Wireless broadband Internet access is all the rage. The noise is drowning out concerns for this technology's risks.
Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love is going to have it; many in San Francisco want it: wireless broadband Internet access (WiFi)1 seems too good to be true. At relatively low cost, anyone can get on the Internet anywhere in a city. All the city needs to do is install a network of WiFi antennas. An often-repeated argument in favor of citywide WiFi is that it will help close the digital divide, since the poorer you are, the more limited your access to the Internet and its wealth of information resources. Cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco are actively trying to close the digital gap. One option is WiFi.
Yet, in weighing the options, virtually nothing is heard about the potential health risks. Saturating an entire city with WiFi adds to the existing burden of radio frequency radiation (RFR). That burden, called electrosmog2 by some, consists of long-term, low-level exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation in the radio frequency and microwave range from familiar sources like radio and TV broadcast signals, radar, and the ubiquitous cell phone.