There are currently reports circulating on the internet about a study showing that the electromagnetic radiation from wi-fi routers could contribute to the development of autism.
The study in question was conducted by Dr. George Carlo
and published in Australasian Journal of Clinical Environmental Medicine. In his research Dr. Carlo tested children with autism during 2005 and 2006 before concluding that radiation from mobile phones and Wi-Fi could account for the recent increases in the prevalence of autism around the world.
He said, "The electromagnetic radiation apparently causes the metals to be trapped in cells, slowing clearance and accelerating the onset of [autism] symptoms."
I was initially sceptical about the reliability of this research as I had never heard of the Australasian Journal of Clinical Environmental Medicine or the organization that publishes it, the Australasian College of
Nutritional & Environmental Medicine Inc. After a little digging however, I am now more convinced.
It turns out that Dr. Carlo is a leading expert in wireless radiation and its health effects having headed Wireless Technology Research (WTR ) in the 19990s. WTR was a non-profit organization set up by the telecommunications industry themselves to investigate claims that mobile phone use could be damaging to people's health (Wi-Fi was obviously not in use at this time).
According to the Life Extension Foundation (LEF): "Under Dr. Carlo's direction, scientists found that cell phone radiation caused DNA damage, impaired DNA repair, and interfered with cardiac pacemakers." They go on to report that research conducted in Europe confirmed these findings and that there is also evidence, "that cell phone radiation contributes to brain dysfunction, tumors, and potentially to conditions such as autism, attention deficit disorder, neurodegenerative disease, and behavioral and psychological problems."
The telecommunications industry was not happy with what Dr. Carlo and his colleagues were finding (understandably) so reported sought to discredit him. Dr. Carlo later went on to bring his research findings to the attention of the public by writing a book entitled 'Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age', and creating the Safe Wireless Initiative and the Mobile Telephone Health Concerns Registry.
Despite this work the stance of government and regulatory agencies in most countries remains that there is no evidence that wireless devices pose any risk to human health. Here in the UK there is the rather contradictory guidance that children under a certain age should not use mobile phones and older children should only use them infrequently. There are also signs that the scramble to install Wi-Fi networks in schools may come to a halt as concerns about their sofety continue to grow.
So the waters remain very muddy on this whole issue and the question remains: Could Wi-Fi be causing autism?
For more information on this subject and on Dr. Carlo, see this fantastic article on the LEF website.
About: Matthew Hogg ("Maff")
Diagnosed with M.E./chronic fatigue syndrome aged only 11 years old and subsequently associated illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Despite his own struggles he has constantly sought to educate and support others suffering from such "invisible illnesses" through his website, The Environmental Illness Resource. He fully recovered from MCS using his own approach and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutritional Health.