'Fetus-Friendly' WiFi Router Dismissed As Junk Science

John Lister's picture

A Chinese company has developed a wireless router with a setting that supposedly protects pregnant women. Rivals have accused Qihoo 360 of using bogus science to try to scare customers into purchasing the device.

The router has three settings with names that translate as "wall penetration", "balance", and "pregnant women." The difference between the 3 settings has to do with the signal strength, with the "wall penetration" setting having the highest, and the "pregnant women" setting having the lowest.

According to the Qihoo, the signal strength settings in turn affect the amount of radiation emitted by the router. They say that the "pregnant women" setting effectively cuts the signal strength by approximately 70 percent from normal levels. In a social media post, rival Chinese router manufacturer Xiaomi has reassured users that WiFi is perfectly safe, and that signal strength modes offered by Qihoo are nothing more than a marketing tactic.

Manufacturers 'Aren't Scientists'

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Qihoo conceded that it had little evidence to back the implication that pregnant women were at risk from WiFi. "We aren't scientists. We haven't done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from WiFi can cause," a company representative said. (Source: scmp.com)

Most credible scientific evidence discredits any alleged risk from WiFi to unborn babies, with a professor quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying that a wireless router on its normal setting only emits about three or four percent of the levels that would be considered a risk. He also noted that simply placing the router five meters away from the user's desk would have a greater effect that using any "special" setting.

WiFi Signal is Wrong Type Of Radiation

While it's natural that people are fearful of the term "radiation", there's a key distinction that Qihoo appears to be missing, willfully or otherwise.

Radiation comes in two types: ionizing and non-ionizing. Ionizing radiation has enough power to pull electrons out of the orbit of an atom, thus causing the atom to physically change, which in turn can cause physical harm to humans. (Source: who.int)

Wi-Fi instead emits non-ionizing radiation, which has less power and doesn't change the structure of atoms. It's the type of non-harmful radiation that comes from sunlight or radio and TV signals travelling through the air, rather than the harmful radiation from a nuclear reactor.

While some Chinese groups continue to campaign over fears of WiFi posing a risk to unborn children, the World Health Organization (WHO) study says there's no credible risk.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you believe wireless routers pose any risk to unborn children? Does the Qihoo router unfairly try to exploit unfounded health fears? Or is it up to individuals to decide if such a device can give them peace of mind?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (4 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

This reminds me of the "cell phones and brain cancer debate," which I believe use similar signals. They're all radio signals with non-ionizing radiation.


Boots66's picture

Morning Dennis - Can it be said definitively that there is or is NOT a link to cancer from Cell Phone use beside your head or from routers in use nearby, NO! Not very likely!
But as your link above if you take time to read it, along with your commentary above as well - Non-ionizing radiation in the low levels of typical cell phones and especially routers that are typically placed up and out of the way, is not likely going to harm you.
The only way to prove this would be a long term study, following and testing of a group of individuals for years! But who would fund this study? Government?
It certainly would not be the makers of cell phones or routers!

But would they even consider spending the money if there is no indication in the first place that is hard proof of damage?

petertay_4864's picture

Agreed that the risks of non-ionizing radiation from wi-fi routers is low, but the article seems to suggest it is not harmful, unlike Ionizing radiation.
However, it is a matter of degree, one would certainly be harmed ( fried?) by the levels of non-ionizing radiation when standing close to an airport radar or an unshielded microwave oven.

PhotoSci's picture

There is no credible evidence that non-ionizing radiation, whether emitted from cell phones, Wi-Fi routers, or microwave ovens causes cancer. There is neither a plausible mechanism nor a laboratory or clinical demonstration.

While microwaves can damage or even kill living cells, it is by heating alone, and, faked You Tube videos to the contrary, there is insufficient radio energy emitted from cell phones or through the shields of microwave ovens or from routers to heat anything. Test it yourself.

You will increase the temperature of your skull more by putting on a wool hat than talking on your cell phone, and a pregnant woman will increase the temperature in her belly more by donning a bathrobe than by standing near a router.

Infopackets deserves credit for labeling this for what it is: junk “science”.