Resident Calls For Wi-Fi Routers To Be Removed From Westhampton Beach Schools, Library
Aug 9, 2016 2:58 PM
Jack O’Dwyer has repeatedly petitioned Westhampton Beach Village Hall and library officials over the past several months, requesting to examine their respective Wi-Fi routers so he can log the model numbers. He has also stated on multiple occasions that the devices at both locations, as well as those inside Westhampton Beach schools, are emitting high levels of radiation as per the readouts on his acoustimeter, a device that measures the amount of radiation in a specific area.
Mr. O’Dwyer said he has read studies by Dr. Cindy Sage, an environmental sciences company owner in California, and Dr. Martha Herbert, a Harvard professor specializing in pediatric autism and neurology, that attribute the radiation emitted from the units to both cancer and autism. Therefore, he thinks the Wi-Fi units should be removed from all public spaces in the village.
Westhampton Beach Deputy Mayor Ralph Urban noted that Mr. O’Dwyer has asked several times to see the Village Hall router, but has not specifically asked for its removal. The board has denied his request, suggesting that he contact Optimum, the village’s Wi-Fi provider, instead.
At recent village meetings, Mr. O’Dwyer has also requested that the devices be removed from both the library and all three Westhampton Beach schools—all of which are outside of the village’s jurisdiction.
“We have a radiation problem here—this is a health issue in Westhampton Beach,” Mr. O’Dwyer said. “I have shown you guys that pulse radiation is dangerous here and in the library, all through the ceilings.”
But Dr. Samuel Ryu, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stony Brook Medicine and the deputy director for Clinical Affairs at the Stony Brook University Cancer Center, said this week that there are no recognized studies linking the radiation emitted by Wi-Fi systems to diseases like cancer.
Dr. Ryu, an internationally recognized specialist of radiosurgery, which uses radiation to treat tumors of the central nervous system, added that the strength of radiation emitted by the units is far too weak to alter human DNA. He said that, typically, frequent exposure to much stronger rays—such as X-rays or gamma rays—would be required to harm a person.
Dr. Ryu explained that Wi-Fi uses radio waves to transmit energy and that it takes light rays, like those emitted by an X-ray machine, to alter DNA. An X-ray typically releases upward of one million gigahertz, or GHz, of energy while Wi-Fi routers typically only release 2.4 GHz, according to studies.
“There would have to be some fundamental cellular or genetic change caused by the Wi-Fi,” Dr. Ryu said. “Without that it is hard to establish a cause or relationship with cancer.
“A Wi-Fi wave is very weak,” he continued, “it is not capable of cutting our DNA system or any of those chemical bonds.”
But the studies completed by Dr. Sage and Dr. Herbert conclude that the wireless devices are contributing to the increased number of children being diagnosed with autism. They also recommended that cellphone users not keep the devices attached to their belts or in their pockets, for women not to use cellphones during pregnancy and for people not to use wireless laptops. They also recommended that wireless iPads and tablets be removed from schools, as well as accompanying routers, and have stated that wireless baby monitors should not be used by parents.
Westhampton Free Library Director Danielle Waskiewicz noted that the Library Avenue facility is one of several Optimum wireless hotspots in Westhampton Beach. The facility’s board has stated at several public meetings that it has no intention of removing its routers unless it is determined that they pose a serious threat to people.
“The Westhampton Free Library provides Wi-Fi for its patrons and staff through a router provided by Optimum,” Ms. Waskiewicz said in a statement on Friday. “There are Optimum provided hotspots throughout Long Island in addition to Wi-Fi service in homes.”
Westhampton Beach School Superintendent Michael Radday could not be reached for comment this week, though Mr. O’Dwyer said he has emailed the district multiple times in recent months about his concerns.
In addition to Dr. Ryu, Mr. Urban also questioned the information being circulated by Mr. O’Dwyer, who runs a business dedicated to covering the news and public relations industries. Mr. Urban said the village would have to further vet the information that has been shared by Mr. O’Dwyer before considering any action. In addition to Village Hall, wireless routers are located at Glovers Lane Park, the village marina and other municipal sites.
“I am not sure that his statistics merit any kind of action, basically,” Mr. Urban said. “We would have to look into it a great deal more rather than just taking his word on it.”