Friday, March 15, 2013 - Industry-Affiliated Website

Promotes WiFi in Schools. Denies Health Risks. is a new website set up to promote the use of WiFi in schools: “Because our kids need it!

The author of, Clint Lalonde, wrote, “I started this site because I have 2 children in the public school system.”

Mr. Lalonde forgot to mention that as the Client Service Manager, Curriculum Services & Applied Research at BCcampus, working primarily on open education projects, his job is predicated on keeping wireless on campuses.

There are grossly untrue statements on We'd like to address a few here:

Access to the Internet and Teachers' Unions

Increasingly, I see that [public education] threatened as anti-wifi activists advocate removing access to the internet from our schools – the one place in our society where access to high quality educational learning material is needed the most.

We have not heard of any WiFi opponent asking for “removing access to the internet”. Would like the source. “Access to high quality educational learning material” can be done by wired internet, which is what we support. With his wireless-focused background, Mr. Lalone thinks that “high quality educational learning” is only available from wireless laptops and iPads. However, many teachers do not agree with this theory. 

Here's a recent article written by Ms. Tara Ehrcke, President of Greater Victoria Teachers' Association. Ms. Ehrcke is a highschool Computer and Math teacher.
Why Educators Should Resist Educational Technology

This is a letter published in the BCTF Teachers News Magazine:
Wi-Fi Technology In schools: Is It Time To Reconsider?

And this is the Masters' Thesis of Mr. Tobey Steeves (a secondary school teacher of Social Studies and Communication) about the electronic-focused 21st Century Learning campaign. Mr. Steeves argues that "this relative devaluation of teachers and their work provides a basis for increased school conflicts, contributes to elevated stress among teachers, and may encourage teacher ‘burnout.’" He also sketches "an alternative vision of the role of teachers’ work that is grounded in democratic values and practices." 
(De/Re)-constructing teachers and their work : a discourse analysis of British Columbia's 21st-century policy agenda

On March 16-19, the BCTF (British Columbia Teachers' Federation) will be voting on a few resolutions regarding WiFi in schools. Teachers have started to be aware of the health risks brought by WiFi radiation and are asking for the choice to not be exposed daily, in a high data-traffic classroom situation.

March 7, 2013 - United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union which represents over 40,000 teachers and other workers in LAUSD, 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.”

Other teachers' unions which have publicly advocated Precaution against installation of WiFi include the The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL, UK) with 160,000 members (2008), the German Teachers' Union (2003), The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (2012) and the Greater Victoria Teachers' Association (2010).

A recent article published by VOICE UK (The Union for Education Professionals):

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.”

Recently, five 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)

All these unions are informed about the health risks of WiFi and cellphones and are fighting to protect the health of their adult members in the workplace.

Why would we choose to increase the exposure to school children?

RF/EMF as 2B Possible Carcinogen “”So, let’s cherry pick a couple of other items on the class 2b list, like coffee [which causes urinary bladder cancer], pickled vegetables, coconut oil [Wrong citation. The item is cocamine DEA: a diethanolamide made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine, not coconut oil], talcum powder, and nickle. When you say WiFi is as dangerous as coffee or pickles, the comparison seems a lot less ominous.”

This is a typical industry tactic to downplay the severity of toxicity. Reason? Not good for business.

First, the above substances are not environmental, involuntary and penetrating like RF/EMF. Secondly, knowing these are classified items, will schools propose force-feeding children with possibly carcinogenic pickled vegetables and coffee every day, or start pumping talcum powder or nickle dust into its ventilation system?

There are 5 classes in the IARC monographs of carcinogens. If the substances have “negligible” carcinogenicity, they would have been put in Group 3 Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans, or Group 4 Probably not carcinogenic to humans - not Group 2.

In industrial safety, items on Group 1 and Group 2 (2A & 2B) of the IARC list are considered hazardous and warrant special handling protocols. The objective is to minimize the risk and the harm, definitely not exponentially increasing the exposure like wireless Ed Tech companies recommend.

54. A pure substance or tested mixture falls into Subdivision A of Division 2 of Class D — Poisonous and Infectious Material if it is listed in...
(b) Group 1 or Group 2 in the IARC Monographs...

Occupational Health and Safety Regulation
5.57 (1) If a substance identified as any of the following is present in the workplace, the employer must replace it, if practicable, with a material which reduces the risk to workers:
(a) ACGIH A1 or A2, or IARC 1, 2A or 2B carcinogen;

In an attempt to understate the 2B warning, cited a non-peer-reviewed online blog post by Ken Foster and Lorne Trottier, which criticizes the 1,800 peer-reviewed scientific studies presented in The 2012 BioInitiative Report.

We are not surprised that Foster and Trottier dismissed the EMF health risk completely. In 2007, Dr. Ken Foster was hired by WiFi Alliance (companies that manufacture and sell WiFi products) to conduct a study to show that WiFi is “safe”. His study focused on background radiation and averaged out exposure levels, resulting in extremely low and “safe” figures.

Foster measured the radiation of a laptop from nonsensical “distances of 1 meter or more” and stated that “No attempt was made in this study to assess near-field exposures to a user of the laptop itself.” Despite this clear disclaimer, Foster (2007) study has been utilized repeatedly by WiFi promoters as evidence that WiFi is safe for the users – school children!

Mr. Trottier, on the other hand, is a businessman connected to a venture capital operation called MSBi Valorisation which commercializes technological innovations from McGill University. A small part of Mr. Trottier's company Matrox also manufactures supplies for wireless devices. Trottier is an avid attacker of all advocacy against wireless developments. Incidentally, while promoting the Possibly Carcinogenic RF/EMF, Mr. Trottier also owns Oncozyme Pharma, a drug company which specializes in cancer treatment. For more detailed information, please see:

The BioInitiative Report “Much of the scientific evidence that underpins the anti-wifi groups comes from The BioInitiaitve Report, a  self-published, non peer reviewed report first published online in 2007 and re-released in 2012.”

Mr. Lalonde might not like the way the BioInitiative Report was written, but he completely twisted the fact and omitted that the scientific studies (3,800 of them in both reports published in 2007 and 2012) presented by the BioInitiative Report are bona fide peer-reviewed studies. Some studies specifically prepared for the report were also peer-reviewed and available on pub-med. We encourage readers to look at the information and decide for themselves:
More peer-reviewed studies are available here:

Wikipedia and More Conflicts of Interest at Bad Science Watch uses the Wikipedia article on BioInitiative Report as their reference. We took one look at that article and were astonished at the level of bias presented. Wikipedia promotes a “neutral point of view”, but the Wiki article on BioInitiative Report is hardly neutral. Instead it only shows a landslide of negative criticism. Very strange.

The BioInitiative Report has been adopted and acknowledged by influential bodies such as the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the Royal Society of London. The European Environmental Agency not only endorses it, but took part in authoring a chapter in the report, called “Late Lessons from Early Warnings”. However, none of the above notability is included in the Wiki piece.

After some research, we realized that the current one-sided Wikipedia article on BioInitiative Report was admittedly created and heavily edited by Mr. Robert Quickert – founding member of Bad Science Watch. With the user names of Qui1che and papageno, Mr. Quickert and a couple of buddy editors systematically reverted the addition of any positive information that is favourable to the BioInitiative Report. These are documented in the Talk and History pages on Wikipedia website. Qui1che and papageno are regular editors of cellphone and EMF related Wiki articles. While Wikipedia has a policy of disclosing conflict of interest, it does not appear that Mr. Quickert has provided such disclosure.

So who is Robert Quickert? Mr. Q. has a life tenure as Training Manager at Motorola and we wonder if Motorola endorses Quickert's frequent tweets to promote wireless and mock citizens who advocate for precaution. He even created a hashtag on Twitter called #RFscare

In their own cellphone user's manual, Motorola actually admits that “we do not have enough information at this point to assure the public that there are, or are not, any low incident health problems associated with use of mobile phones.

The Cost of Wired Interent “The reality is that devices with ethernet ports are becoming increasingly hard to find on contemporary laptops.

But it is not just computers. Entire new lines of devices, such as tablets, e-readers and smartphones, have come to the market in recent years that also have no physical network connections. Restricting wifi means an entire generation of technology is not useable in classrooms.

Product sales are market-driven. Saying that we have to choose more risky products because safer products are hard to find is hardly logical. Do we let our health and safety decision be dictated by corporate agenda? Or do we as the end users demand safer designs from manufacturers?

Additionally, hard-wiring buildings with physical cables and establishing wired access points is expensive compared to installing WiFi access points.

Expensive? It costs around $60 to purchase 1000 feet of industry standard cat5e ethernet cable with signals as high as 1Gbit / sec, about $1 per keystone jack and $5 for 100 cable ends.

While educational budgets are cut on many fronts, no one (including parents who are taxpayers and "stakeholders") is allowed to question the sacred plans of technological advancement in millions of dollars. Instead of investing to improve the existing safer wired technology, money is being spent on purchasing NEW equipment: $700/pc iPads, thousands of wireless routers (along with licensing fees for apps and newer routers' automatic opt-in cloud computing contracts at $150 per router per year). Also are the cost of energy powering these devices, especially WiFi routers which operate 24/7, and the cost of replacements to feed corporations' planned obsolescence which will occur every few years for decades to come. 

On top of the above, since Health Canada and the World Health Organization have confirmed that they do not have sufficient data to assess the long-term health impact of wireless radiation on children - Should the need arise in future for removing wireless devices and retrofitting school buildings with wired networks for health reasons, the cost will be incalculable.

That doesn't include the cost of healthcare, or the health of children and staff.

Sure, they [wired computers] work. But is that really the best learning environment we can provide for our children?

Yes, wired internet and computers do not emit pulsed microwave radiation all day. It's is a much better learning environment for children.

To fellow parents:

Please consider the advice of these medical doctors and experts instead of EdTech companies whose mission is to $$$ell more wireless products and services - in the name of Education. 

Because our kids don't "need" it.


We received this excellent comment from a reader:

The WHO/IARC has classified electromagnetic radiation as a Class 2B carcinogen. Many on the panel voted to classify it as 2A (probable) based on the plethora of peer-reviewed scientific evidence showing increased risk of cancer from exposure, including chronic exposure to relatively low-level microwave radiation such as wifi.

To encourage the use of a Class 2B carcinogen, forbidden by Work Safe BC regulations where a practical alternative is available, is the height of irresponsibility, especially where children with a higher susceptibility are present. And cancer is only one of the many health risks associated with chronic microwave radiation. Another is leakage of the blood-brain barrier. This is the brain’s last defense against toxins in the blood and is proven to be compromised by wifi radiation given long enough exposure. I am not surprised though to see those with a conflict of interest and financial gain as a result of the proliferation of wifi pretend that the thousands of peer-reviewed studies showing harm from this relatively recent technology don’t exist. I do question how they can feel comfortable knowing that they are party to exposing innocent children with developing nervous systems to this known toxin.

History is full of examples where health authorities were far behind the curve when it came to assessing the real and present danger from what were once ubiquitous toxins, such as lead in paint and gasoline, tobacco, thalidomide, Vioxx, asbestos… the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, the wireless communications industry is the second largest industry on Earth, and therefore has a very strong “persuasiveness” in coercing the public and even so-called “health authorities” to overlook the very real risks. You can recognize this propaganda through phrases such as “scientific consensus.” When you see this oxymoron, you know you’re being snowed, because it demonstrates a misunderstanding of the scientific method.

If you have a thousand studies that show no harm, and only one that shows harm, and is repeatable, the harm has been proven and the correct response is to seek flaws in the protocol of the thousand studies that didn’t show harm, not throw out or ignore the singular one that does show harm. A person unschooled in the scientific method may believe that the “weight of the evidence” or the “scientific consensus” shows no harm.

Another trick is to criticize a publication like the ‘s Bionitiative Report 2012 as being not peer reviewed. Reports are not peer reviewed, scientific studies are. That this report is not peer reviewed is irrelevant since the studies it references ARE peer-reviewed, and while lower in number than industry sponsored studies showing no harm, they are compelling in their proof that there is biological harm from chronic low-level microwave radiation. In fact, roughly 75% of industry sponsored studies show no harm, while the numbers are reversed for independent studies. This demonstrates a clear bias beyond probable statistical anomaly, i.e., he who pays the piper calls the tune, and the “results” of the “study.” 

Health concerns aside and solely pedagogically speaking, why do the execs of the biggest Silicon Valley schools pay extra money to send their children to not only wifi-free schools, but also computer-free schools? The simple answer is that technology does not equal learning. It can be a useful aid, but it can also be a hindrance and a distraction. It’s ridiculous to suggest that wired internet is inferior to wireless. It is in fact far superior in that the data rates are faster, the networks are more secure, and they are more economical to maintain and equip. ;
Throwing money and technology at children does not help them learn. Personal interaction with a caring teacher is what’s important. And a caring teacher would forbid wifi in his classroom because he would educate himself on the dangers that it poses to developing bodies and brains.