Wifi in schools and classrooms - a Precautionary Approach is needed

Exposure to microwave radiation i.e. electromagnetic frequencies radiated by WIFI, mobile, DECT phones and other electrical products was recently classified by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) as as a Class 2B Possible Human Carcinogen. The IARC is a scientific body of the World Health Organisation and their conclusions were based on medical and scientific evidence that induction of so-called rare cancers i.e. gliomas were probable due to the use and exposure of individuals from microwave radiation emitted by mobile phones. WIFI uses the same band of microwave frequencies that are used by mobile phones. Click here for a few medical study abstracts on the adverse effects of microwave radiation on our biology.

Microwave ovens by definition use microwave frequencies in order to operate. Microwave ovens can 'cook' food in seconds that normally take 15 minutes on a gas cooker!! These particular band of frequencies carry a lot of energy which are unseen and unfelt by our senses. As a group, some of our bodies are more tolerant to microwave radiation than others and it is not readily apparent that those sleepness nights and constant migraines are caused by exposure to microwave radiation from WIFI routers and mobile phones. Inevitably however and there are many medical studies that are showing this, almost everyone is affected by microwave radiation over long time periods.

Scientifically and medically no-one can prove categorically that radiation emitted by WIFI routers are safe to our biology because no-one has any idea how long it may take for 'microwave-sickness' to show itself within the general population. In view of all the controversy within the use of WIFI routers in schools, it is common sense to take a precautionary approach until all these issues are sorted. The solution is elegantly simple and that is for schools to rip out all WIFI routers and replace them with alternative ethernet or optical 'hardwire' cables. These alternative methods of connecting to the Internet are much safer and incidentally, result in faster and more stable connection speeds.

Unfortunately, children are routinely exposed to microwave radiation for every second they attend school, day in day out, year after year. Children are probably more susceptible to being harmed from WIFI microwave radiation because their immune system is not yet fully developed, their skeletal body is much thinner than an adult and their body organs relative to their body size are much larger. Within the past 10 years there has been an explosion of evidence from medical studies around the world that show adverse biological mammalian effects from exposure of microwave radiation. Many countries around the world are also removing WIFI-enabled routers and other devices in schools and using alternative and much safer methods of connecting to the Internet. The evidence of harm from WIFI routers is substantial and so powerful that many health and professional organisations around the world are asking that the Precautionary Principle is used. The Precautionary Principle is used in situations in which there is conflicting evidence of harm. It basically asks that until there is overwhelming evidence of biological damage or otherwise, alternative methods are implemented. The simple solution to avoid WIFI microwave radiation in schools is to use optical or ethernet cabling throughout the school.

Schools normally use relatively high transmitter output WIFI routers in ord

er to ensure good coverage of all areas. A typical school setup is that several routers are normally mounted on the ceiling or high up a wall with the antenna pointing downwards.

The use of WIFI in school is discussed here (http://safetechforschoolsmaryland.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/top-ten-facts-about-wi-fi-in-school.html) and I quote: "School Wi-Fi is a much more powerful system than the router in your home.   The classroom access points and routers are meant to handle up to 30 devices in the room and in some classrooms, up to 100.  This means a huge amount of radiation from each of these transmitters. Every school has somewhere between 30 to 80 access points depending on the size of the school, emitting radiation in the building. Even if students are not using wireless devices,  the radiation signals are sent out every minute of the day from these access points. The radiation moves through the room and our children's bodies are absorbing it all day long".

The image below illustrates what happens to the inside environment of a school when the WIFI routers and access points are switched on. Regardless of the duty cycle of these transmissions, it is clear that the inside environments of these schools are awash with pulsed microwave radiation. It is perhaps a little easier to visualise what is going on when you consider a scenario in which the teacher suddenly asks a class of 25 pupils to access the internet at the same time using their tablet computers. The resultant signal strength of pulsed microwave radiation within that room and beyond is high and everyone is exposed. What is even more worrying is the fact that individuals of a certain size of body resonate with the signal being transmitted preferentially to other individuals. In other words, out of a group of 25 children or young adults, there might be a subgroup of individuals who will receive proportionally, much higher doses of pulsed microwave radiation.

Because no proper safety experiments have been carried out on microwave frequencies on all currently authorised devices, it is very clear to argue thatany level of signal from pulsed microwave radiation must be treated with extreme caution. This is especially true for children due to their immature physiological and skeletal development.

So far, it is clear that the regulatory regime surrounding microwave-enable products and gadgets has miserably failed the consumer. This is made worse by the lack of warnings on equipment transmitting pulsed microwave radiation. I now turn attention to what is happening globally within schools as head teachers struggle to make sense of all the conflicting information from the regulators, the equipment installers and sources of information (mostly medical and epidemiological research from scientists not employed by the telecommunications industries).

 

 

A snapshot of schools that have chosen to replace WIFI:

School, Australia . They have a “No WIFI” and a LOW EMF Policy.
Read their Tech Policy Here and watch the excellent news piece about the schools new position.
St. Augustine School, Italy

Turned off Wifi and went back to wires.Check out the news article showing all the parents gathering as the router is ceremoniously removed from the wall by the administrator. 

City of Lakes Waldorf School Minneapolis, Minnesota USA ,WiFi taken out.
Read the Magazine article about their bold move here.
Surrey, BC Roots and WingsMontessori Wi-Fi removed. Read the letter from Principal Kristen Cassie below. Watch the news coverage

Portland Waldorf School, Milwaukie, USA

WIFI taken out!
Ghent, Flanders Wi-fi banned from pre-schools and day care.
Winlaw Elementary School. Canada WiFi banned.
Te Horo Primary School, New Zealand Replaced WIFI with cable-based internet.
Kootenay Lakes District, Canada Winlaw parents have successfully lobbied the school district to have Wi-Fi turned off in their local elementary school
Blaise-Cendrars High School, Switzerland Teachers vote to remove WiFi.
Kivioja primary school, Finland Bans phones and minimizes Wireless
Halton Waldorf, Burlington Vermont, USA Remaining free of Wireless Radiation
Aurora School in Ontario Removed Wifi and replaced with hardwire solution
North Cariboo Christian School, Quesnel, B.C, Canada Removed Wi-fi
Pretty River Academy, Ontario, Canada No WiFi
Wayside Academy, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada No Wi Fi
St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary, Ontario, Canada Parents voted to turn off Wi-Fi
Ballinderry and Maghaberry Primary Schools, Ireland Removed Wi-Fi
Ysgol Pantycelyn, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK Switched off Wi-Fi network
Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, UK Removed part of Wi-Fi network after teacher became ill
Prebendal School, Chichester UK WIFI switched off
   

There are probably many more that could be added to this list which is just from one website. The point is, once parents are advised of the scale of risks involved in the use of WIFI, they want it turned off. The schools where teachers are being harmed also want WIFI switched off. There is a bandwagon gaining momentum here and the only reason things are the way they are is because those most at risk i.e. the majority of consumers, have absolutely no idea that all the gadgets they use to connect to the internet and used in schools day after day employ pulsed microwave radiation to function and how dangerous it is to our health. No-one in the schools mentioned in the above table waited for scientists and regulators to announce these frequencies as being dangerous to use. They took it upon themselves to apply the precautionary principle and to remove WIFI from their schools. Please note that in 2008 the DfES UK (department for education and skills) placed the responsibility on individual schools to decide whether or not to install Wi- Fi technology. Back in 2008, the DfES must have decided the use of WIFI in schools as a very 'hot potato' and assumed no further responsibility. This is the level of 'hesitancy' that some sectors of the government have towards the use of pulsed microwave radiation. At least the National Health Service provided some advice to parents and consumers by suggesting that young children need their exposure to mobile phones to be as limited as possible.

 

I now turn attention to what is happening on a country wide basis.

 

This website (http://southfloridareporter.com/some-countries-banning-wifi-in-schools-should-we-22524/) lists what is happening in Italy and Israel:

Teton Village, WY — (SBWIRE) — 09/22/2015 — As of this fall, Israel and Italy are officially recommending schools reduce children’s exposures to wireless radiation. The Israeli Ministry of Health has initiated a major public awareness effort to reduce wireless and electromagnetic radiation exposures to children. In similar action, the Italian State Parliament of South Tyrol voted to allow the application of the precautionary principle to replace existing wireless networks whenever possible with wired networks or those that emit less radiation. The Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) recommendations are published in the Environmental Health in Israel Report 2014 which states that “Precautions should be strictly enforced with regard to children, who are more sensitive to developing cancer.” Also for children, the Ministry of Health (Israel) recommends: “refraining from installing the base of wireless phones in a bedroom, work room, or children’s room.” Schools: Levels of non-ionizing radiation were measured in 25 schools nation-wide and “based on these findings, the MoEP recommends that students remain at a distance of at least 1.5 meters from electrical cabinets and that use of wireless communication networks in schools be reduced.” In Italy one of the recommendations with regard to the use of WIFI is to initiate an education and awareness campaign that informs about possible health risks, especially regarding the unborn, infants, children, and adolescents and that develops guidelines for a safer use of cell phones, smartphones, and Wi-Fi.

The French National Assembly voted on 19 March 2013 to adopt the precautionary principle to WiFi in schools in order to protect children’s health,  French Ministers voted to promote wired connections in schools and not WiFi. The French National Assembly has adopted a bill to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by wireless technologies - cell phones, tablets, Wi-Fi etc. This bill will mean the following:

• A ban on Wi-Fi in all childcare facilities for children under the age of 3.
• Cell phone manufacturers will have to recommend the use of hand-free kits.
• A ban on all advertising targeting children under 14.

This new law – the first in France to establish a precautionary approach addressing the potential health risks of radio frequencies – is the result of a real obstacle course, during which its initial ambitions were seriously downgraded. The Bill, filed in January 2013 by the MNA for Val-de-Marne Laurence Abeille (Europe Ecologie-Greens) had been referred to committee by the Socialists, before returning to the National Assembly in January 2014, under a watered-down form, and then to be adopted in first reading by the Senate in June 2014.

The French national library along with other libraries in Paris, and a number of universities have removed all Wi-Fi networks.  Wi-Fi has also been removed from all schools in the town of Herouville-Saint-Clair.

The Bavarian Parliament has recommended that schools in the province should not use wireless.

The Frankfurt City Government said that it would not install WiFi in its schools until it has been proven to be harmless.

The German Government recommends against the installation of Wi-Fii in schools, the removal of cordless phones and recommends cabled connections rather than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The Public Health Department of Salzburg has advised schools not to use WiFi.

In 2008 Russian National Committee on Non-Ironizing Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP) gave a warning about the serious and irreparable consequences of electromagnetic radiation especially for children.  In 2011, they again intensified this warning and recommended WiFi not be used in schools.

In Austria, the Austrian Medical Association has pressed for a ban of Wi-Fi in schools.

The Swiss Government has issued cautions in regard to wireless radiation emitted by baby monitors, mobile phones, laptops, tablets etc (source:http://www.wifi-in-schools-australia.org/p/worldwide.html)

Belgium: Cell phones and cell phone ads are banned for young children and SAR labeling is mandatory. Official government recommendations to reduce exposures are on the government website. Some municipalities have banned wifi for young children.

Spain: Several municipalities have passed resolutions urging the removal of wireless networks in schools and public places and recommending a precautionary approach with children and information campaigns to educate the public.

Finland: The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority officially recommends reduced exposure for children since 2009 and details advice to reduce exposure to the public.

India: Official “Precautionary Guidelines for mobile users” detail steps to reduce exposures. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has issued EMF guidelines with Exposure Limits lowered to 1/10 of the ICNIRP level, SAR labeling on phones. Some states have banned cell towers from schools. Many reports have been issued detailing research showing impacts to the environment.

Cyprus: The Cyprus National Committee on Environment and Child Health warns the public that using mobile devices could be potentially harmful to children and has issued recommendations and resources as part of a awareness campaign for the public to reduce exposures specifically to children and pregnant women.

Taiwan: In 2015 the government Updated their Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act to include a complete ban on children under the age of two from using electronic devices such as iPads, televisions and smartphones.

United States: Cell phone radiation Right to Know and Wireless labeling legislation has been passed at a local level and introduced at the state and national level. Some Communities have issued proclamations, resolutions and and started initiatives to inform the public of wireless health issues. Berkeley is the first city in the nation to require cell phone retailers to provide those who purchase a new phone an informational fact sheet which informs buyers to read the user manual to learn the cell phone’s minimum separation distance from the body.

It is clear to see that many organisations and countries around the world have or are starting to dismantle their WIFI networks and school connectivity policies. In view of all the confusion regarding whether these types of frequencies are hazardous to health and the lack of any real guidelines on what to look for and how to reduce body exposures to pulsed microwave radiation, it is not too surprising that parents and other concerned individuals are not waiting for science or regulators to finish their deliberations on taking immediate action to reduce body exposures from pulsed microwave radiation.

 

For kids sake, use the Precautionary Principle

We are all in a situation in which there is no 'rocket science' to look at. The facts are straightforward: in one corner are the many thousands of medical and epidemiological studies showing adverse biological non thermal effects and in the other corner are the regulators, government leaders and the telecommunications giants telling us that mobile and cordless D.E.C.T. phones, WIFI etc. are perfectly safe because the dose measured to skin are 1/1000th of the dose guidelines derived by the ICNIRP!!!

We as individuals, parents, school governors and headteachers must take a precautionary stance. This stance involves one of two simple strategies:

(a) completely remove WIFI routers and access points and replace with hard-wired alternatives, or at the very least

(b) limit the level of pulsed microwave radiation exposure by developing a protocol within teachers and IT departments that develop safer ways of working. These include limiting WIFI to only those classes using it, switching off WIFI when not in use and pre-downloading all teaching materials onto children's IT equiment during out of school hours.

It is always useful to remember that even the inadequate experimental safety studies looking at thermal (skin heating) effects used a duration of just 6 minutes exposure to emissions from a mobile phone before measurable changes in skin temperature were observed. Young children are exposed to spikes of pulsed microwave radiation from the time they enter school until they leave, day after day after day. Incidentally, not everyone sings the tune nor praises the 'guidelines' produced by the ICNIRP. There are many professional organisations of medical and scientific workers who have been warning about the dangers of pulsed microwave radiation for years.

 

Once again, it's not rocket science to understand that ethernet or optical hardwired cable connections throughout the school results in a much safer environment for staff and children and enables a much faster and more consistent connection to the internet. Finally, I include a small sample of medical and epidemiological studies in pdf format here. You can send these data to your local MP, local councillors, planning department members, school governors, headteacher etc. It is a call for action on your part in ridding the educational and urban landscape of pulsed microwave radiation that has quickly evolved from the use of mobile phone transmitting antennas and WIFI routers. Get clued up and get involved because the removal of WIFI and other microwave-enabled gadgets has to be initiated by us. If we stop complying with instructions from the media on what the 'latest must have is', we can stop this consumerist and deeply damaging biological juggernaut. It is no use waiting for the Health Protection England or any other regulators anywhere in the world to tell us anything about the safety of these devices - their position on safety is very clear and they dispense unsound advice. The evidence of harm is out there for those with eyes to see and brains to think. The emissions from a soup of microwave energies are harming us, our children, family members and friends. If not you - who?