Green Party’s Jill Stein, perpetuating viral myth, says Wi-Fi endangers ‘kids’ brains’
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The Green Party's presumptive nominee for president, Jill Stein, was recorded earlier this year implying Wi-Fi is a public health risk for kids (screenshot, YouTube)

Following criticism for her positions on vaccines and GMOs, the Green Party’s standard bearer is earning a reputation for pseudoscience

The Green Party’s candidate in the U.S. presidential elections, Jill Stein, declared that kids should be kept away from Wi-Fi signals because such things may damage developing brains. Her comments appear to endorse a myth that wireless internet may cause brain cancer, and is just the latest public health controversy surrounding the candidate.

In response to a question about the use of Wi-Fi in schools and its effect on kids, Stein insinuated dangers to children’s health from exposure to wireless internet signals.

“We should not be subjecting kids’ brains especially to that … and we don’t follow this issue in our country, but in Europe where they do, you know, they have good precautions about wireless. Maybe not good enough, you know. It’s very hard to study this stuff. You know, we make guinea pigs out of whole populations and then we discover how many die. And this is the paradigm for how public health works in this country.”

This was one of several controversial answers Stein gives in the video, which was published to YouTube in March but seems to be gaining wide viewership only in the last few hours.

The comments seem to reflect a viral internet myth that Wi-Fi can cause brain cancer. While the myth is an older one, it gained renewed attention last year after a Saudi survey of several studies sponsored by the Saudi Society of Microscopes went viral. That story concluded, “The risk to children and adolescent from exposure to microwave radiating devices is considerable. Adults have a smaller but very real risk, as well.” Additionally, the report continued, “Wireless devices are radio transmitters, not toys. Selling toys that use them should be banned.”

That story caused a firestorm across the web in early 2015, earning a slew of counterattacks from experts.

“It purports to be a review of some sort on microwave radiation (MWR) exposure in children. It is nothing of the sort. It’s not even written like a scientific paper,” wrote Steven Salzberg, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University, in Forbes last year. “Essentially, the article is a series of claims, most of them unrelated to one another, about the effects of MWR and other topics. The authors have cherry-picked several dozen studies that they believe support their hypothesis, which they cite without any explanatory details, while ignoring hundreds of studies that contradict their claims.”

The Australian show Catalyst also landed itself in hot water earlier this year when it broadcasted an episode called “Wi-Fried” that espoused the same theory.

“Instead of science journalism, Catalyst aired a misleading program, which followed the views of a few individuals in arguing that radiofrequency emissions from wireless devices were harmful,” wrote Rodney Croft, Director of National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia’s Centre for Research Excellence in Electromagnetic Energy, in Stuff earlier this year. “In fact, the scientific consensus is strong, and is that there is no substantiated evidence that the low levels of radiofrequency emissions encountered by mobile telecommunications can cause any harm.”

The candidate has been receiving renewed attention as a possible third option by disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters who are loathe to support Donald Trump and do not want to support Hillary Clinton. That spotlight has shone on controversial positions Stein espouses.

Stein, who is a licensed physician, has found herself under attack in recent weeks for other controversial public health positions. While Jill Stein’s platform is anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) products, an open letter by 100 Nobel laureates in June urged Greenpeace to drop its position against GMOs and decried advocates who wanted to label such products, saying the idea is “damaging and is anti-science.” She has also been accused of pandering to the anti-vaccination movement, including deleting a tweet that explicitly endorsed the theory that vaccines cause autism.

In the video, Stein also attacks the increased use of computer monitors, which she said were being pushed by business interests for use in schools.

“We should be moving away from screens at all levels of education, not moving into them. And this is another corporate ruse. This is another gimmick to try to make a buck. To make big bucks in fact. And education, and teachers, and communities suffer. So we need to stand up to that.”

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  • Peter Callil

    The facts are that most people don’t have the qualifications to debate this topic, least of all a young, good-looking journalist, whose perceptions are likely biased as a result of popular opinion, and therefore, his potential appeal to a particular target audience. Try doing some real journalism, and thoroughly research your topic, rather than appeal to the ignorant masses.

    • Ron D’Amico

      I completely agree Peter..

  • Ron D’Amico

    love your “mythical” and “pseudo-science” terms… trying hard to make her look like she’s a little nutty. . there are so many studies that prove this.. I’d attach them but you won’t read them. and the “experts” that you claim that wi-fi is just fine.. are corporate lap dogs. I just watched Tom Wheeler announcing that they’re rolling out 5G with no intention of testing any of it..right from the horses mouth. I know people who have had to move out of town because of the radiation from all of this. kids had to be home-schooled as they got sick of well from the industrial strength routers. a teacher in town just got fired because she couldn’t stand the radiation.. computers should be HARD-WIRED – that would solve a big problem.. its a no brainer.. but no…there’s power and money and, apparently, dastardly intentions all driving this.. its like forcing kids to smoke cigarettes all day..its ridiculous

    • Tom Swayer

      I just study a lot of things…. but I know that “radiowaves” are just “waves” like any other wavelength. And I know that x-ray waves are dangerous, but we still use x-rays. And we have for a very, very long time. As far as I know, in order for a WIFI signal to be dangerous, it would have to be a Very strong wave. It’s not. Radio waves are passing through us all of the time… People will you be ready to abandon your satellite phone too?

      Is it really so hard to imagine that song flying through your head in between the atoms? =P

      Lol are you trolling? You said kids got sick cause of industrial strength routers LOOOOOOl. Wow I must be getting trolled