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

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(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)