Is Wi-Fi (WIFI) a health risk to a Newborn Baby or You?

Recently I upgraded my WIFI (Wi-Fi) router to a model known as ‘Dark Knight’. (RT-N66U)  This is the router that can reach 450ft range, voted best router of the year by multiple magazines in 2013 and it just looks amazing.  As soon as I installed this router, I saw difference in wireless service.  I can walk out to the street and get almost full bar and doesn’t matter where I am in the house, I’m getting a full signal which made me very happy with its performance.

'Dark Knight'
‘Dark Knight’

Because I work with X-ray devices, I’m used to working with radiation and I’m also familiar with small headache that comes when you’re shooting X-rays around you for a while.  These are usually harmless because you’re far away enough and you’re wearing lead apron but I believe it’s your body reacting to the radiation to warn you.  (or it could be in your head)  Anyway, during the setup of this router, I placed it next to my keyboard to be connected to my PC via Ethernet cable for its initial setup.  And after awhile I felt this similar headache appearing on my head.  This made me start to wonder the effect and radiation strength of the WIFI and its effect to our bodies, especially for a newborn that we’re expecting in few months.

When people use word ‘radiation’, most of us get scared and feel like they have to avoid it.  But the fact of the matter is, radiation isn’t something we can avoid nor run away from.  Everything around us emits radiation; starting from sunlight, your desktop or laptop PC, cell phones, home wireless phones, microwave oven, baby monitor, Wi-Fi thermostat, and the list goes on endlessly.  What’s important is understanding which radiation is harmful and what you should do.

Photograph: Flickr/ardenswayoflife
Photograph: Flickr/ardenswayoflife

If you look at website SafeSpace, they offer an article about EMF and significant danger your WIFI poses because it operates on the same frequency as your microwave oven which we all know can be very harmful.  And quick Google search reveals about.com discussion page where many people shared their haunting experiences with wireless router and how it’s ‘killing them’ according to one of featured responses.  SafeSpace doesn’t leave you hanging though.  While urgently warning you about effect of microwaving your health with your wireless router, they provide a solution; a list of products that turns harmful WIFI signal to harmless rays.  You can even wear them as a pendant for personal protection!!!  At this point, I started to wonder if I need to furnish myself and my upcoming newborn with tinfoil hats?

Radiation?  Probably not from your router...
Radiation? Probably not from your router…

And then there was articles like TheGuardian.com where they casually talked about some of scientific language like ionizing and non-ionizing radiation along with sarcastic comments about need to wear tinfoil hats.  It took me a while to find a site that explains differences between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation along with power rating of routers in the real life settings at Wifi related discussion @ HowToGeek.com.  My router ‘Dark Knight’ comes with wireless power settings that can be set up to 200mW.  This is the number a HowToGeek response used.  Even at maximum power of 200mW or fraction of 1W (= 1000mW) is extremely small amount of radiation compare to what microwave oven uses. (typically 800~1,500W)  So it seems like using your router is not the same thing as running microwave with its door open based on its power rating along.  (close to 1/10,000 of radiation)

And I don’t think I’ll buy ‘wave altering pendant’ to protect myself from 1/10,000 of microwave radiation that’s filling my room, and you shouldn’t either.

We obviously need to make our own decision as which story to believe and choose best option to keep ourselves safe.  But what I learned from this journey of WIFI health risk search is try not to keep router right next to where you’ll be sitting the whole day + perhaps turn off your router at night when no one is using it unless if you have a setup like I do where every night at 3am, my computer server starts its daily backup/sync of their HDDs.  At the end of the day, at least to me, Wi-Fi seems like one of the least of our worries because according to TheGuardian article, a 20 minute conversation on your cell phone against your face emits more radiation than a wireless router can emit in a whole year.  So while I’ll be more exclusively using my Bluetooth headset, I’m also going to Amazon.com to find a holster for my second phone to avoid keeping my cell phone in my pants.  (I currently have two cell phones and one holster)

Let me know how you’re going to prepare for this madness!

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