Sat, Nov 16, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Wi-Fi access points on city’s buses may harm health: TEPCA

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Claiming that Wi-Fi access points installed at the rear of buses in Taipei would cause a negative electromagnetic radiation effect on passengers, the Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association (TEPCA) yesterday urged the city government to post a warning notice near the back seats.

Members of the association said that by using electromagnetic radiation detectors to test the radiation levels close to the Wi-Fi access points, they had discovered that levels could reach as high as 10,000 to 100,000 times the background level.

“Wi-Fi is a possible carcinogen, and long-term exposure can cause headaches, anxiety, discomfort and may even cause cancer,” TEPCA director Jennifer Nien (粘麗玉) said. “It is not the correct decision to install Wi-Fi access points near bus drivers.”

However, she said passengers should also be warned about the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Wi-Fi access points by adding a warning notice such as: “Stay away” or “Avoid staying for too long” near the back seats of buses, stressing that especially pregnant women, children, elderly people and people suffering from illnesses should avoid the back seat.

At the association’s press conference yesterday, Taipei City Government Department of Information Technology Commissioner Chan Te-tsun (詹德存) said the Wi-Fi access points on the city’s buses have been examined by the National Communications Commission and the levels of electromagnetic waves emitted fall within the reference level stipulated by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).

There is no clear evidence that Wi-Fi signals harm human health, he said.

In tests held by members of the association on a bus yesterday, the results showed the levels to be below the EPA’s reference level, so Chan said it was unnecessary to post warning notices that may cause panic.

However, TEPCA board member Wu Li-hui (吳麗慧) said the measurements used by the city government and the association were different and that may cause the public to underestimate the levels of electromagnetic radiation that they are being exposed to.

Nien said TEPCA would invite Taipei City Government officials to conduct joint tests to confirm the actual levels of electromagnetic radiation emitted.

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