(NaturalNews) You only have to read travel blogs and the like to know the flying public have their hands full when dealing with jetlag. One recent survey amongst airport frequent flier lounge members listed jet lag as the most irritating aspect of flying they had to deal with. In a CNBC program called the Tech Report, the gathering pace of equipping aeroplanes with WiFi capability during flight is cause for concern. Anyone concerned about their health while flying can tell you that the drive to extend WiFi connectivity to commercial airlines doesn't bode well for fliers. It represents an increased danger to the health of all those who fly. The roll out being implemented by a number of airlines in the US and Europe shows a lack of understanding and care on the part of the airlines to their employees and passengers.
The potential source of revenue from a pay per browse WiFi system in the sky will not have escaped the airline industry. This potential revenue is even more valuable in the current economic climate which is hitting the aviation industry hard, especially as airlines see premium traffic revenue plummet. Aviation technology specialists are talking up this revenue potential and receiving a lot of interest just as one of the major providers of this technology posts a healthy profit on Wall Street. (Bloomberg Bulletin - Feb 09 EMS Connects Fliers to Web, Spurring Unit's 20% growth.). As the number of studies urging caution in the use of this technology increases, the aviation industry chooses to carry on regardless of the consequences to our health. The worrying thing is that this behaviour is reminiscent of the tobacco industry and the way it responded to health concerns related to smoking.
WiFi connectivity relies on the use of the electromagnetic field also known as EMF's. Within this spectrum lie a wide range of frequencies measured in hertz (Hz). All electronic equipment including mobile phones and computers use these frequencies in order to work. WiFi connectivity in the sky involves using a particular range of the spectrum called Extremely Low Frequency radio waves (ELF's). The controversy surrounding EMF's and ELF's arises with the interaction of these frequencies with the human body and the Environment at large.
A recent review of over 2000 laboratory and epidemiological studies concluded there is enough evidence to proceed with caution in the use of ELF & EMF technologies. It goes on to define some ELF's and other frequencies of the electromagnetic field spectrum as carcinogenic and neurotoxic. The review conducted by the BioInitiative Working Group points out that current standards for safety are inadequate and presses for more stringent measures, rules and guidelines. In light of the evidence contained in this compilation of studies equipping planes with this technology seems ill advised.
Practical reasons to proceed with caution are playing themselves out in a wide variety of situations and disciplines the world over. On a philosophical note the reason to urge caution is simple, on reading a fraction of the points in the report we now know the long term effects of ELF and EMF exposure are trending towards the unfavourable. Until such a time when the risks can be removed or nullified caution is the only reasonable course of action.
E.F Schumacher says it best in his book Small is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered. To paraphrase one of Schumacher's ideas, there are gaps in human knowledge which warrant caution in our endeavours because of our lack of prescient knowledge. This is particularly important when we seem to automatically think that more/bigger is always better. Just because we have the power or the convenience to do something doesn't mean it should always be done.
The specific downside to implementing WiFi in the sky relates to the environment we experience when flying. Proximity and interaction with the Earth's surface, and an abundance of oxygen enliven and protect us from radiation of the ionizing and non ionizing variety. The Earth's surface is filled with an inexhaustible number of negatively charged ions which are vital to human health. Contact with these two nutrients constitutes the basis of human vitality on Earth. Therefore the flying environment which is neither in contact with the Earth and is lacking in abundant oxygen is a compromised environment. Taking this compromised environment and adding the complication of WiFi to the mix is a recipe for disaster.
WiFi in the sky adds a significant additional source of non ionizing radiation to the flying environment which is already filled with positively charged ions detrimental to our health. They cause staleness and dryness in the air, and more importantly accelerate oxidation in our bodies. Less oxygen at altitude increases the amount of available absorbable radiation and the ability of microbes, viruses and bacteria to thrive. Fliers already have enough to contend with and don't need any technology which makes this challenging environment worse.
Amongst other things the tendency is for flying to cause our bodies to go out of synchronicity with it's natural field, the same field on the surface of the Earth. This is because the Earth is a reference point for all circadian rhythms in our bodies. WiFi in the sky would increase dysynchronization by adding the dynamic of induction to the equation, but without the protection of an uncompromised environment (i.e. it would create a field between the electrical appliances/equipment and the user but without the protection you could have if you were on the ground). This increases the amount of unhealthy positive ions and thus degrades the cabin environment further to everyone's detriment.
The ethical question of whether WiFi should be fitted to planes echoes the covert battles fought between smokers and non smokers in the 1970 & 80's. Similar questions are being asked; why should everyone be made to suffer for the benefit or convenience of the few? It will probably be popular if given enough time to catch on but at what cost to our health? The truth is the benefit is no more than the extra dollars in the hands of the airline operators at the expense of all those who travel on these planes whether they use the service or not. Does compounding the existing health challenges of flying for the sake of pecuniary gain or technological advancement make good business sense or even more health challenged fliers?
Bloomberg Bulletin - Feb 09 EMS connects fliers to Web, spurring Units 20% growth.
BioInitiative Working Group: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)
Maurice Ghaly et al. - The biological effects of Grounding the Human Body during Sleep as measured by Cortisol levels and subjective reporting of Sleep Pain and Stress.
E.F Schumacher - Small is beautiful; a study of economics as if people mattered.