A New Pollution?

2873 Words12 Pages
A New Pollution? Abstract: Increasingly our society is being inundated with information wirelessly, through emissions of electromagnetic waves (EMF). Any room you enter is being blanketed with ever increasing amounts of, in some cases, highly powerful electromagnetic waves. These waves carry everything from cell phone traffic to wireless internet signals, to even conventional AM/FM radio signals. Although humans and animals cannot perceive most of these electromagnetic frequencies, they can affect biological organisms in many ways that scientists currently do not even understand. Even further, demand for such wireless applications is growing in terms of both signal strength and bandwidth. This leads to the important question of whether at some point the signals will become so powerful and transmitted at so high a frequency that they may begin to cause adverse symptoms in biological organisms as a result. This paper will focus on the ethical implications of developing such technologies without yet having scientific research that demonstrates its safety for humans and animals. I chose this topic because I have always been interested in wireless internet (802.11 b/g) and wondered if it could be potentially dangerous. A New Pollution? Wireless communication usage is quickly proliferating through all facets of modern life. Although wireless communication has been around for nearly a century, its application was very limited in scope through the first 50 years of its development. For the second half of the 20th century, wireless usage ramped up with the introduction of FM/AM radio as well as UHF/VHF for television. Then, beginning in the 90's, connectivity of individuals and devices became a paramount concern within the ... ... middle of paper ... ... be stopped pending conclusive safety results. It should also be noted that technologically driven market forces will resist any attempt to slow the progress being in wireless communication. Ultimately, more research involving RF and human safety is needed regardless of the course of action taken. Endnotes: 1. J. Ulcek and R. Cleveland, Jr. , Office of Engineering and Technology - Federal Communications Commission, Questions and Answers about Biological Effects and Potential Hazards of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields , #56 4th Ed. Aug. 1999: 7, <http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/documents/bulletins/#65> 2. Ed Hare, “The FCC's New RF-Exposure Regulations”, QST, Jan. 1997, <http://www.arrl.org/news/rfsafety/exposure_regs.html> 3. Hare, How the IEEE C95.1 Standard Was Developed 4. Hare, Maximum Permissible Exposure 5. Ulcek and Cleveland, 51
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