Letter to BC Government’s Risk Management Department requesting formal advise regarding impending actions by the Victoria School Board

To:
Andrew Green, Risk Management
Director, Client Services – Education

Dear Mr. Green,

This letter serves as formal advice regarding impending actions by the Victoria School Board, and to ask about the financial reserves established to fund liabilities which the Board and its trustees will likely face as a result of these actions. This will undoubtedly become a provincial issue as well. 

The School Board has heard testimony from parents and researchers, and has received submissions from world-renowned scientists about the potential harm resulting from Wi-Fi installations in schools. These experts include Dr. Magda Havas (Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University), Dr. Olle Johansson (Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, & Professor, The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden), and Dr. David Carpenter (Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, Rensselaer, New York).

Following is a list of documentation and information:

1.  Many peer-reviewed studies showing harm from non-thermal radiation at levels significantly below that allowed by Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, the exposure guideline.

2.  A report from Health Canada’s Royal Panel (“A Review of the Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices” March 1999) confirming health effects from prolonged exposure to radiation similar to that emitted by WiFi modems including Single and Double DNA strand breakage, tumour promotions and cell proliferations and blood brain barrier leakage. This report also concluded that Safety Code 6 is inadequate as a guideline for this radiation and following this guideline does not prevent exposure to dangerous levels of non-thermal radiation.

3.  Three to ten percent of the world’s population suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity ( EHS), and the percentage is steadily increasing. (O. Hallberg. G. Oberfeld, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine (Internet), [cited 2008 July 25] 25:189-191). Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a reaction to exposure to radiation, causing various reactions including severe rashes, headaches, and muscular pain, often resulting in disability. It is recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Government as an environmental sensitivity, as well as being recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Sweden classifies electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a fully recognized functional impairment for which disability compensation is paid.
  
 4. An industry document presented which acknowledges that WiFi is dangerous, especially for children and pregnant women. The SwissCom Patent Application originates with a major telecom company in Europe and contains admissions of harm.

5. Major insurers and reinsurers have refused to provide insurance  against claims associated with radiation-emitting wireless devices based upon their assessment of the high risk of significant claims. If, despite all of this evidence, the school board proceeds with the installation of WiFi, it is likely that children, teachers and staff will suffer health effects resulting in:

a. long term disability claims by employees, and

b. lawsuits by parents. 

In consideration of this information, we would like to know:

i) Has the Risk Management Committee considered and estimated the cost of replacing teachers and staff who will become disabled with the development of electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or other radiation exposure-associated health effects? Are sufficient reserves established to pay for this estimated cost?

ii) Are the established reserves sufficient to pay for future damages awarded in legal liability claims from employees, students and parents? Given that the school board has sufficient information to anticipate harm, lawsuits could be brought on the basis of wilful misconduct or negligence.

School officials are in a unique position of responsibility for the health and well-being of our children. The School Act states that this responsibility must be taken seriously. (Sections 6 and 6.1) If it isn’t, lawsuits can be anticipated. Lawsuits have been brought forward in other countries and courts have found for the plaintiff, e.g. Italy (wherein the judge would accept only non-industry funded studies.) and the U.S.A., through a decision in the Alaska Supreme Court. 

We look forward to receiving complete information about the risk management assessment and the reserves to fund future liabilities.

A) Are sufficient reserves established to pay for this estimated cost?

B) Are the established reserves sufficient to pay for future legal liability claims?

Sincerely,

Sharon Noble

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