Home > Environment, Health, World of the Strange – Weird Science > The debate over wireless safety is not going away.

The debate over wireless safety is not going away.

By Tom Blackwell 11th August 2012.

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Every week now, Dr. Riina Bray sees two or three new patients with a similar array of ailments and ends up blaming the same, controversial cause.

Suffering from stabbing headaches, “brain fog,” tinnitus or extreme fatigue, their symptoms seem linked to exposure to Wi-Fi routers, cellphone towers and other sources of radio-frequency radiation, says the environmental health specialist at Toronto’s prestigious Women’s College Hospital.

Dr. Bray’s clinic may be the only mainstream medical facility in Canada that routinely treats patients for a condition known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity. She recently held a seminar to educate physicians about what she calls a major and fast-growing public-health menace, paralleling the explosion of wireless technology in Western society.

“Every year we are getting more and more people coming in,” said Dr. Bray. “I’m very concerned, because the stories are very, very compelling … These are not crazy people. There is a huge, huge problem.”

She advocates major changes to how telecommunications and computer technology are used, such as moving to more hard-wired communication devices.

Yet the idea that radio waves could cause health problems — especially conditions like those Dr. Bray’s patients describe — is a matter of heated debate among scientists. The symptoms her patients report are undoubtedly real, and sometimes debilitating, but a string of studies has found no real evidence that the trigger is exposure to wireless waves, says a top environmental-health doctor with the Ontario government.

Even as another branch of the government funds treatment of electromagnetic hypersensitivity at Women’s College, Dr. Ray Copes questions whether doctors should be promoting the diagnosis in the absence of proof.

“You have to be very careful as a scientific, medical authority figure that you don’t provide an outside reinforcement of beliefs that might be quite sincere, but lack scientific evidence,” said Dr. Copes, environmental health director with the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion. “You don’t want to reinforce disability, and you don’t want people to put themselves in tighter and tighter boxes with regards to their daily activities.”

  1. September 10, 2012 at 8:54 pm


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