenny McCarthy. At the root of it all, I believe, the issue is that Ms. McCarthy cannot accept that she gave birth to an “different” child and found a self-inflicted-guilt-shifting supporting audience in the anti-vax movement. My two cents which might not even be worth that much.

  6. “Ethan was diagnosed with the tumours three months after he was given a wi-fi-connected iPod.”

    Oh, that’ll be it then. Not “what he had for breakfast” or any other reason that might (if only marginally) be more plausible. Because woo needs a scapegoat.

    It’s only 118 years since Marconi first broadcast a radio signal, and obviously people have been dropping like flies ever since.

    How many commercial radio stations can be picked up in this school… probably with stronger signals?

  7. It is worth reading the source article. Apparently the parents were unaware that their child was sleeping with his iPod under his pillow. While this by no means definitively links radiation to the brain tumours, if one is at all concerned, it is an obvious thing to avoid.

    It also places some onus on the parents, and removes any question of removing wifi from the school.

    For parents grieving their child’s death, the idea that they may be in part responsible, probably not, but that is what they may be thinking, will only deepen their sorrow.

    Parents who pump crap food into their kids, who let them sit for hours watching the idiot box, who permit fanatics to tell them about eternal torment, take note. There are many new and real threats to children’s health, mental as well as physical that genuinely must be guarded against. Wifi is not one of them, other than some of the content it transmits.

  8. The article makes several statements that scare folks, but should not. First, as Agrajag pointed out, while these radio waves radiate, they are not the ionizing radiation that comes to mind when people talk about harmful “radiation.” Next, as Phil pointed out, these signals are much less powerful than your cell phone, which is why you need a router station close by. Then, the idea that an iPod is putting out any significant power when it is on standby is ridiculous. WiFi devices with nothing to transmit spend almost all their time (if turned on) listening for the signals from the router stations (properly called Access Points or APs). If no AP is heard, the devices may send out active scanning packets to try to get a response. I don’t know if his iPod model did active scanning on standby or not, but even if it did, the scan packets (called Probe Requests) are tiny (video on all that here if you want) on the order of 50 bytes (not kbytes or mbytes, just bytes) and it takes less than a thousandth of a second to send them all. So you have much less power than a cell phone to start with, and then instead of being on constantly, it is sending out a tiny burst of that low power for less than a millisecond every few seconds. There simply is not enough energy available from that signal to make anything happen in living tissue, even if you sleep with it taped to the side of your head.

    Princeton University studied this safety issue for their own students and staff and concluded:

    It is the general consensus of the scientific community that the level of RF exposure due to wireless networks is so low compared to the many other RF sources in the modern environment that health concerns from WiFi exposure are not an issue. The results of the survey of Firestone Library support the data and conclusions from other WiFi surveys. We can reasonably say that the wireless networks present at Princeton University do not present a hazard to persons working or otherwise spending time in University buildings.

  9. This type of energy is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum ranges from gamma rays which have extraordinary energy and very small wavelength all the way to radio waves which have low energy but very large wavelengths (they are inversely related).

    Visible light is also part of this spectrum (as are microwaves, UV rays, X-rays, infra red, as other types of electromagnetic energies.

    To my knowledge, the forms that cause cancer through DNA damage are those that have more energy than the visible spectrum. The devices in question are powered by and emit energies in the energy ranges below visible light. In fact, visible light has hundreds of millions of times more energy than the energy emitted by these devices.

    It is a “goldilocks principle”. Visible light excites electrons enough to shoot them up energy orbitals. UV has enough energy to dislodge the electrons and “blow up” organic molecules. All infra red does is jiggle things and heat them. Below infra red does not have the energy to affect organic molecules.

    So, to my knowledge, there is no scientific reason that can be proffered that would make sense of the energy from these devices having impact upon organic molecules. If this was the case, then infra red and the light we see and that powers photosynthesis would cause lots more problems than the devices would.

    There is a threshold that above the threshold, he energy is too “hot”. Visible is “just right”. But, sorry, the porridge is too cold when it comes to radio waves etc…

  10. Human cognition treats small data sets as significant, it is favoured by evolution for inclusive fitness and drives our exploration for information but leaves us all susceptible to the hot hand, base rate and pro hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacies. If it hadn’t been wifi it would have been a change in diet or a vaccination or similar.

  11. And then there was the kid who was diagnosed with leukaemia three months after he got glasses. Ban glasses.

    And then there was the kid who was diagnosed with epilepsy three months after starting to use pencils at school. Ban pencils.

    And then…

    • In reply to #22 by Aztek:

      And then there was the kid who was diagnosed with leukaemia three months after he got glasses. Ban glasses.

      And then there was the kid who was diagnosed with epilepsy three months after starting to use pencils at school. Ban pencils.

      And then…

      And then there was the kid who went blind 3 months after discovering masturbation!!!

  12. And then there was the kid who was diagnosed with leukaemia three months after he got glasses. Ban glasses.

    And then there was the kid who was diagnosed with epilepsy three months after starting to use pencils at school. Ban pencils.

    And then…

  13. First those parents need to scientifically PROVE that wi-fi signals are carcinogenic.
    Mere coincidence of the presence of wi-fi, and their kid getting cancer is NOT proof.
    Douchenozzles like them need to learn when the burden of proof is upon THEM, not the school.
    Note also that NONE of the other kids got cancer. Also note that there is a greater abundance of PAPER, yet they only attack the thing they don’t understand and/or can’t see (wi-fi). It’s also funny that they don’t attack LEARNING since teaching is also in abundance in the school, and both the tumors and his education affected his brain.

  14. Why would you blame it on the WiFi when I’m sure the child had been around it most of his life? If anything, following their line of thought, shouldn’t they want iPods banned?

    How about we ban people like this from having kids?

  15. This and homeopathy and vaccine fear and climate denial are all birds of a feather that flock together because of the general lack of public understanding of science. Doing something about that lack falls on each of us through demands we make of our educational systems, and whatever we can do to speak up for science in the public square.

    • In reply to #31 by Quine:

      Doing something about that lack falls on each of us through demands we make of our educational systems

      Absolutely. But there is perhaps one other thing rampant in the US and pretty bad in the UK that adds a pull towards ignorance. It is that the principle of freedom of choice has run riot in areas where it shouldn’t. In the one area, science, we have the only area where we can more freely trust a process and we should be prepared to cede this right to freedom of choice to it in a suitably measured manner. It is the one area where conspiracy cannot thrive and the one area where the majority consensus of those trained for it is always the best option for any not trained.

      The idea that science is always wrong, always needs fixing, but is always less wrong than any other thing and we should cleave to it as a matter of first and last resort in preference to our wishes but that it is a bedrock from which we may then wish is the sort of attitude we would do well to cultivate in our children.

      Science is less wrong.

  16. Thanks Agrajag for the technical bits!

    Also let us look at mobile phones and microwave ovens!

    Phones emit highest power when the signal from the local transmitter is lower, indicating it is farther away. Therefore will cause more harm! So to decrease the effects of the radiation on your brain use wired handsfree kit or use the speaker phone.

    Microwave ovens use a Magnetron device (similar to what is used on some older RADAR units etc. ) These use approx the same frequency as wifi units (2.4 GHertz). Connect to your wifi and then activate your M-oven. It will tend to jam your wifi signal even though its “supposed” to be sheilded. Do an internet search for “bad things about M-ovens” they are scary things!

    All in all there are worse things to worry about than the local wifi in a room!
    So this is just another knee jerk reaction by people, modern society is not a healthy place with all of out tech, so lets get the Aluminium foil wrapped around our heads!! He hee

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