While some health researchers have raised numerous questions about the long-term health effects of exposure to wireless communication waves, a group in New Mexico has taken this concern to a new level.
Activists are asking the city of Santa Fe and the state of New Mexico to remove Wi-Fi Internet service from all public buildings because, they say, the radio waves can cause allergic reactions in some people. Wi-Fi is used primarily in public libraries, but is also present in many office buildings.
The activists are led by Arthur Firstenberg, author of the book "Microwaving Our Planet: The Environmental Impact of the Wireless Revolution."
Firstenberg says that he is allergic to the waves from the Wi-Fi electronic field. Symptoms, he says, include headaches and chest pains whenever he is within range of a wireless connection.
The group has filed a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint says that since they are sensitive to electronic waves, they are entitled to live without being exposed to them. As such, they contend, the presence of Wi-Fi in public spaces constitutes discrimination.
Firstenberg says this condition is nothing new, and has been caused through the years by exposure to radio waves and other electronic fields. He says the telecommunications industry has known of the problem for years, but has suppressed the information.
So far, government officials seem skeptical of the claims, but say they will look into it. Ron Trujillo, a Santa Fe city official, said "It's not 1692, it's 2008."