Time to remove WiFi from our schools

By Mary Adkins

On May 27, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, an international, democratically elected parliament with members from 47 countries, called on European governments to “take all reasonable measures” to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields.

They went on to state that governments should, “for children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises.” Then on May 31, the World Health Organization officially labeled electromagnetic radiation from cell phones, WiFi, cordless phones, smart meters, and other wireless consumer devices and infrastructure to be a Class 2B carcinogen, in the same category as lead and DDT.

Most parents are not aware that their children are being exposed to this Class 2B carcinogen on a daily basis in their school, but the truth is nearly every educational institution in Rhode Island is using WiFi now. However, just because something is popular doesn’t mean that it’s safe.

Pulse-modulated microwave radiation like that emitted by WiFi has been demonstrated through thousands of published, peer-reviewed scientific studies to cause headaches, migraines, concentration difficulties, hyperactivity, sleep disorders, memory loss, erratic heart rate, asthma, immune dysfunction, chronic illness, blood sugar fluctuations, muscle spasms, joint pain, behavior problems, anxiety, depression, skin rashes, night sweats, weakness and fatigue. Some experts worldwide agree that chronic, cumulative exposure to this type of radiation can lead to serious, life-threatening health problems, such as cancer, leukemia, brain tumors, and diabetes. I know firsthand that this type of radiation is dangerous because my own children suffered very serious health effects when exposed to WiFi at school.

The rest of the world is acknowledging the danger of this radiation and other countries are taking steps to protect children by removing WiFi from schools. As those markets dry up overseas, there is a mad rush by industry to get WiFi into schools throughout the U.S.

The result is our children are essentially being sacrificed for corporate profits and we are all being exploited because of our ignorance about the dangers of this completely unnecessary technology. WiFi may be more convenient, but what is the price of convenience? The health of our children is too high a price to pay. Anything that can be done with WiFi can be done safely and more securely with hardwired connections.

It took over 100 years for our government to finally acknowledge that tobacco causes lung cancer. How long do we need to wait in the case of WiFi radiation? How many more children need to get sick? There are times when you don’t wait around until someone “higher up” tells you to do something. There are times when you have to be a responsible adult and take action because it is the right thing to do.

This is one of those times, and I urge school officials to step up to the plate. How many children in our public schools are unnecessarily on Ritalin because they can’t concentrate because of neurological disruption caused by radiation exposure? How much money is being spent by special-education departments throughout the state to deal with the growing numbers of children who have behavioral disorders, ADHD, learning problems, and other health issues that impair learning, symptoms that are actually being caused by radiation? Are schools prepared for the legal and financial implications that will arise when students and staff become ill from cumulative radiation exposure?

The health and safety of our children are at stake here. I urge all parents to educate themselves about this issue and call for the immediate removal of WiFi from our schools and a return to hardwired connections. The widespread proliferation of wireless technology in our society is not evidence of safety. In fact, there has been no safety testing done on WiFi because the telecommunications industry was deregulated in 1996 and Federal Communications Commission standards do not apply to this type of radiation. “Low levels” of radiation do not necessarily equate to safety because in many cases the lower the level, the greater the biological effect.

Exposing our children to a Class 2B carcinogen for six hours a day, 184 days a year is unacceptable. Even one child made sick by this radiation is one too many, and the sad truth is there are many children who are already sick from radiation exposure but they are being labeled with a disorder or disease and given drugs because their parents don’t know their child is being exposed to radiation on a daily basis at school. WiFi is not a choice that schools should be making for our children because exposing them to radiation is a public health issue. This is a very similar but far worse situation than what occurred with cigarettes. There is no number of children that should be considered “acceptable collateral damage” for the sake of wireless convenience. We are a better society than that, or at least we should be. For more information please visit www.citizensforsafetechnology.org.

Mary Adkins is Rhode Island regional director of Citizens for Safe Technology.

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