Apparently Tinfoil Is Also Prohibitively Expensive In Santa Fe

Anti-wi-fi Luddism is not, as it turns out, confined to Sebastopol. Now it's raised its science-scorning head in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

One Santa Fe resident told local TV station KOB-TV that Wi-Fi and the electromagnetic fields it radiates are causing him severe discomfort and that he's stumping to ban Wi-Fi signals in public buildings because he and others are allergic to the radio waves.

"I get chest pain," Arthur Firstenberg told the TV station. "It doesn't go away right away. I suffer for a couple of days."

Firstenberg, 57, added: "If I walk into a room of a building that has Wi-Fi, my most immediate sign is that the front of my right thigh goes numb. If I don't leave, I'll get short of breath, chest pains and the numbness will spread."

Let me be the first asshole to tell Firstenberg that my God-given right to watch streaming YouTube videos wherever I please outweighs his right not to have his fucking thumb tingle.

Look, there's simply no proof that Wi-Fi causes physical ailments other than carpal tunnel syndrome and head contusions from my wife hitting me from using the laptop too much. Even the notorious hand-wringers at WHO are uncharacteristically clear (from a bureaucratic frame of reference) on that:

The World Health Organization, while acknowledging that some symptoms may be attributable to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, said little is known about Wi-Fi and its link to a possible allergic reaction.

"EHS [electromagnetic hypersensitivity] is characterized by a variety of nonspecific symptoms that differ from individual to individual," the WHO states on its Web site. "The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity. Whatever its cause, EHS can be a disabling problem for the affected individual. EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF [electromagnetic field] exposure. Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem."

WHO even conducted a useful experiment:

But, according to the WHO, laboratory studies have found no true link between the symptoms and exposure to EMFs or Wi-Fi.

"The majority of studies indicate that EHS individuals cannot detect EMF exposure any more accurately than non-EHS individuals," the WHO said. "Well-controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that symptoms were not correlated with EMF exposure."

And you know that you are in tinfoil territory when even WHO suggests that your problem may not be physical:

"There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects, rather than EMF exposure itself."

Nonetheless, can anti-Wi-Fi lawsuits be far behind?

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. tgb says

    I avoid businesses that offer wi-fi because I heard it's bad for my cell phone-induced brain cancer.

  2. N says

    Where's the burden of proof? WiFi is definitely useful (but my useage is purely for entertainment purposes — likely it's more utilitarian for police officers, or some other lines of work). Is the burden of proof on those who need to show that it definitely is dangerous, or is it a technology which shouldn't be widespread until it is shown that it definitely isn't dangerous?



    Coal-fired plants?

  3. says

    Is it possible to prove the negative? I think it's more logical to put the burden on someone asserting that it's dangerous.

  4. says

    WiFi does nothing that many, many other radio broadcasting technologies don't. There's no good scientific reason to assume that it's unsafe, and the people who are asserting that it's unsafe have no evidence. When there's no theoretical basis to assume negative effects and the people who claim negative effects fail to demonstrate them in controlled situations, that's about as definitive as you get, no?