BBC: ‘no hard evidence’ for Wi-Fi scare

The BBC has admitted ‘there is no hard evidence’ on the long-term effects of Wi-Fi equipment, following its controversial Panorama investigation.

BBC: 'no hard evidence' for Wi-Fi scare

The admission comes in a letter sent from the BBC in reaction to viewers’ complaints, and it has subsequently been published on the Bad Science website.

The letter begins with an apology for the lack of ‘hard evidence’ within the programme: ‘Unfortunately, the truth is that as things stand, there is no hard evidence regarding the effects of long term exposure to Wi-Fi which is why we made the programme,’ it says.

‘The programme attempted to raise concern without causing alarm – always a difficult balance to strike but one which we believe we achieved,’ the BBC says

‘Wi-Fi is being rolled out into classrooms around the country by the Government contrary to the precautionary approach recommended by the head of its own advisory body Sir William Stewart – chair of the Health Protection Agency,’ the letter explains. ‘As you will have seen in the programme, he believes that where radiation is concerned we should base policy on the precautionary principle particularly when it comes to children. This therefore raises questions as to whether Wi-Fi should be rolled out into the classroom without any long term health research being carried out.’

The letter then touches on the veracity of the programmes sources. Panorama contrasted the views of Swedish scientist Dr Olle Johansson, who said that the Swedish government recognises radiation sensitivity as a disability that affects three per cent of the population, with the UK Government’s position that this condition does not exist.

But Swedish blogger DennisJ notes on badscience.net that Johnasson was the 2004 recipient of the Misleader of the Year award.

‘I have found no indications that there are such things as official disabilities in Sweden or that “the Swedish government recognises radiation sensitivity as a disability”,’ he says. ‘That it affects three per cent of the population is perhaps a half truth at best.’

The BBC has confirmed the validity of the letter, and told us that 19 complaints have been raised against the programme.

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