The Wi-Fi safety debate has reared its head again after a Council of Europe committee called for the technology to be banned from schools.
A draft resolution from the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs concluded that electromagnetic fields – especially radio frequencies from mobile phones – are potentially harmful, particularly to children.
The controversial study called on member states to take all reasonable measures to "reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields".
More specifically, it recommended that mobile phones, DECT phones and Wi-Fi or WLAN systems be banned from classrooms and schools because children "seem to be most at risk from head tumours".
Health concerns over Wi-Fi are nothing new and the survey comes four years after a Panorama documentary suggested that the technology could increase radiation levels in schools.
The latest study conceded that the debate is not one-sided, but claimed there is sufficient evidence to err on the side of caution, citing examples of previous harmful situations where officials had not acted quickly enough, such as with asbestos.
"After analysing the scientific studies available to date, and also following the hearings for expert opinions organised in the context of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, there is sufficient evidence of potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on fauna, flora and human health to react and to guard against potentially serious environmental and health hazards," the study stated.
"Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case in the past with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco."
However, UK industry onlookers moved rapidly to dismiss the study's findings.
Jess Thompson-Hughes, managing director of Wi-Fi reseller React Technologies, claimed the study flew in the face of the evidence and was an example of health and safety gone mad.
"This is somebody who is bored and wants their 15 minutes of fame," he said.
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