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22/10/2012 - WiFi in Schools - a risk to our children's health?

World expert calls for halt to wifi in schools

PRESS RELEASE by Safe Schools Information Technology Alliance

This free important public meeting is open to everyone with an interest in education and health.

"Open Forum: Wifi in Schools - is it a risk to our children's health?"

William Mong Hall, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

URGENT !!!    Tuesday 23 October at 7.30 pm    !!!

Professor Olle Johansson will call for a halt to the installation and use of wifi in schools at a public meeting in Cambridge. Professor Johansson is an internationally recognised expert on the health effects of radiofrequency radiation, which includes microwaves.

Also giving important talks will be Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe, a medical doctor who specialises in emergency medicine and electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and Dr. Isaac Jamieson, an architect and physicist specialising in environmentally healthy buildings. There will be time for open discussion.

     The next three paragraphs have been edited for better clarity
Wifi in schools exposes children to microwave radiation 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, year after year. Children are known to be especially vulnerable to microwave radiation. And evidence shows that it may damage health. The introduction of iPads into schools will greatly intensify children's exposure. In 2011 the report of the UK HPA's £ 330,000 publicly funded investigation into the radiation levels from WiFi devices more than confirmed the criticised high signal levels shown by Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch on the controversial and now famous BBC Panorama program on WiFi. The HPA measured signal levels over twice the level we did from some laptops - 1.3 V/m at 1 metre away - their model children must have long arms!, and 2.6 V/m at 1 metre distance from Access Points.

They say that the time-averaged output power of WiFi devices will generally be lower than that of mobile phones. The exposure from WiFi devices is also likely to be lower than from personal mobile phone use by the head because the antennas tend to be further away from the body. Of course with iPads the antennas are often very close to the children's reproductive parts. And though the time-averaged power levels may generally be lower, the peak signal levels are very similar - because there are longer gaps between the data pulses. Biologically that may even be worse. Low level continuous signals are thought to be less biologically active.

So, if we say that the exposure from WiFi is half that from a typical mobile call being made by someone standing close to you, when we have 20 pupils and 2 Access Points in a classroom all using WiFi devices, it is like having about 12 people in the room continuously on their mobile phones. Unless the laptops are actually switched off, this exposure to several volts per metre pulsing RF occurs throughout the day. If the classroom had a wired network, none of that exposure would occur. Yet the UK Health Protection Agency continues to advise schools that there is no reason not to use wifi.

Increasing issues being reported as being linked with continuous low-level pulsing microwaves from WiFi and similar sources include attention, concentration and memory problems, behavioural problems, headaches, irritability and fatigue. Certainly problems that parents and teachers do not want to see in their children.

Governments outside the UK take the issue seriously. The German Federal Government has advised everyone, not only children, only to use wifi when really necessary and to preferentially used wired networks. The director of the French Health and Security Agency has said, "the time for inaction [on wifi] is past". The Council of Europe has called for schools to have wired connections to the internet, not wifi.

One of the organisers, Martin Aitken, said, "if leading scientists contradict the Health Protection Agency's advice to schools on wifi, then parents in the UK have good reason to be worried."

Professor Johansson is head of the Experimental Dermatology Unit in the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The Karolinska Institute awards Nobel Prizes.

» Here is a link to an interesting new Canadian teacher's association website article:
Wi-Fi technology in schools: Is it time to reconsider?

How to find the venue (from Google Maps, with thanks):