August 08, 2011

The costs of battling EMF ignorance

The current mini-furor over wi-fi networks in schools is right up there with opposition to vaccinations and excessive concerns over food allergies as far as stupid mass hysterias of our time, and it's a shame to see the Canadian Green Party leader sign on. It's only below those in significance because there there are actual human lives at risk if we over- or underestimate the risk, respectively.

Skeptic North's Erik Davis has been doing a fine job on the debunking, so I'll leave that, only adding that every second politicians waste on made-up health threats like this, or Fukushima radiation in Ontario crops, or whatever the next one down the pipe will be is a second they could have used to educate Canadians about real threats we need to have a national dialogue on, like what we owe the earth if we sell the oil out of the tar sands and raise global temps another degree or two thereby.

The schools angle, is of course, particularly insidious, because, whether wi-fi helps the education process or not (and I'm sure, when it comes to retrofitting old schools with modern technology, it probably does), the amount of time that principals and teachers spend calming and persuading jittery parents and their kids is time wasted from, you know, actually useful stuff. I'm sure in every school board in the country there are earnest people trying to make a teachable moment out of this, but I'm sure it's hard.

(There is also, as Davis takes pains to point out, a real cost to having people with potentially serious anxiety-based or psychosomatic or unknown-cause disorders wasting their time trying to rid their lives of something like wireless that is highly unlikely to be responsible for their conditions, instead of searching for an effective treatment.)

Posted by BruceR at 09:20 AM