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18/05/2009 - Philip Parkin speaks up against WiFi
Philip Parkin, general secretary of "Voice: the union for education professionals", has spoken out in a comprehensive interview covering a number of controversial areas of the existing education system.
The first four questions were based on the proliferation of WiFi in UK primary and secondary schools and whether the rollout is appropriate in the light of existence evidence and understanding of the science on similar technologies. In response to these, Philip covered the most relevant points from the point of view of concern over the uncertainty of whether a risk will be present, and if so what sort of prevalence and severity the increase in risk is likely to be:
- "There seems to be an increasing quantity of evidence being produced around the world which suggests that exposure to electromagnetic radiation can have long-term health impacts both on children and adults but particularly children."
- "It is a considerable concern that in schools we are installing wi-fi systems and we have no clear evidence that they are safe."
- "We are not trying to turn back the tide as far as technology is concerned but we have to be sure that as well as doing a job for us, and there is no question that wi-fi does a wonderful job, we have to be absolutely sure that it is safe."
- "Scientists do not say anything with one voice, but there is advice out there. For example, our own Health Protection Agency gives clear advice on children using mobile phones and that children should only use mobile phones in emergencies, and yet no one takes any notice of that."
- View interview in full
- ePolitix homepage
- "Voice: the union for education professionals"
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Since taking over as the director of IARC, Christopher Wild has succeeded in putting together a draft with two other colleagues that should represent the project's final summary of the evidence observed on the association between mobile phone usage and risk of malignant brain tumours (Gliomas and Meningiomas). Sadly, especially considering the evidence published by Hardell and colleagues, the Acoustic Neuroma findings are still to be completed and will not be published along with the malignant tumour work.
Considering the amount of money, time and energy invested in the Interphone project to date, the continue lack of results and discussions on the implications of the results can only be termed as a disaster. This has not been helped by the public disagreements and divergence of views within the Interphone camp leading to such a stalemate, and the lack of consideration of a number of significant confounding factors (such as cordless phone usage) further exacerbates the issues. By the time the results are fully published, their relevance and usefulness will be highly questionable due to the age of the data.
- View comprehensive article on Microwave News
- IARC Website
National Communications Commission (Taiwan) fights legislation limiting buildings to 3 mobile phone base stations
The National Communications Commission in Taiwan is currently fighting legislation, passed last month, that would limit buildings to only be allowed to house 3 mobile phone base stations at any one time.
Although a spokesperson from the Department of Health quoted a 2006 WHO document stating that "there was no reliable evidence showing that radio waves emitted from base stations harm humans", the considerable increase in public concern about health effects from electromagnetic radiation coupled with the continued uncertainty in the scientific community ensured that the amendment to the act was passed last month.
- View original coverage in the Taipei Times
- National Communications Commission website
Connecticut governor M Jodi Rell has proclaimed May 2009 is "Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) Awareness Month
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Citing symptoms such as headaches, muscular issues, digestive issues, vomiting and nausea, and other neurological and physiological symptoms, the governer recognises the symptoms of "EMS" and the cause as electromagnetic radiation (as recognised by the "Americans with Disabilities" act). She comments that the general health of the population may be at risk and recognises that reduction and avoidance of exposure to electromagnetic radiation may help prevent the symptoms and the disease itself.
Paris University declares WiFi moratorium within the University
Paris III Sorbonne University has declared a WiFi moratorium on the wireless access points within the University at their last health and safety meeting.
Stephen Cendrier, a spokesman for the libraries in Paris who have already made similar steps, said that "The health problem (posed by wireless terminals NDLR) is similar to that posed by mobile phones". Several library employees have complained about and problems with memory or language problems, nausea, vomiting or dizziness, and have questioned the wifi as a possible cause.
This is yet further evidence of the precautionary stance being taken by France at the moment, who are currently leading Europe with regards to ensuring that any potential health risks to the general public are minimised.
- View original in French on Europe1.fr