What should we know about wireless technology?
Whether we use a wired network connection or a wireless (Wi-fi) connection, both of these signal delivery systems achieve the same end product: Access to the Internet. It is a misconception that all of the latest technology and educational software can only be accessed using Wi-fi.
Wireless gives us convenience … BUT
- Wired is faster
- Wired carries more data
- Wired is more secure from hackers
- Wired doesn’t emit electromagnetic radiation
- Wired costs less
Industry will NOT state
… that Wi-fi and wireless technology is SAFE.
Industry will state
… that Wi-fi meets the industry standard based on HealthCanada’s Safety Code 6, which does not consider biological effects below thermal exposure. No studies have tested either the short-term or long-term effects of this microwave exposure on children. However, a great number of studies have shown that cell phone use does pose a significant danger to children and cell phone frequency and exposure are comparable to that of Wi-fi … with this important caveat: cell phones targets only the head; Wi-fi targets the entire body.
Scientists around the world are calling on HealthCanadaand the World Health Organization to update their guidelines.
Canada’s guidelines are based on a 6 minute exposure of a large man… How can that be compared to the constant/cumulative exposure of
our children for 900,000 minutes over their school career?
What does Health Canada have to say?
- Health Canadastates they recognize there are vulnerable populations which include children, yet it’s unethical to study them despite the need for long term study. Not to worry, they’ll simply study exposed populations. THAT’S OUR KIDS!
- Health Canada’s own scientists have identified unknown risks for children and pregnant women, and Parliament has recommended that non-industry-funded long-term studies be conducted. To date, this has not happened. No studies have tested either the short-term or long-term effects of this microwave exposure on children.
Do children need to take the role of research subjects in the absence of a structured and regulated study? A study of such kind would never be approved by the federal government’s Research and Ethics Division. HealthCanadastates it is unethical to experiment on children, yet that is exactly the situation currently.
- Health Canada states it has no long-term studies to provide evidence that wireless technology is safe for children because it’s unethical to do such studies on children, yet wireless technologies are being implemented in schools and other areas close to children at increasing speed.
- Health Canada’s Royal Panel Report states “Continued studies of exposed human populations provide the primary means of directly assessing the potential effects of RF fields on human health.”
- To run a study, participants must be fully informed and know all risks, sign a consent form and be willing to withdraw at any time.
- The federal guidelines on research state that participants must have ongoing, informed consent with the option to withdraw at any time. ( www.pre.ethics.gc.ca ) Somewhere along the way someone (Health Canada) must have forgotten to check the Federal Governments guidelines on research!
Convenience should never trump Safety of students
or anyone in the school community.
Many countries in the European Union have already embraced the attitude that Convenience should never Trump Safety, and have adopted the Precautionary Principle. THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE PUTS THE BURDEN OF PROOF ON THE COMPANIES TO PROVE WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY IS SAFE, NOT ON CONCERNED PARENTS, TEACHERS AND PUBLIC TO PROVE IT IS HARMFUL.
Industry has a vested interest in making us believe wireless technology is safe, despite thousands of studies to the contrary. Compare the telecommunication industry’s tactics with those of the tobacco industry a couple of decades ago:
- Deny health consequences
- Deceive consumers about the true nature of the issue through marketing and P.R.
- Damage the credibility of industry opponents, smear reputations of independent researchers
- Direct advertising to expanded populations to maximize sales volume, especially to the youth
- Defeat attempts to regulate the industry and its controls
- Delay legislation if it can’t be defeated
- Destroy legislation once it passes, either by trying to overturn the law in court, by disobeying the law, or by exploiting loopholes
- Defend lawsuits filed against the industry
- Develop new markets around the world
Have we so quickly forgotten that industry can influence decisions at the highest levels, resulting in long term deleterious harm? Think ASBESTOS, LEAD, THALIDOMIDE, TOBACCO. Will we be adding Wi-fi to this list?
Shouldn’t we wait to see what the Greater VictoriaSchool District’s
Wi-Fi Committee recommends?
It soon became clear to any participating in the Wi-fi Committee deliberations that the decision appeared to have been made before the Wi-fi Committee discussions had even commenced. The Wi-fi Committee Chair denied scientists and other experts opportunities to speak and respond to questions. There was what appeared to be evidence of bias by the chair, potential conflicts of interest and what seemed to be libelous submissions as presentation evidence. But you can decide for yourself by viewing the recordings of the meetings (at www.whynotwired.wordpress.com under Media and SD61 Wi-fi Cttee). Clearly though, the chair’s refusal to allow expert scientists into the discussion when the safety of children is at stake leaves many in the community with more questions than answers.
How has our School District assured parents & employees the technology is safe?
- An unsigned statement of safety, lacking letterhead, was circulated by some administrators in the district. It was replete with inaccuracies and false assurances.
- They’ve restricted information from being shared with parents about a community info session on the topic of Wi-Fi in Schools.
- The district put short time lines on PACs to vote quickly, in order to get in the queue for installation/matching funds so they wouldn’t miss out. The matching funds were inexplicably not available for wired solutions.
- They, like other districts, have insisted that our students will be left behind as 21st Century Learners, implying that students can’t be equally educated with a wired connection.
- Initially, it was implied that wireless was less expensive and necessary for 21st Century Learning. This was shown to be inaccurate in most cases, as long-term wired connections are more cost-effective and stable, therefore reducing IT costs and eliminating long-term contracts. The community was then informed that teachers wanted Wi-Fi, yet there was no evidence of a formal survey to demonstrate this request. Eventually, it was revealed that a district goal was to install Wi-fi for administrators. In times of budget cuts and underfunding, these decisions are not fiscally responsible, given the scientific evidence of harm and potential risk.
Insurance companies aren’t taking the risk, are we sure we want to?
Major insurers such as Lloyd’s of London will not insure Wi-fi or health effects due to exposure to its radiation. Lloyd’s calls wireless radiation the “next asbestos”. That should tell us something – that we do not want our children exposed to it.
Wireless technology has no place in classrooms UNLESS…
School Districtsget written assurance from industry (Cisco, Blackboard and others) stating that their wireless technology is 100% safe, not simply meeting industry standards, as current standards are inadequate in comparison to many other countries. They need to confirm this by signing holdharmless contracts, accepting all financial liability for future related health and disability claims, as well as take responsibility for future lawsuits, in order to confirm that this technology is safe for long term use.
If Industry can’t make these assurances…
ThenSchool Districts should immediately remove all existing wireless technology until it is guaranteed by industry to be safe for our children without exception. Children are not guinea pigs and should not be treated as such.