Wireless Interference: Baby Monitors

Summary of Baby Monitor Research by Wonderwave.net 3/08: Wonderwave Internet started looking for radio noise after several of our clients reported that their wireless Internet had become unreliable.  We found that the level of radio signals coming out of two houses exceeded the level of our 4 watt access point.  It turned out that both had baby monitors operating at the time.

We spoke to both manufacturers, and neither could tell us what level of power their units put out.

We did some testing of our own with a RF meter.  With a Summer Baby video monitor 3-4 feet away, the level of radiation in the crib by the baby’s head was the same as a cell phone.  The frequency is also very close to a cell phone.  The baby was exposed to this level all night long while he slept. 

Ironically, the worst baby monitors seem to be the most expensive.  The newer digital audio monitors including DECT are always on and transmit at a higher power level.  Video monitors are also very high output.  The analog audio monitors we tested only put out 1/30th of the power.  You have to ask yourself, do you really need a monitor with a range of 2000 feet?

The FCC’s guidelines are based on recommended exposure criteria issued by the NCRP and ANSI/IEEE, a professional organization for the “advancement of technology”. The exposure guidelines were adopted 8/1/96 and revised 8/25/97 as described in OET Bulletin 65, which is available at http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/

The problem with the FCC limits is that they are based on 20 year old research that says the only danger from RF radiation involves heating of the body or inducing electrical currents into the body.  They acknowledge that there is evidence of risk at lower levels but they claim that it can not be proven at this time.

“In general, while the possibility of “non-thermal” biological effects may exist, whether or not such effects might indicate a human health hazard is *NOT PRESENTLY KNOWN*.  Further research is needed to determine the generality of such effects and their possible relevance, if any, to human health”  FCC OET Bulletin 56e4

In effect, the FCC is waiting for proof so that they can react to it.  This is the same approach that the government has taken to tobacco and global warming.  Surely when it comes to our babies, we can be proactive in order to *PREVENT* a problem.  Other governments like Canada, Italy and Switzerland have set RF limits that are 1/50th of the US limit or less.  Germany has a Blue Angel safety standard that requires low RF emissions and non-toxic materials.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “The FCC’s exposure guideline is considered protective of effects arising from a thermal mechanism but not from all possible mechanisms.  Therefore, the generalization by many that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms *IS NOT JUSTIFIED*” http://www.emrpolicy.org/litigation/case_law/docs/noi_epa_response.pdf

The UN commissioned the definitive report, The Bioinitiative Report to discover whether there was risks at lower levels of exposure.  fifty scientists collaborated on the report.  they discovered that *AT ANY LEVEL* of RF exposure, there is increased risk.  “The existing ICNIRP and FCC limits for public and occupational exposure to ELF and RF are insufficiently protective of public health.   The current standard for exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use and for cordless phone use *IS NOT SAFE* considering studies reporting long-term brain tumor risk.” http://bioinitiative.org/report/index.htm

A high-level panel appointed by the U.K. government has recommended that children be discouraged from using mobile phones and that the industry not market phones to children.  “Children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of--- energy in the tissues of the head and a longer lifetime of exposure”  Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, Mobile Phones and Health, April 2000

The German Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement advising parents to restrict their children’s use of mobile phones.  they advised that all mobile phone users should keep conversations as brief as possible but that additional precautions are appropriate for children in view of “special health risks” associated with their growing bodies.  December 8th, 2000

Based on all of this research, we would suggest to everyone to avoid using video or digital audio monitors for their babies.  We will come to your house and test the output of your baby monitor for free.  In some cases, we will even pay to replace baby monitors with lower power units.

10 Years Later, Cell Phone Cancer Connection evidence in 2018

Guardian - On 28 March this year, the scientific peer review of a landmark United States government study concluded that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer, specifically, a heart tissue cancer in rats that is too rare to be explained as random occurrence.

Eleven independent scientists spent three days at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, discussing the study, which was done by the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services and ranks among the largest conducted of the health effects of mobile phone radiation. NTP scientists had exposed thousands of rats and mice (whose biological similarities to humans make them useful indicators of human health risks) to doses of radiation equivalent to an average mobile user’s lifetime exposure.

The peer review scientists repeatedly upgraded the confidence levels the NTP’s scientists and staff had attached to the study, fuelling critics’ suspicions that the NTP’s leadership had tried to downplay the findings. Thus the peer review also found “some evidence” – one step below “clear evidence” – of cancer in the brain and adrenal glands.

Not one major news organisation in the US or Europe reported this scientific news. But then, news coverage of mobile phone safety has long reflected the outlook of the wireless industry.