Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Teachers' Unions in Germany, UK, USA and Canada Who Have Done Their Research Do Not Support WiFi in Schools

EdTech companies keep pushing for MORE wireless in classrooms, saying RF/EMF is safe when official agencies lack long-term data of health impact from exposure on children.

All these unions below have done their research about the health risks of WiFi and cellphones and are fighting to protect the health of their adult members in the workplace.

Why would school boards choose to increase the exposure to school children?

What kind of liabilities are school boards prepared to bear, for knowingly putting children under unnecessary and involuntary exposure to an IARC Class 2B Possible Carcinogen?

United Federation of Teachers - 200,000 teachers and educational professionals in New York City (2014)

Advisory: Wireless radiation is emitted by the myriad of wireless devices we encounter every day. It was once thought to be relatively harmless. However, we now know that wireless radiation can cause non-thermal biological effects as well, including damage to cells and DNA, even at low levels.

Reducing Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation
Some tips to reduce your exposure to wireless radiation.

What You Need to Know About Wireless Radiation and Your Baby
Taking certain precautions around wireless radiation is appropriate for our most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women.


Canadian Teachers' Federation - over 200,000 teachers across Canada (2013)
  • That Safety Code 6 include a recommendation for prudent use of Wi-Fi whenever possible including the recommendation to limit consistent exposure in schools by turning off wireless access points when not in use.
  • That Safety Code 6 exposure thresholds be based upon both thermal and biological effects of exposure to Wi-Fi
  • That the Expert Panel recommend an education program regarding the relative safety of Wi-Fi exposure and that appropriate resources be developed to educate the public regarding ways to avoid potential exposure risks of Wi-Fi access points and devices.”

Elementary Teacher's Federation of Ontario - over 76,000 teachers (2013):
ETFO's adopted resolutions:
 "That ETFO study the impact of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, including the possible implications for schools and members, with a report with recommendations to the February 2014 Representative Council.
There are growing health and safety concerns regarding the widespread use of technologies which produce and emit non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. It is estimated that over one million Canadians have an environmental sensitivity to this radiation and experience serious physical and biological effects. As has been the case with other known societal health dangers, the health effects of long-term exposure to this radiation may not be known for some time. Widespread exposure to wireless communication devices and infrastructure in Ontario schools can be a potential workplace hazard. Further study is needed to ensure the safety of members."
 “That ETFO, through OTF, lobby the Ministry of Education, the Ministry or Labour, and the Ministry of Health to ensure that school boards:
 1. Follow the 'Right to Know" legislation under the Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act by clearly labelling the location Of Wi-Fi access points
2. Develop a hazard control program related to wireless microwave radiation through the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).”
http://annualmeeting.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Session-71.pdf (#1 & 17)

British Columbia Teachers' Federation - 41,000 public school teachers (2013)
BCTF adopted resolution to protect teachers' health: "The BCTF supports members who are suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity by ensuring that their medical needs are accommodated in the workplace."

Greater Victoria Teachers' Association - 1,500 teachers (2013)
"The GVTA recommends a precautionary approach to the School District with regard to provision of wireless internet in schools.
The precautionary approach comes from the environmental movement and has been adopted as common practice in areas regarding potential environmental, ecological or biodiversity damage. It suggests that the lack of significant evidence is not enough of a reason to be unconcerned. The fact that many other countries have instituted regulations to protect children, seniors, pregnant women and other susceptible populations should be the guide for a District policy on WiFi installation and use in the worksites...”

United Teachers of Los Angeles - 40,000 teachers and staff (2013)
UTLA passed the following motion by a sweeping majority:

I move that UTLA will abide by current National NEA Policy for Environmentally Safe Schools which states that all employees and stakeholders should be informed when there are changes in their exposure to environmental hazards including electromagnetic radiation and that all stakeholders and the public should be notified of any actual and potential hazards. UTLA will advocate for technological solutions that maintain technology upgrades while not increasing employees exposure to electromagnetic radiation.”

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association - 37,000 teachers (2012)
A position regarding the use of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation, including WiFi, in the workplace:
1. We do not know what the long-term effects of low-level non-ionizing radiation are on those who are exposed (workers and students). No form of radiation can be deemed ‘safe’ as it depends on the constitution of the individual exposed, the amount of exposure as well as a sufficient amount of time to pass to observe any health effects that have a long latency period (i.e. cancer).
  2. The WHO has classified low-level non-ionizing radiation in the microwave band associated with celluar phones as a class 2b carcinogen (possible carcinogen) and Health Canada has warned about limiting the use of handheld personal electronic equipment such as cellular phones among youth. Initializing WiFi for personal electronic equipment will result in an unpredictable exposure as use varies.
 3. A segment of the population are environmentally sensitive (a disability according to the Canadian Human Rights Commission) to low level non-ionizing radiation and may experience immediate physical/biological reactions when exposed.
 4. Employers including School Boards have the duty to accommodate persons with disabilities including that of electro-hypersensitivity. A widespread investment in a redundant WiFi network may limit the ability to reduce WiFi exposure thereby accommodating workers with an electro-hypersensitivity disability.
 5. The safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced.
 6. The purposeful introduction of non-ionizing radiation transmitters, such as WiFi, into the work place is considered to be the introduction of new equipment that presents a potential health and safety hazard for workers. As such, it is the duty of the Joint Health and Safety Committee to develop a hazard control program to; assess the risk of injury from the potential hazard, recommend controls to be applied to address the hazards, and to monitor the effectiveness of the applied controls.
 7. Administrative and physical control methods to address the hazards of non-ionizing radiation, such as WiFi, in the workplace are readily available and relatively easy to apply. Application of controls would be completely consistent with the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) approach and the precautionary principles as well as the general duty clause, Section 25 (2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
 I. OECTA recognizes that there is a growing concern regarding the potential adverse health effects of the use of wireless technology which requires the broadcasting of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, typically in the radio/microwave frequency band.
 II. OECTA recognizes that the installation of WiFi microwave transmitters and the expanded use of wireless devices in Catholic schools and educational facilities across the Province of Ontario may present a potential Health and Safety risk or hazard in the workplace.
 III. OECTA recognizes the need to provide information to the Joint Health and Safety Committee(s) at the local Unit level regarding the potential hazards and prudent avoidance control measures regarding the presence of non-ionizing radiation (WiFi) in the workplace such that they may exercise their powers as established under S. 9(18) the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
 IV. OECTA post this position paper on the OECTA website.

UK: Voice - The Union for Education Professionals - 20,000 members
http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/index.cfm?cid=495 (2009) 
http://blog.voicetheunion.org.uk/?p=1097 (2013)
 “In the last few years there has been a great weight of evidence from around the world which suggests that exposure to electromagnetic radiation can have long-term health impacts, particularly on children, and that exposing young children (from birth to 12) to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) can produce changes in cell formation, genetic changes, and potential cancers.
Exposure levels are only half the story; length of exposure is crucial too. Long exposures at lower intensity levels may be as damaging as high exposure levels for short periods hence our concern about wireless networks in schools and nurseries.
It is a considerable concern that in schools we are installing wi-fi systems and we have no clear evidence that they are safe. Our concern is that until they are declared to be safe and proven to be safe we should not be installing them in schools.
The difficulty is that once installed in schools, they are switched on constantly. Whether the children are using them or not, they are exposed to that level of radiation.
Voice has advocated that new wi-fi systems should not be installed in schools, that existing systems should be turned off when not required and that schools should consider whether they really need to use wi-fi, which was developed to facilitate Internet access on the move rather than to be used as a convenient alternative to cables in dedicated IT facilities.”

UK ATL: Association of Teachers and Lecturers - more than 160,000 members (2009) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/5125161/Wifi-in-school-should-be-stopped-say-teachers.html

UK PAT: Professional Association of Teachers - 35,000 members (2007) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1549419/Teachers-voice-fears-of-Wi-Fi-health-risk.html

Germany GEW: Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (Education and Science Workers’ Union) - 260,000 members
2003 http://t.co/EQaUodrq7W
2006 http://t.co/7S0gOWoPkN

* * *

(2013) Members of 5 major unions in France which represented workers of the following large corporations and organizations protested to demand reduction of electromagnetic radiation in their work place.

The Bank of France
France Telecom Orange
L'Oréal (Cosmetics giant)
The City of Paris
RATP (Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transports - a state-owned public transport operation)
Geodis (A leading Transport and Logistics company in Europe)
The Bibliothèque Nationale de France (National Library of France)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

UCLA Study: Cellphones & Children's Headaches

6-min Video: Dr. Martin Pall to Portland Public Schools Board

Excellent presentation on WiFi's hazardous effects by Dr. Martin Pall (Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Chemical Sciences at Washington State University; recipient of multiple honours) and researcher Merry Callahan.
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCAyPMVuJHY

4-min Video: Dr. Anthony Miller to Toronto City Council

Dr. Anthony Miller (Professor Emeritus at University of Toronto's School of Public Health, renowned epidemiologist) recently presented to the Toronto City Council that classification of the cancer-causing property of cellphone/WiFi/cordless phone's non-ionizing radiation should be upgraded from 2B "Possibly Carcinogenic" to 2A "Probably Carcinogenic". He emphasized the importance of Prudent Avoidance.

UCLA Study Found Children at Higher Risk of Headache if they used cellphones or if their mothers used cellphones while pregnant with them

UK Expert Report
In-depth analysis of health issues resulting from the use of WiFi in schools 

The True Face of 21st Century Learning
How education became a tool for corporate profits
Petition at Avaaz: Stop exposing children to radiation from WiFi and 4G in schools till proven harmless

Friday, December 6, 2013

American Academy of Pediatrics: New Media Policy & Call for Protection of Children and Pregnant Women from Wireless Radiation

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP ) just updated their policy statement on media usage by children and youth. The new policy statement offers recommendations for parents:

  • Parents can model effective “media diets” to help their children learn to be selective and healthy in what they consume. Take an active role in children’s media education by co-viewing programs with them and discussing values.  
  • Make a media use plan, including mealtime and bedtime curfews for media devices. Screens should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms.  
  • Limit entertainment screen time to less than one or two hours per day; in children under 2, discourage screen media exposure. 

As well, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published 3 letters in the past 2 years calling for the adoption of the Precautionary Principle by protecting children and pregnant women from radiation emitted by cellphones and wireless devices. They also demand that the FCC revises its inadequate and outdated exposure guidelines and testing protocols (which happens to be the same as Health Canada's). 

The AAP represents 60,000 pediatricians and pediatric surgeons. 

August 29, 2013:

July 12, 2012:

December 12, 2012:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

iPads: How Safe Are Our Children?

TheGreenGazette July-August 2013

In the past few years, iPad has become many adults’ best friend and children’s babysitter. It is used as a computer, eBook reader, camera, video/music player, word processor, communication device, drawing tool, game pad, and more.

Apple says, “Read all safety information below and operating instructions before using iPad to avoid injury.” The safety information provided with purchase is a small booklet of 3 1/4" x 5", with text so tiny it is practically illegible without magnifying glasses. As a result, most people have never read the following:

iPad contains radio transmitters and receivers. When on, iPad sends and receives radio frequency (RF) energy through its antenna. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® antennas are located behind the screen to the left of the Home button, and behind the Apple logo... A cellular antenna is located at the top edge of iPad Wi-Fi+3G, when oriented with the Home button at the bottom.”

When ifixit.com dissected a Wi-Fi+3G iPad, they discovered not three but five antennas, including the frame of the LCD screen being a giant antenna.

... to be sure that human exposure to RF energy does not exceed the FCC, IC, and European Union guidelines, always follow these instructions and precautions: Orient the device in portrait mode with the Home button at the bottom of the display, or in landscape mode with the cellular antenna (located under the black edge at the top of the device) away from your body or other objects...”

This means if you don’t handle the iPad exactly as instructed, the RF radiation can exceed governments’ limits for human exposure. Unfortunately, most parents and teachers have no idea about this, and have never communicated the manufacturer’s instructions to children who are using iPads.

The user manual recommends:you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad Wi-Fi+3G in wireless mode, since time is a factor in how much exposure a person receives, and by placing more distance between your body and iPad Wi-Fi + 3G, since exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.”

RF/EMF: 2B Possible Carcinogen

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by wireless communication devices as Type 2B Possible Carcinogen to Humans. The monograph states: “The general population receives the highest exposure from transmitters close to the body... In children... deposition of RF energy may be two times higher in the brain and up to ten times higher in the bone marrow of the skull than in adult users.” The WHO report concluded that additional research is important and advised the public, particularly young adults and children, to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure.

Comparison between iPad and cellphone radiation

The published radiation level of mobile devices is called Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). An iPad on WiFi/3G has an SAR of 0.76-1.19 W/kg, compared to the SAR of an iPhone on GSM/CDMA at 0.547-1.18 W/kg. Many other cellphones have even lower SAR value than the iPhone.

Governments of some countries including Canada have issued warnings on children’s use of cellphones. With iPad’s radiation level being similar to cellphones, the same caution should be taken. Health Canada, “encourages parents to reduce children’s RF exposure... since children are typically more sensitive” and “there is currently a lack of scientific information regarding the potential health impacts of cellphones on children.”

Health Canada advises the following: Limit the length of cellphone calls; replace cellphone calls with text messages or use hands-free devices; and encourage children under the age of 18 to limit their cell phone usage.

Just as we would not put an actively transmitting cellphone against a child’s head for hours a day, we should not put an actively transmitting iPad against the reproductive organ or other parts of a child’s body for hours a day.

900 blasts of radiofrequency per hour

When the WiFi antenna in an iPad is turned on, it emits a burst of radiofrequency approximately every four seconds. That makes 900 blasts per hour in the child’s hands, on his lap, or at his face. This does not include any additional data signals resulting from uploading and downloading activities. Moreover, the blasts at four-second intervals occur even when the user is not accessing the Internet. In other words, even if a child is only using the iPad to draw or to play a game, he still receives 900 blasts an hour as long as the WiFi antenna is left on.

Between 2008 and 2011, the European Union Parliament and the Council of Europe passed multiple resolutions against the “early, ill-considered, and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves.” Many medical associations in North America and Europe have also issued public statements to warn about the serious health risks associated with using wireless devices. Among them, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine wrote:

In September 2010, the Journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine - Fertility and Sterility reported that only four hours of exposure to a standard laptop using WiFi caused DNA damage to human sperm.”
Multiple studies correlate radiofrequency exposure with diseases such as cancer, neurological disease, reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity... Other neurological and cognitive disorders such as headaches, dizziness, tremors, decreased memory and attention, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, decreased reaction times, sleep disturbances, and visual disruptions have been reported to be statistically significant in multiple epidemiological studies with radiofrequency exposure occurring non-locally.”

With the proliferation of the wireless industry, it might not be possible to eliminate all sources of RF radiation. However, a good start is to follow the European parliaments’ advice for an exposure level called A.L.A.R.A. (as low as reasonably achievable). The following resolution was adopted by the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Council this year. While these steps were proposed for schools, they are also useful for reduction of unnecessary exposure at home:

1. to provide on/off switches to WiFi routers; 

2. to establish a protocol of use that 
    (i) WiFi routers and WiFi/3G functions of computers/laptops/tablets are to be turned on only when they are  needed for access to the Internet via the wireless network; and, 
    (ii) Bluetooth function is to be turned on only if it is needed for accessing other Bluetooth-enabled devices. 

3. to observe safety warnings and follow safety instructions in the user manual of iPad by reducing the duration of use under wireless mode and keeping the iPads away from the students’ bodies. 

Note that putting an iPad on airplane mode will initially turn off all antennas on the iPad. However, WiFi and bluetooth antennas can be re-enabled without switching off the airplane mode. Therefore, an iPad showing airplane mode “on” is not a guarantee that all the antennas are off. It is important to check the antennas separately. In addition, when the WiFi function on an iPad shows “Not Connected,” it does not mean the antenna is off. It only means the iPad is not logged onto any available wireless network. To ensure the WiFi antenna is turned off, the WiFi function must read “off.”
Differences between the iPad and an AM/FM Radio
The “radio” frequency emitted by iPad is often confused with AM/FM radio waves. The two actually differ in the following ways: (1) AM/FM radio utilizes analogue signals with a continuous waveform (see diagram below). iPad (via 3G or WiFi) emits digital signals in the form of pulsed microwave, similar to cellphone and DECT cordless phones. Pulsed microwave digital signal has sharp spikes in its waveform. (2) AM/FM radio is one-way transmission, with the listeners at the receiving end only. iPad antennas, on the other hand, work in constant two-way communication. iPad is not only a receiver but also a transmitter of pulsed microwave. The user of an iPad on wireless mode is in direct or close contact with the pulsed microwave signal at its source, which is the strongest.

 Graphic adapted from EMfields.
Reference for this article: http://goo.gl/AHE1Z For more information on wireless radiation, its health effects and scientific basis, and video of RF measurements, please visit the following websites: www.safeinschool.org, www.wiredchild.org, www.citizensforsafetechnology.org
Solutions for living green and achieving self-sufficiency https://interactivepdf.uniflip.com/2/60627/289518/pub/
Lisa Bland, Publisher / Editor-in-Chief:  info@thegreengazette.ca

Download this article in a flyer format: 

More Health and Safety Warnings from the iPad User Manual:

Seizures, Blackouts, and Eyestrain
A small percentage of people may be susceptible to blackouts or seizures (even if they have never had one before) when exposed to flashing lights or light patterns such as when playing games or watching video. If you have experienced seizures
or blackouts or have a family history of such occurrences, you should consult a physician before playing games or watching videos on your iPad. Discontinue use of iPad and consult a physician if you experience headaches, blackouts, seizures, convulsion, eye or muscle twitching, loss of awareness, involuntary movement, or disorientation. To reduce risk of headaches, blackouts, seizures, and eyestrain, avoid prolonged use, hold iPad some distance from your eyes, use iPad in a well-lit room, and take frequent breaks.

Glass Parts
The outside cover of the iPad screen is made of glass. This glass could break if iPad is dropped on a hard surface or receives a substantial impact. If the glass chips or cracks, do not touch or attempt to remove the broken glass and stop using iPad. Glass cracked due to misuse or abuse is not covered under the warranty.

Radio Frequency Interference
Radio-frequency emissions from electronic equipment can negatively affect the operation of other electronic equipment, causing them to malfunction... the wireless transmitters and electrical circuits in iPad Wi-Fi + 3G may cause interference in other electronic equipment. Therefore, please take the following precautions:

Use of iPad may be prohibited while traveling in aircraft.
For more information about using Airplane Mode to turn off the iPad wireless transmitters, see the iPad User Guide.

Radio frequency emissions from iPad may affect electronic systems in motor vehicles. Check with the manufacturer or its representative regarding your vehicle.

The Health Industry Manufacturers Association recommends that a minimum separation of 15 cm (6 inches) be maintained between a handheld wireless phone and a pacemaker to avoid potential interference with the pacemaker.

Persons with pacemakers: Should always keep iPad more than 15 cm (6 inches) from the pacemaker when the wireless device is turned on.

If you have any reason to suspect that interference is taking place, turn iPad off
immediately (press and hold the Sleep/Wake button, and then slide the onscreen slider).

Other Medical Devices
If you use any other personal medical device, consult the device manufacturer or your physician to determine if it is adequately shielded from radio frequency emissions from iPad.

Health Care Facilities
Hospitals and health care facilities may use equipment that is particularly sensitive to external radio frequency emissions. Turn iPad off when staff or posted signs instruct you to do so.

Blasting Areas and Posted Facilities
To avoid interfering with blasting operations, turn off iPad when in a “blasting area” or in areas posted “Turn off two-way radio.” Obey all signs and instructions.

Read more: 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

EHS Children Forced from Schools - Legal Appeal to School Board

The Sooke School District #62 (BC) has denied the appeal of three young children with an environmental intolerance, medically known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). EHS is caused by exposure to Wi-Fi (wireless internet) and other devices emitting microwave, radio frequency radiation. Symptoms commonly associated with microwave sickness include headaches, fast heart rate, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, concentration and memory problems, anxiety, sleep disorders, extreme fatigue, tremors, reoccurring infection, impaired immune function, skin rash, facial flushing, abdominal pain, nosebleeds, ringing in the ears, and more.

Since there is currently NO school in Sooke that is free of Wi-Fi networks, these children have been forced to leave not only their respective schools but the district as well. The parents have formally brought the issue forward, without success, to every level within the school system. Despite their doctors' written requests for the children to avoid Wi-Fi emissions, their medical circumstances have been consistently ignored and denied by the school district. At this time, the parents are appealing their district's decision to the BC Ministry of Education so that their children will be able to return to school. There is no place for discrimination in schools, and a safe learning environment is a right afforded to all Canadian children. 

In order to prevent the onset of specific EHS symptoms, the children's parents are asking that their school board provide them with one school in their district that is free of wireless radiation. This would necessitate the use of hardwired communications within that school to make phone calls and to access the Internet. 

It is important to note that in May of 2012, in order to accommodate children with EHS and to provide choice for parents who want to heed health warnings to reduce exposure for children who are most vulnerable, the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) called for a moratorium on Wi-Fi in schools, and for a minimum of one school in each district at each level to be free of Wi-Fi. 

BCCPAC Resolutions:


School districts continue to ignore these resolutions and the voices of many concerned parents.

We are asking now for your support. An attorney specializing in this field has been engaged to represent the concerned families in this appeal process. The projected cost of legal fees is estimated at $5,000. Your donations will help to fund this important legal challenge. 

Children in many parts of Canada are faced with this same injustice. If accommodation is achieved in this case, through this appeal process, it will be precedent-setting for other school districts in B.C. and Canada.

CHRC Report: Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities (RF/EMF legitimate trigger for ill symptoms)

The Canadian Human Rights Commission recommends accommodation for those with EHS through reasonable measures such as hard wired communications in the working/school environment.

Another video of interest: Wi-Fi in Schools-The Facts (18 min) Note: Australia's A.R.P.A.N.S.A = Health Canada (Safety Code 6)

For more info on Wi-Fi health effects: