8 year old Michigan student replicates Danish school girl’s study…
Barrie Trower, UK, Secret Service MI6 Microwave Weaponry Specialist…WIFI, A Thalidomide in the Making
WIFI IN SCHOOLS
Philip Parkin, the General Secretary of the Education Professionals Union, Voice, formerly the Professional Association of Teachers, has called for a full investigation into the networks. ‘We continue to be concerned about the possible effects of WiFi. Particularly on children whose brains and bodies are still developing’ he said ( HYPERLINK “http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk//index.cfm/page/siteerror.cfm?CFID=1767706&;CFTOKEN=78e48e6548e8aaae-B8053A17-3048-2C8C-52E19AED4F73F7E6″ 2007). Voice is calling for a moratorium on new Wi-Fi networks in schools and the suspension of existing Wi-Fi if possible.
‘The proliferation of wireless networks could be having serious implications for the health of some staff and pupils without the cause being recognised’. ‘There are huge commercial pressures which may be why there has not yet been any significant action’. Speaking about the announcement of an investigation into WiFi by the Health Protection Agency (measuring emissions from computers in schools to check whether they are within ICNIRP guidelines), Mr Parkin states, ‘Whilst we welcome this investigation I do not feel that it goes far enough. It seems to be concentrating on what should be known already rather than on what is not known. It seems to me that the HPA:
– has pre-judged outcomes before they have done the work;
– seems to only be considering the thermal effect of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) and not the potential long-term health risks associated with the non-thermal effects;
– is assessing against the totally inadequate ICNIRPS guidelines which only relate to the thermal effects of EMR;
– does not appear to be doing any health-related investigations amongst children; and
– appears to be concentrating on measuring radiation levels which are already known, or should have been before the technology was allowed to be used in schools.’
The German teachers’ Union for Education and Knowledge (GEW, Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft) has told its members to resist the rollout of WiFi into schools in Germany on safety grounds. The GEW Union in Hesse has proposed ‘Due to possible effects on school performance, a healthy school should not only be smoke free, but also allow teachers and students to teach and study in a radiation free environment’ ( HYPERLINK “http://omega.twoday.net/20070625/” 2007).
Austrian Medical Association and Public Health Department of Salzburg
The Public Health Department of Salzburg ( HYPERLINK “http://www.mastsanity.org/index.php?option=com_docman&;task=doc_download&gid=2&Itemid=64″ 2005) has warned that WiFi should not be put in schools or nurseries. The Austrian Medical Association is lobbying against the deployment of WiFi in schools.
Schools in Germany
The Bavarian Parliament has recommended that no schools in the province use wireless LAN networks. The Frankfurt City Government said that it would not install WiFi in its schools until its had been shown to be harmless.
The German Federal Government has recommended that the use of HYPERLINK “http://wifiinschools.org.uk/10.html” WLAN in the workplace or home should be avoided, if possible. They have stated that conventional wired connections are preferred ( HYPERLINK “http://www.icems.eu/docs/deutscher_bundestag.pdf” July 2007).
Schools in the UK
Several schools in the UK have removed their WiFi systems, due to concerns of adverse health effects from parents ( HYPERLINK “http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article642575.ece” TimesOnline, Nov 20th, 2006; HYPERLINK “http://www.lisburntoday.co.uk/news/PRIMARY-PULLS-PLUG-ON-WIFI.4435678.jp” Ulster Star, 28th Aug 2008). Parents in some schools are refusing to let their children use the wireless computers and are campaigning to have alternative wired-up computing facilities available.
Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada
Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada has limited its use of WiFi based on the precautionary principle, due to health concerns. It has comprehensive fibre-optic computer network throughout the campus. Its statement on the use of WiFi includes: ‘There will be no use of WiFi in those areas of the University already served by hard wire connectivity until such time as the potential health effects have been scientifically rebutted or there are adequate protective measures that can be taken’ ( HYPERLINK “http://policies.lakeheadu.ca/policy.php?pid=178.%20…” 2004).
Libraries in Paris
The HYPERLINK “http://www.robindestoits.org/La-Bibliotheque-Nationale-de-France-renonce-au-WiFi-Avril-2008_a283.html” Bibliotheque Nationale de France has forgone installation of a public WiFi system, and decided to follow the precautionary principle following concerns raised in the Bio-Initiative Report (2007). WiFi has also been switched off in the Sainte Genevieve Library in Paris after a member of Staff complained of adverse health effects from the wireless network.
The Progressive Librarian’s Guild
The Progressive Librarian’s Guild in America ( HYPERLINK “http://libr.org/plg/wifiresolution.php” 2008) recommend ‘that via their professional organizations, information workers address the risks of wireless technology in public spaces, take steps in learning about the risks of wireless in terms of exposure and impact on library services, monitor wireless technology in their facilities, critically evaluate and adopt alternatives to wireless technology especially in children’s sections of libraries, create warning signage on risks of wifi throughout their libraries,and act as a community resource in the public education on wireless technologies.’
Professor Dennis Henshaw, Professor of human radiation effects at Bristol University has called for an enquiry into the dangers of WiFi wireless internet technology (2007). ‘The research hasn’t been done. Therefore we cannot assume that there are no effects’ he told the HYPERLINK “http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/scientists-demand-inquiry-over-wifi-446695.html” Independent Newspaper. ‘This technology is being wheeled out without any checks and balances’.
Professor Johansson at the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has sent a letter advising against the use of WiFi to Swedish School Governors ( HYPERLINK “http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/pdfs/20070723_wifi_olle.pdf” Powerwatch, 2005).
Ian Gibson, MP, a former chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee and honorary Professor and former Dean of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, said ‘We need a departmental enquiry into this situation. The Department of Health should be looking into it seriously’ ( HYPERLINK “http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article649578.ece” The TimesOnline, Nov 25th, 2006).
The Stewart Report
The Stewart Report ( HYPERLINK “http://www.iegmp.org.uk/report/index.htm” 2000, see also HYPERLINK “http://wifiinschools.org.uk/2.html” Precautionary Approach) commissioned by the UK Government stated that a precautionary approach should be taken to the use of mobile phone technologies until more detailed information on any health effects becomes available. It recommended that the beam of greatest intensity from mobile phone masts should not fall on any part of a school’s grounds or buildings without the agreement of the school and parents. The Stewart Report also advises that children should not use mobile phones for non-essential calls.
Chief Medical Officers
UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that if parents wish their children to avoid being subject to possible risks, they should not let their children (under the age of 16) use mobile phones ( HYPERLINK “http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4123979” Department of Health Website, 2006).
HOT OFF THE FRENCH PRESS…
French government implement mobile phone legislation
15/01/2009 – French government consider mobile phone legislation
In a bold and groundbreaking move, the French government are now the first European government to publicly announce a proposal for an outright ban on some aspect of mobile phone usage based exclusively on potential risks to health.
Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo has proposed new legislation that will lead to ban on the advertising of mobile phones to children under the age of 12. It will also be illegal for sales of phones that are intended for use by children under the age of 6, and it will be compulsory for all handsets to be sold with accompanying earphones.
In September, the European Parliament voted 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter radiation limits for phones, and the European Environment Agency has also issued a warning.
Whilst similar to the recommendations of other countries (Toronto’s Department of Public Health has advised that children under eight should only use mobiles in emergencies and teenagers should limit calls to less than 10 minutes. The Russian Ministry of Health says that young people under 18 should not use the devices, and Israel’s Health Ministry has also advised caution), this is the first recommendation to have made its way into proposed national legislation. It is a much needed first step on the road to governmentally introduced precaution on behalf of the public that it represents.
The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority have also recommended that children should favor texting over calls, use hands-free where possible, not use their phone in cars and trains, limited both number of calls and call duration. They feel that an outright ban is inappropriate due to the benefits that they provide, but believe that precaution is appropriate.
Sadly, the United Kingdom appears to be falling behind in their acknowledgement of the steadily increasing evidence that mobile phones may present a serious threat to health. Despite the UK Government Department of Health advice that children and young people under 16 should only use mobile phones for “essential purposes” and even then not for prolonged periods, public awareness of this advice is minimal.