Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Children’s Exposure to Microwave Radiation - A letter to the Sooke School Board

Oct 25, 2010

Dear members of the Board,

Re: Children’s Exposure to Microwave Radiation from Wireless Internet (Wi-Fi) in Schools.

The purpose of this letter is to alert school officials who are responsible for making health and safety decisions within our schools to the overwhelming scientific evidence available that supports precautionary measures with regards to children's exposure to high frequency microwave radiation (MWR) emitted from wireless communications that include roof top transmitters, cell phones and Wi-Fi. Many scientists have expressed great concern that children especially are at risk for serious health consequences with continuous exposure to MWR due to unique characteristics such as: thinner skulls (deeper penetration), more water in brain (conductor), smaller size, absorb ten times more radiation in bone marrow than an adult, and immune and neurological systems are not fully developed until early twenties. Most would agree internet accessibility in schools is an essential tool for students in the 21st Century, however, this does not require exposing children and staff to MWR for many hours every day when safer hard wired alternatives exist. Recently there has been much attention in the media on this highly debated health issue, and concerns are growing amongst parents that exposure to industrial strength Wi-Fi will increase the risk for many serious health effects to their children. With thousands of published and 'peer reviewed' studies and over a dozen International Proclamations from scientists around the world stating MWR is harmful; this is not simply a few parents over reacting. As concerned parents and members of Citizens for Safe Technology Society, we respectfully request to present information to the Board regarding the safety of Wi-Fi in our schools from many credible sources that include scientists, doctors, health and environmental agencies, government including the European Parliament. It is imperative school officials have all the facts to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the health and safety of our children.  Other countries are now removing Wi-Fi from schools; it is our duty to find out why...

 Wi-Fi like cellular phones emits low level, high frequency radio waves in the microwave portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum. Currently safety standards in Canada regulate against thermal (heating) effects only, and do not include protection against biological effects that scientists around the world through research have proven occur at levels far below current safety standards with no outward heating effect. Many other countries such as France, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, Germany, Italy, Australia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and China have exposure standards hundreds to thousands of times more strict. You may not be aware; there has been no premarket testing of this pulsed, low intensity cellular/wireless technology which was introduced in 1997, and specifically no testing on the biological effects of Wi-Fi on growing, vulnerable children. It is no secret that the rapid deployment of wireless technologies has outstripped the scientific ability to quantify risk. As parents, we should not have to prove this new technology is dangerous through the ill health (present and future) of our children. Instead the onus should be on the wireless industry to prove it is safe, before it comes to market and be mandated to monitor effects on health like our country does with pharmaceuticals. Wi-Fi put in schools makes our children involuntary participants in a human science experiment without any controls nor any parental consent.   

 We are very aware of the action being taken in Europe to protect children by enacting the precautionary principle in this regard
and further applaud the Los Angeles Board of Education for unanimously passing a resolution in May 2009 limiting cellular antennae on school properties for health reasons and further resolving to hardwire computer installations for reasons of health and security. This School District has approximately 600 schools in its mandate. Parliaments, local governments, schools, libraries, and others taking preventative action have reviewed the full 'BioInitiative Report', we encourage you to do the same. In this analysis report of 2000 'peer reviewed' studies on the biological effects from electromagnetic radiation it specifically found:

—Double strand DNA breaks and oxidative stress
—Stress proteins in cell creating cellular distress
—RF induced gene expression changes
—Sleep, cognitive function and performance changes
—Blood brain barrier alterations
—Micronuclei and chromosomal aberrations
—Adverse neuro behavioural effects

Currently there is very little research associated with wireless routers (Wi-Fi), and the heath effects to children from daily exposure is still unclear. However, long term cell phones studies have shown an increased risk of several types of tumours, including tumours of the brain, the eye, the nerve leading to the ear, and the salivary gland. These tumours appear on the same side of the head used to listen to the cell phone and appear after 10 years of moderate to heavy cell phone use (0.5 hr average daily).

Surgical Neurology 72(3), 205-214, 2009. Cell phones and brain tumours: a review including long-term epidemiologic data.

“The results indicate that using a cell phone for > or = 10 years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumour on the same side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use. The data achieve statistical significance for glioma and acoustic neuroma.” 

International Journal of Oncology 35(1), 5-17, 2009. Mobile phones, cordless phones and the risk for brain tumours

 "Mobile phone use for greater than 10 years was associated with a 5 fold (500%) increased risk acoustic neuroma on the same side of the head as phone use, for subjects with first use at age < 20
(for all ages it was a 3 fold increase).

Please consider the following statement made by Dr. David Carpenter, Professor and Director, Environmental Health Sciences, Institute for Health and the Environment, School of Public Health, University of Albany

"...Unfortunately, all of our exposure standards are based on the false assumption that there are no hazardous effects at intensities that do not cause tissue heating. Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to Wi-Fi and other wireless devices.  Thus it is important that all of us, and especially children, restrict our use of cell phones, limit exposure to background levels of Wi-Fi, and that government and industry discover ways in which to allow use of wireless devices without such elevated risk of serious disease. We need to educate decision-makers that ‘business as usual’ is unacceptable. The importance of this public health issue can not be underestimated.”

 A petition started advocating for hard wiring of schools and restriction of cellular antennae on school properties currently has hundreds of signatures, and those numbers are increasing steadily. Our group represents many parents who wish to see schools opt for the complete safety of hard wired connections, as is happening in a growing number of schools, libraries and universities in Europe. It is encouraging to see different Parliaments (European, French, German, Liechtenstein to name a few) take action to protect their citizens. It is also notable that Toronto Department of Public Health issued a warning regarding young people’s use of cellular technology. I am attaching a small sampling of information for your review. On behalf of many concerned parents, I, along with a small group of parents, request a personal meeting with you to discuss the tremendous challenges facing parents who have informed themselves on this emerging public health issue. There is growing despair among these parents who believe very strongly that the future health of their children is at risk from the involuntary exposure they must sustain each day to gain an education. We believe that Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 is inadequate and obsolete – it only addresses thermal exposure, is not biologically based, and does not address pulsed/modulated ICRW at 2.45 GHz frequency.

At this time in history, when many credible and highly placed world wide scientists and medical doctors are calling for caution and protection of children from exposure to wireless technologies, the educated and knowledgeable course of action would appear to be one of investigation, open discussion and opting for the safest possible actions. When analyzing a risk/benefit scenario, it would appear to informed parents that the common sense approach would be to choose hard wiring of school computers given the ongoing biology vs. physics scientific debate. The only reason hard wiring is not being installed in schools is for the reasons of cost and convenience. Is this the best we can do for our children?

We sincerely request that you hear the deep disquiet surrounding this issue, and meet with a group of concerned parents for open discussion of this issue. We believe there is a profound urgency to protect our children from the biological effects of low intensity non-thermal non ionizing microwave radiation, and that the emerging science demonstrating harm needs to be taken into careful and immediate consideration by those charged with the protection of our youth.  Let the children be the first among us to receive protection; let us insist like other countries the use of safer hard wired connection instead of Wi-Fi.

We respectfully await your response.

Tammy Jeske

Citizens for Safe Technology Society

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