Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wi-Fi in the Education Environment

The following is a study by Gary Brown. Ed. D. -  Instructional Technologies and Distance Education from Nova Southeatern University and Public School District Educational Technology and Distance Learning Specialist.

Note that "Wireless Local Area Network" (WLAN) as mentioned in the study, is another name for Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity).

Wireless Devices, Standards, and Microwave Radiation in the Education Environment  
Full text at

"Several million electric pulses (megabits) travel in streams of invisible energy (radio waves) carrying true characters... digital pulses of radio waves move fast at the speed of light... Since WLANs (Wi-Fi) would be on during the school day, the RF/MW transmitters attached to these wireless systems are transmitting continuously. Electric pulses in the RF/MW region (radio waves), the band of the electromagnetic spectrum used for communications, can pass through nearly all types of matter, including children."

"W. Gregory Lotz, Ph..D., Chief, Physical Agents Effects Branch Division of Biomedical and Behavioral Science (MS C-27) for NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) and NIOSH’s representative to RFIAWG (federal Radiofrequency Interagency Work Group).... indicated that a hard-wired portable classroom connected to a rooftop antenna would be a safer option than wireless-laptops, work stations, and base stations in a classroom environment."

"Senior Scientist Norbert Hankin, of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Office of Radiation and Indoor Air and Chairman of RFIAWG (federal Radiofrequency Interagency Work Group).... When questioned about the health and safety concerns of the wireless computer in the classroom scenario, Mr. Hankin said: “In my personal opinion, I wouldn’t do it.” (Emphasis added.) He further stated that there are animal studies showing health issues with short-term exposures to non-ionizing RF/MW radiation. Mr. Hankin expressed concern about children who would be close to transmitting antenna(s) (wireless-laptops, work stations, and base stations) and exposed to prolonged low intensity transmissions. He likened it to being in a room of cellphones running all day long. Mr. Hankin suggested that the hard-wired portable classroom scenario, connected to a rooftop antenna, was a safer way to go."

"University of Utah scientist, Om Gandhi published in 1996, greater distribution and penetration of RF/MW radiation was found in the heads of 5- and 10-year-old children using a cell phone than in those of adults using a cell phone. Significantly larger amounts of the radiation were absorbed by children when compared to the absorption rates of adults." 

"At the University of Washington, researchers Lai and Singh (1996) showed single and double DNA breaks and long- and short-term memory loss in laboratory animals exposed to RF/MW radiation.Lai said, “Because mobile phone RF penetrates deeper into a child's brain, more brain tissue would be exposed.” He added that not all brain cells have been developed in children, with some cells in the cerebellum (in the back of the brain) taking 10 years to develop. Cumulative damages in DNA may in turn affect cell functions. DNA damage that accumulates in cells over a period of time may be the cause of slow onset diseases, such as cancer"

"Professor Leif Salford, a Swedish neurologist, stated: "...Within two minutes of exposure, the rat’s brain tissue was found to be opened up to proteins and toxins contained in the blood after the defense mechanism (blood-brain barrier) was disabled. " Salford found that the blood brain barrier opened at exposure levels 4,000 times lower than the current FCC (Health Canada) guidelines."

"Libby Kelley, former public health policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services... states: “Until we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this technology can be safely used by children, we are behaving like irresponsible adults by treating our children as guinea pigs in this uncontrolled experiment."

School District Liability Questions

"In light of the current scientific controversy surrounding RF/MW radiation, what kind of financial liability would a school district incur if long-term exposure to wireless communications is found to cause cancer or other disorders?

"If a decision is made to move forward with WLANS (Wi-Fi), what is the responsibility of the school district relative to disclosing any potential risks to parents, employees, and the public at large?"

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