Sunday, March 13, 2011

Israel's Position Paper on Electromagnetic Radiation in a School Environment - Nov 18, 2010

The recommendations presented in  this position paper were formulated in accordance with the request of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament, D.T.) Interior and Environment Committee Chairman, MP. Dov Hanin, at a meeting of the committee on May 31st, 2010. The Health Ministry’s representative, Prof. Siegal Sadetzki was responsible for the initiation and consolidation of these recommendations:

"In April 2009, the European Parliament, by a majority of 559-22 (votes), adopted decision ENVI/6/65496, regarding potential adverse health effects associated with electromagnetic radiation (EMF). The decision declared that wireless technology (which includes cell phones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cordless phones) emit electromagnetic radiation which may impose danger to human health. The decision states that it is important for schools to be as “clean” as possible from electromagnetic radiation."

"It should be remembered that the school population comprises children and youth, a group with unique characteristics:
  • In general, for all carcinogens, including ionizing radiation, and for most cancer sites,  an inverse association exists between age at  time of exposure, and  the risk of becoming sick. Therefore, this population should be regarded as a sensitive population in comparison to the adult population.
  • The student population is expected to live for many years, during which diseases with long latency periods may develop.
  • The student population is obligated by law to attend school. Moreover, in most cases the students and their parents do not have a choice regarding which school and which classes the student will attend.

Method of Operation:

It is agreed by all, that the education system and the country are under a moral and legal obligation to protect the health of the students.

It is agreed that the precautionary principle should be adopted as it was adopted in the Non-Ionizing Radiation Act of 2006. The principles upon which the Health Ministry based its guidelines regarding cell phones and cordless phones should also be applied to wireless network systems.

These principles should be adopted in order to achieve a balance between the needs and the potential adverse health risks from exposure to Wi-Fi and WLAN in this special population in which the exposure is forced.

Since there are alternative ways to establish computer networks which are safer and do not require exposure to RF, such as the use of wired technology by connecting directly to a internet-allocated socket, there is no reason to use wireless technologies such as WLAN and Wi-Fi for computer networks in schools."

Governments of other countries (Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, China, Israel and more) protect their citizens and children by much, much stricter safety standards against electromagnetic radiation. 

Our Canadian government does not.

In our schools, no preventive measure and nothing in place to monitor. How long do we have to wait to do something about this? Our school already has a hardwired network installed and functioning for years (with internet access in the computer lab as well as in each classroom). Why are we choosing to use a more risky technology (Wi-Fi) and not choosing the safer option for our children like these other governments do?
As parents, we were consulted about food allergies in school, are required to sign consent forms for our children’s field trips to the skating rink, to the museum or even just a walk at the Dyke. However, we have been denied the opportunity to say NO when our children are irradiated involuntarily by microwave  in schools 6 hours every day. Furthermore, it is unbelievable that the number of wireless transmitters in our hallways has been increased even while we were raising our concern to the school district’s I.T. Department.

Apart from the long-term health risks of DNA break, cell mutation, damage to the blood-brain barrier, thyroid and heart etc, some of the short-term effects of microwave radiation, as indicated in scientific studies, include lack of concentration, short-term memory loss and non-specific weakening of the immune system (drop in counts of platelets and white blood cells). The last one means getting sick more easily. Does any of the above sound like the ideal setting for children's learning environment? Also, the problem is, is anybody even checking the health effects? Do we have any unexposed control group to compare with? And simply, WHY, should we insist on this risk rather than using hardwired network? Aren't our computers hardwired for electrical supply anyway?

The latest Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job, gives a very thorough report of the events leading to the Wall Street, Iceland and global economic collapse in 2008. There were numerous signs and warnings before the final crisis hit. Yet the government officials didn't do anything to stop it, the experts - financial analysts and credit rating bodies - didn't do anything to stop it. The Ivy League professors not only didn't say anything which could have alerted the public, they published opinions that were complete contrary to truth. The final crisis, as it turned out, has been catastrophic. And who suffered? The government officials were still in office, if not promoted; the professors still earn high paychecks from  directorships in the industry. The Wall Street executives walked away with hundreds of million $ of bonus without any of them being indicted to date.  The result of that crisis was the loss of a lot of money by many who could not afford it.

For us, however, it could be our health and the future of our next generation.

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