Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Paris WiFi switched off

Libraries switch off wi-fi internet
June 04, 2008

Four libraries in Paris have turned off their wi-fi internet connections

after staff claimed they were causing health problems.

The latest to shut down its wireless network is the wireless
Sainte-Genevieve university library in the 5th arrondissement
after a member of staff threatened to take early retirement
on health grounds.

The library has had wi-fi installed since the end of 2007. All computer
users will now have to plug their laptops into the conventional fixed-line

In his letter to his employers, the shop worker stated: "Over the last few
months, and increasingly over the last few weeks, I have suffered strong
symptoms associated with the wi-fi network.

"Other sources of electromagnetic radiation, including mobile phones,
have also played a part."

"Symptoms have included headaches, balance problems, general
weakness, stress and sight problems."

A spokesman for the library confirmed the wi-fi had been switched
off while associated health problems were investigated.

Spokesman for Agir Pour L'Environnement, an environmental pressure
group, Stéphane Kerckhove supported the decision.

He said: "Some people insist that the symptoms are psychosomatic.
This could be the cause but at the moment there is absolutely no proof
of that.

"Wi-fi is a recent invention, and in the long term no one knows what the
health effects are going to be.

"If there are complaints, and a library is equipped to give a fixed-line
internet service, then it is better to be safe than sorry and protect the
health of library workers until we know what the health effects are."


WiFi in Libraries Blamed for Health Maladies in Paris

June 4, 2008

To many people, the idea that wireless networks cause health problems seems wacky.

But four libraries in Paris have switched off their wireless connections after staff members complained that electromagnetic radiation from the networks was the source of their health problems, according to an article today in the newspaper, The Connexion.

The article states that the latest library to turn off the service is at Sainte-Geneviève University. The action was taken after a staff member threatened to take early retirement on health grounds. He said his symptoms included "headaches, balance problems, general weakness, stress and sight problems." But he also blamed electromagnetic radiation from cell phones for his maladies.

College employees in North America, too, have raised health concerns about wireless networks. A library director at Southwestern College, in Santa Fe, N.M., left her job last year, saying the wireless network played a role in her insomnia. And two years ago the president of Lakehead University, in Ontario, prohibited his institution from deploying a wireless network across campus citing concerns about students' health.

Despite these worries, the Centers for Disease Control says scientific research does not indicate "a significant association between cell phone use and health effects." Cell phones also emit electromagnetic radiation. But an article in Tuesday's New York Times points out that three prominent neurosurgeons do not hold cell phones to their ears in order to reduce their brains' exposure to radiation.—Andrea L. Foster

Posted on Wednesday June 4, 2008