ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

VMS IEEE Meeting: Cellphones, SmartMeters, Wi-Fi, and Other (Arguably) Dangerous Things in Modern Life

6:30 PM on Thursday, May 29, 2014
Location: Holiday Inn, Blacksburg

Kenneth R. Foster, professor of bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, and IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, will be the speaker.

Abstract: The possible health effects of radiofrequency (RF) energy have been controversial for many years. This talk will review the scientific basis of this issue, focusing on one issue, the possible link between use of mobile phones and brain cancer. In addition, I will review the health controversies surrounding two additional technologies, Wi-Fi and SmartMeters.

After more than a half-century of research, the only unequivocal hazards from RF energy are associated with excessive heating of tissue. Exposure limits in effect in most countries, including the U.S., are designed to protect against thermal hazards and are set at levels far above any that a person will experience in ordinary life. There is an overwhelming consensus among health agencies that no convincing evidence exists for health hazards at exposures below current international limits. However the RF bioeffects literature is inconsistent in many respects, with a scattering of reports of biological effects of RF energy at low exposure levels. The possible health effects of RF energy at low exposure levels seems destined to remain controversial in the public arena for the indefinite future. An important question is how to address public health concerns responsibly while at the same time reaping the benefits of wireless communications technologies.

Speaker Biography: Ken's research interests relate to biomedical applications of nonionizing radiation from audio through microwave frequency ranges, and health and safety aspects of electromagnetic fields as they interact with the body. For example, Ken examines the prospects of workers in electrical occupations and the possibility (or lack of) cancer risk. Another and somewhat broader topic of interest is technological risk, and impact of technology (principally, electrotechnologies) on humans. His goal in this area is to examine technology, putting into perspective its relative risks and benefits to society. What he hopes to impart is a better perception of the social use of science.

Meeting Details:
Social: 6:30 PM
Dinner: 7:00 PM
Talk: 8:00 PM

Members & Guests $20, Students $5

Holiday Inn – Blacksburg
900 Prices Fork Rd.
Blacksburg, Va.

RSVP by 5 p.m., Monday, May 26 to George Williams ( Please specify the number of attendees and any dietary needs or restrictions.