Wi-Fi Concerns Should Lead to Updated Regulations (Tue 7 Sep 2010)
Last spring I attended the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health meetings that investigated the health effects of microwaves from wireless devices such as cell phones and Wi-Fi. At that time, I was approached by a group from Collingwood who reported an illness cluster in their school that is consistent with microwave exposure.
The Simcoe County District School Board had installed a blanket microwave Wi-Fi system throughout every school, and the parents at Mountain View Elementary School in Collingwood had begun to report an illness trend involving childhood headaches, nausea, vertigo, insomnia, and even tachycardia (a heart condition requiring medical attention). Some parents had spent the last 18 months in and out of doctor’s offices with a novel collection of symptoms that disappeared only when the children were not in school.
They have documented their concerns and reported them to the Simcoe County School Board, only to be told the Wi-Fi system is perfectly safe according the Health Canada.
While at committee we heard from Health Canada officials who defended the department’s Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines (Safety Code 6), only to have those same guidelines questioned by international research scientists whose research show that people can experience biological changes in the presence of these low-level microwaves. One scientist also warned about an increased prevalence of cancer if Health Canada’s “safe” limits for microwave exposure are not lowered.
Health Canada officials confidently stated there is “no cause for concern that Wi-Fi is dangerous.”
What they should have said is that Safety Code 6 is sufficient, in their opinion. As we heard in committee, there is no consensus among research scientists that microwave radiation is safe, and Health Canada did know that. In a study by the Royal Society of Canada, commissioned by Health Canada in 1999 and updated in 2001, there is conclusive evidence that potentially dangerous things happen from microwave exposure.
Those things include weakening the blood brain barrier which protects us from disease, increasing certain enzymes known to promote cancer, and changing behaviour. This is hardly promoting a safe learning environment for young children. According to the Royal Society Report, young children are among the most vulnerable when it comes to microwave exposure. The report is clear that these biological changes happen well below the current “safe” limits set by Health Canada.
Health Canada’s guidelines are not protecting us. They are outdated and designed for a grown man at 6 minutes of exposure. They don’t take into account a 4 year old girl getting microwave exposure for 6 hours a day, five days a week, for 14 years of public school. That is the environment right now in Simcoe County schools, and other school Boards across the country about to roll out microwave transmitters for blanket Wi-Fi coverage because Health Canada tells them it’s safe.
Health Canada must tell Canadians the full story when it comes to microwave irradiation of children. What we’re doing by exposing them to all day Wi-Fi in school is really a big experiment, with unknowing volunteers.