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Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court 217

Posted by timothy
from the show-me-the-blind-test dept.
McGruber writes "Arthur Firstenberg, the Santa Fe, New Mexico man who sued his neighbors, claiming their Wi-Fi made him sick, has lost what might have been his final round in court. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, state District Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health. While he lost the lawsuit, he did score a victory: the neighbors he sued have moved out of Santa Fe."
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Wi-Fi Illness Claim Doesn't Impress New Mexico Court

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  • Re:yay (Score:5, Informative)

    by NatasRevol (731260) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @10:49AM (#41399289) Journal

    That statement, as is, is obviously not true. However, I believe that's an editor's words, not the judges words.

    From FTA, the judge said:
    "reliable studies, including one from the World Health Organization, “have failed to provide clear support for a causal relationship between electromagnetic fields and complaints of EMS"."

  • Re:Eat popcorn! (Score:5, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:00AM (#41399473) Journal

    Well, he can always start eating lots of microwave popcorn [torontosun.com] and try it that way. $7.2 million isn't bad, is it?

    "Popcorn lung" makes it sound funny; but that one is actually a pretty ugly story(at least for the production workers and some of the QA guys at the plants, this guy must have really been a big fan to inhale that much). Let's just say that "constrictive bronchiolitis obliterans" is almost as much fun as it sounds like it would be. A much rarer disease; but the macro-scale symptoms are pretty similar to emphysema.

    The matter first came to broader attention when NIOSH looked into a cluster of occurrences of this(usually quite uncommon) condition at a microwave popcorn plant [cdc.gov]. As it turns out, diacetyl, the usual artificial butter flavoring component, causes a delightful progressive, irreversible, destruction of lung capacity(pretty much what 'bronchiolitis obliterans' sounds like it does, it does.) The most severe cases require permanent supplemental oxygen or lung transplants to survive. Less severe cases experience ongoing shortness of breath and respiratory difficulties(whether only under exertion, or even when idle depends on the severity of the case).

    As usual with these cases, the story of the discovery is littered with OSHA dragging its feet, popcorn producers skipping cheap protective measures like extractor fans to keep exposure down(25k to install fans, or slow death for the workers in the mixing room... Hmm, which is better for shareholder value?), and similar depressing anecdotes. Since consumer exposure is much, much lower than flavor-mixing exposure, the FDA has twiddled its thumbs about any questions of reconsidering the present regulatory status of 'safe' give to diacetyl as a food ingredient; but some are a bit concerned...

  • Re:yay (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:15AM (#41399739) Homepage Journal

    Why would hospitals worry about the dose of X-rays they give you if "no scientific study has yet proved that electromagnetic stimulus adversely impacts personal health"?

    Because the danger from X-rays isn't that they're electromagnetic, it's because the radiation is ionizing. Normal radio waves aren't.

  • by slim (1652) <john.hartnup@net> on Thursday September 20, 2012 @11:29AM (#41399963) Homepage

    or high-pitched noises outside the normal hearing range (which can be a genuine issue for teenagers and for some adults - like me!).

    This is significant. Despite fast approaching my 40th year, I can still hear those inhumane "mosquito" devices designed to keep teenagers from loitering.

    My dad has a PSU in his study which makes a constant, loud, high pitched tone. It drives me mad. Nobody else in the family can hear it (but then, my dad's high frequency hearing is so wrecked he can't hear hi-hats).

    I find it easy to believe that someone superstitious could think that tone was electromagnetism.

  • Re:yay (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @12:59PM (#41401375)

    It's more like saying, "Just because some chemicals are dangerous doesn't mean all chemicals are dangerous." Water is a chemical, after all. I guarantee that ingesting 1 liter of water will have a much different effect than ingesting a 10M solution of NaOH, despite the fact that they're both chemicals.

  • by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @01:12PM (#41401573)

    TBH I would not be surprised if there was some feud between them and he just went full retard.

    Nah, he was full retard from day one. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/28/nation/la-na-hometown-santa-fe28-2010mar28 [latimes.com]

    My favorite parts: "waves of nausea, vertigo, body aches, dizziness, heart arrhythmia and insomnia returned -- all, he says, because she was using an iPhone, a laptop computer, a wireless router and dimmer switches." To stress this: he gets that sick from DIMMER SWITCHES 30 FEET AWAY. And it would have to be a damn fantastic dimmer to have wi-fi.

    And: "Firstenberg said he was staying with friends and occasionally sleeping in his car." A dimmer switch in a house about 30 feet from his makes him sick, but he can drive (I assume) and sleep in a car about a yard from an internal combustion engine, alternator, and a lead acid battery.

    Wasn't there also some public school district that was suffering legal trouble from the same claims?

    You were probably thinking of: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/07/wi-fi_lawsuit_against_portland.html [oregonlive.com]

    Or maybe: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2003/10/60769 [wired.com]

    But there's been a LOT of places suffering legal trouble: http://www.smdp.com/resident-files-1-7b-claim-with-city-hall/ [smdp.com]

    If you want to find more, look up Magda Havas. She's making a nice profit being an "expert" on how Wifi is killing you and UR BABIEZZZZZ. Then there's Barrie Trower. I haven't heard much about him except that he adds some conspiracy theory to the mix and meets interesting people like the king of Botswana (the country is a republic).

  • by confused one (671304) on Thursday September 20, 2012 @03:10PM (#41403209)

    Almost there but not quite. First step is to put up the dish, tower and antennas, then wait a couple weeks. Put up a yagi as well, pointed in the general direction of the neighbor, just for fun. When the complaints start rolling in, invite the authorities over and show them that nothing is connected to the antennas

    old trick. works to discredit neighbors who complain needlessly.

  • Re:yay (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2012 @03:27PM (#41403423)

    Sadly, anecdotal evidence is not proof, and we've built entire industries on these forms of radiation (every time you make a cell phone call you microwave your brain) so without hard evidence its very hard to justify costly industrial standards that might hurt cultural progress and innovation. That said, its seems very possible that there are human being with a prediliction to EM sensitivity, just as there are rare folks who can hear well about the normal 20 Khz. cut-off for most healthy, young people. Rather than demonizing them we need to study them and see if in fact that are canaries in the mine and may point to threat against the general public.

    We have, in many, many peer-reviewed papers, and the general consensus is "no." However, I await your peer-reviewed paper showing otherwise.

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