Research in the Netherlands suggested outbreaks of bleeding bark and dying leaves which have blighted the country's urban trees may be caused by radiation from the Wi-Fi networks now so integral to life in offices, schools and homes.
As a qualified electronics engineer, I have long been concerned about the harmful effects of the electromagnetic radiation emitted not only by Wi-Fi devices but many other common modern gadgets, including mobile and cordless phones, wireless games consoles and microwave ovens.
What really unnerves me is the effect these electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are having on humans, surrounding us with a constant cloud of electrosmog.
Useful yet harmful
When I started work in the 1960s, I was involved in building walkie-talkies. I thought they were just brilliant. However, over the decades since, my scientific background has made it impossible for me to ignore the evidence about the damage wreaked by electrosmog.
It is not the existence of these radio waves that is the problem so much as the use we make of them. Rather than being emitted at a constant rate, technology demands they are pulsed in short and frequent bursts, which are far more harmful.
EMFs affect the brain, suppressing production of melatonin, the hormone that determines whether we feel happy or sad.
In 2004, researchers at the University of Malaga found that significant exposure to EMFs increases the chances of developing depression 40-fold.
They also linked electrosmog to headaches, irritability, unusual tiredness and sleeping disorders.
This has been confirmed in research by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Sponsored by leading mobile-phone companies, it showed that using handsets just before going to bed caused people to take longer to reach deeper stages of sleep. They also spent less time in each of these stages and this interfered with the body's ability to repair damage suffered during the day.
This is alarming given the tendency for teenagers and children to sleep with their mobile phones under the pillows so they can answer late-night texts from friends.
A recent study at the Institute of Environmental Medicine in Sweden confirmed that exposure to EMFs accelerates brain degeneration.
My aim is to inform people about the risks so they can take precautions. Not everyone will want to follow my example. Because of our concerns about electrosmog, my wife and I have moved to a cottage in Scotland out of range of any mobile-phone network.
But there are small steps which we can all take. We should try to use hands-free sets.
We should also avoid cordless phones. Their base stations transmit 100 pulses a second, 24x7, even if you're not using the phone, and at power levels equivalent to having a small mobile phone mast in your home.
You might also consider whether you really need wireless internet access in your home. One option is to buy dLAN adaptors, which transmit the internet signal around the house by way of ordinary electrical wiring.
Undoubtedly, such changes will require small adjustments to our modern lifestyles. However, in the long run, these are surely sacrifices well worth making.
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