Arts ontwikkelt hartritmestoornis na installatie draadloos netwerk

woensdag, 08 november 2006 - Categorie: Verhalen

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Last July, out of the blue I developed a disruption to my heart rhythm. As a qualified, but non-registered, Doctor I considered possible causes, such as caffeine intake, tiredness, high blood pressure, or the onset of menopausal symptoms.

Being slight of frame, with normal to low blood pressure and excellent general health, I reasoned the ectopic beats and variable pulse rate would probably go away with a reduction in my tea and coffee, and a little rest.

Over the next 6 weeks, the arrhythmia continued to the point where I was aware of it for the majority of the day. I also experienced disturbance to my sleep, waking in the early hours and then being unable to fall asleep again. From the tightness of my upper chest I knew I was not getting enough oxygen.

I was very reluctant to consult a doctor, aware of the investigations it would initiate, and also of the many drugs in the armoury for treating arrhythmias with their multitude of side effects. There was no precipitating factor I could identify that would afflict a fit 49 year old, with no pre-existing heart or respiratory problems, in this way.

On the verge of making an appointment with my GP, I linked the onset of my symptoms to our acquisition of a laptop with a wireless modem situated in the hallway. This ''base station'' had been transmitting microwaves 24 hours/day at a frequency of 2.4GHz, extending to a radius of 150 feet.

We disconnected the wireless base station, replacing it with a fixed line. Within 3 weeks I was totally free of any abnormality as detected by pulse or symptoms, my sleep settled back to normal, as did my energy levels.

On consideration, during the summer others in my family of 5 have been abnormally fatigued with disturbed sleep patterns. My 18 year old daughter had an episode of extreme dizziness lasting a whole day after close contact with the transmitter. My 22 year old son similarly experienced vomiting and vertigo, disabling him for a day after spending 2 hours within feet of the apparatus.

The base station is marketed by NET GEAR and is a Wireless ADSL Modem Gateway DG824M. These (and similar) are being placed in the foyers of airports, and hotels, in GP's surgeries, coffee shops and student halls of residence, so individuals can use their laptops with the minimum of fuss.

From March 2004 a number of airlines are introducing these on their planes, following trials by BA and Lufthansa. It is expected that within three years 23 million people in the UK will have access to the web by wireless network.

If this is how it affects a healthy family of adults over a short period of time, what will be the consequences on a cross-section of the general population, let alone those with recognised heart problems or pacemakers, the pregnant and the young?

What is the real price of convenience?

Francesca J. Fox MB ChB
(written September 2003)

In the summer of 2003 I installed a wireless modem for Broadband in my home. Over the following weeks I and my family showed a variety of symptoms, which only vanished when the modem was removed. In my case, lethargy was predominant. Returning to school in September 2003 I discussed the issue of wireless transmitters with my Headmaster. At this point the school had no wireless network installed. At the beginning of 2004 plans were announced to introduce this into different parts of the school. When my Headmaster asked me to move my teaching room into a block designated for maths and computing, he reassured me that all computer connections would be hardwired to prevent any adverse affects on me.

On this understanding I began to teach in the block from September 2004. Within three weeks I began to feel tired, my concentration was poor and after five weeks I felt as though I was losing my mind. My wife bluntly told me that she thought the computer department were using wireless transmitters. Next day I confronted the computer technician, who told me that the wireless transmitters had been switched on at the start of the school year. Unbeknownst to me I was working for 8 hours a day bathed in the same radiation that had made me ill the previous summer. When I brought this to the attention of my Headmaster, he was stunned. I don’t think that he had believed me up to that point. He kept saying to me, “But you couldn’t have known it was switched on, could you?” No, I didn’t. That’s precisely my point. On his orders the transmitters were switched off, my fatigue passed and concentration was restored.

I am a teacher with 32 years experience, having obtained a First Class Honours Degree in both mathematics and physics from Cambridge. I am in excellent health. I do not even know the name of my current GPs, it’s been so long since I had to call on their services. I am not a Luddite, but I do not ignore the evidence of my own experience, or that of others. This is disparagingly referred to as “anecdotal”, by those with a vested interest in promoting the sale of these technologies. I prefer to call it commonsense. Mobile phone technology and wireless modems damage the health and well being of some members of our community. I do not believe it is fair to students, or employees, in a school to expose them to such risks. The only people, who will suffer from not using wireless connections are the manufacturers and educational establishment which promote them.

If the precautionary principle had been followed in the last century, many of our countrymen would not be suffering the crippling effects of asbestos related illness. Doubtless any questions about the safety of asbestos were also dismissed as unfounded.

John Fox MA Cantab.
(written 2005)

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