The girls noticed that if they slept with their mobile phones near their heads at night, they often had difficulty concentrating at school the next day. They wanted to test the effect of a cellphone's radiation on humans, but their school, Hjallerup School in Denmark, did not have the equipment to handle such an experiment. So the girls designed an experiment that would test the effect of cellphone radiation on a plant instead.
Over the next 12 days, the girls observed, measured, weighed and photographed their results. By the end of the experiment the results were blatantly obvious — the cress seeds placed near the router had not grown. Many of them were completely dead. Meanwhile, the cress seeds planted in the other room, away from the routers, thrived.
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.
In the past few years, iPad has become many adults’ best friend and children’s babysitter. It is used as a computer, eBook reader, camera, video/music player, word processor, communication device, drawing tool, game pad, and more.
Apple says, “Read all safety information below and operating instructions before using iPad to avoid injury.” The safety information provided with purchase is a small booklet of 3 1/4" x 5", with text so tiny it is practically illegible without magnifying glasses. As a result, most people have never read the following:.
When WiFi+3G iPad was introduced to the market, technicians discovered not three but five antennas, including the frame of the LCD screen being a giant antenna.
This means if you don’t handle the iPad exactly as instructed, the RF radiation can exceed governments’ limits for human exposure. Unfortunately, most parents and teachers have no idea about this, and have never communicated the manufacturer’s instructions to children who are using iPads.
When the WiFi antenna in an iPad is turned on, it emits a burst of radiofrequency approximately every four seconds. That makes 900 blasts per hour in the child’s hands, on his lap, or at his face. This does not include any additional data signals resulting from uploading and downloading activities. Moreover, the blasts at four-second intervals occur even when the user is not accessing the Internet. In other words, even if a child is only using the iPad to draw or to play a game, he still receives 900 blasts an hour as long as the WiFi antenna is left on.
Between 2008 and 2011, the European Union Parliament and the Council of Europe passed multiple resolutions against the “early, ill-considered, and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves.” Many medical associations in North America and Europe have also issued public statements to warn about the serious health risks associated with using wireless devices. Among them, is the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
TV news: World Health Organization says wireless is a cancer risk just like lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform. Newscasters recognize our kids are at risk on wireless iPads in school.
It may be necessary for children who have epilepsy or have experienced occasional seizures not to be in wireless environments at school. Animal studies have shown increased incidences of seizures in susceptible individuals when exposed to low-power microwaves (Lopez-Martin et al., 2006). Mobile phone exposure produces different changes in EEG* recordings from humans with epilepsy compared to healthy individuals (Maby et al., 2006). Research is needed to look into whether radiation from wireless technologies increases the incidence of seizures in children with epileptic disorders, or the number of children experiencing seizures. More detail in 'Scientific Research'.
Male staff may prefer not to be in a wireless environment, due to potential decreases in male fertility. Exposure of human sperm to a wireless laptop or mobile phone decreases sperm motility (Avendano et al, 2010; Wdowiak et al., 2007; Erogul et al., 2006; Agarwal et al., 2008; Agarwal et al., 2008b; Fejes et al., 2005). Mobile phones decrease sperm viability and are associated with an increase in the percentage of sperm cells with abnormal morphology/shape. In standby mode mobile phones significantly decrease sperm motility and count (in rabbits; Salama et al., 2008). Wireless laptops and mobile phone radiation have been shown to damage human sperm DNA (Avendano et al, 2010; De Iuliis et al., 2009) and mouse sperm DNA (Aitken et al., 2005 ). It is likely that men working with wireless technologies will have reduced fertility. More examples and detail in 'Scientific Research'.
Some pregnant female staff or pupils may feel that the possible risks to the unborn child from exposure to wireless environments are too great. For example, an increased occurrence of behavioural problems has been reported in children whose mothers used mobile phones during pregnancy (Divan et al., 2008; Divan et al., 2010). In rats, very low power mobile phone-like radiation alters gene expression during early gestation (Pyrpasopoulou et al., 2004). It is possible that changes in gene expression, proteins, or at higher exposures damage to DNA, could affect fetal or embryonic development. Indeed, in rats, exposure for 1 hour/day to a mobile phone throughout pregnancy alters the development (in the offspring) of a region of the brain involved in learning and memory (Odaci et al., 2008). Exposure of rats to a mobile phone during pregnancy also decreased the number of follicles (which includes the eggs) in the ovaries of the female offspring (Gul et al., 2009). More examples and detail in 'Scientific Research'.
Schools using wireless technologies need to think of how they will accommodate pupils or staff exhibiting electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS, estimates range from 1.5-9% of the population). EHS is a term used for a variety of symptoms believed to be related to exposure to electromagnetic fields. In Sweden EHS is recognised as a functional impairment. The WHO recognise 'EHS is a real and sometimes disabling problem for the affected persons'. However there is controversy about whether EHS is directly caused by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Affected people are convinced that it is, but many short duration provocation studies have failed to demonstrate a causal relationship between EMF exposure and symptom formation (WHO, 2006). Other studies show physiological changes in sufferers of EHS such as increased numbers of mast cells in the skin (Johansson, 2006) and increased excitability in the cortex in the brain (Landgrebe et al., 2007). found that some individuals experience cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) and tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rates) when exposed to a DECT cordless phone or a WiFi router under blind conditions (- the subjects were not aware of when the devices were switched on or off). If schools are aware of EHS and are monitoring for possible adverse reactions to wireless technologies, they have an opportunity to respond by providing safe environments. Symptoms include 'headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms like prickling, burning sensations and rashes, pain and ache in muscles and other health problems' (WHO, 2006). Some also describe heart palpitations, digestive disturbances, dizziness, eczema or rosacea (WHO, 2006).
Electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones, or other microwave-emitting technologies, can alter the electrical activity in the brain. Electrical impulses are the way that information is passed along nerve cells in the brain. The cells involved, rate and synchronisation of these impulses are central to brain function and development. Many studies have demonstrated changes in the electrical activity of the brain using EEG recordings when exposed to microwaves (eg. changes in the frequencies of electrical activity (power spectrum) particularly in alpha frequencies, or functional coupling between the two sides of the brain (hemispheres), Lai, 2007; Vecchio et al., 2007 - human; Huber et al., 2003 - human, low power). Often responses have depended on the complexity of tasks that the subjects were carrying out (Lai, 2007). These acute changes do not demonstrate disease or necessarily adverse health effects, but do illustrate changes in brain functioning. In children and teenagers whose brains are still developing, such effects strongly indicate the need for caution, as brain development is modified by the patterns of electrical activity experienced by the brain. The long-term effects of these changes are not yet known. It is possible that the many changes in brain function could over time lead to adverse effects in some people or abnormal brain development.
Prolonged mobile phone use (>25 min/day for 2 weeks) has been associated with a reduction in the concentration of the hormone melatonin in adults (Burch et al., 2002, more examples and detail in Scientific Research). One of melatonin's many roles in vertebrates is regulation of the timing of the onset of puberty. In humans, melatonin concentrations are related to sexual maturation, with significant decreases in concentrations occurring at the onset of puberty (Murcia et al., 2002). However, there is still uncertainty as to whether melatonin is part of the trigger in humans or whether the changes are part of the body's development through puberty (Macchi and Bruce, 2004). In precocious puberty (puberty occurring under the age of 8 in girls, 9 in boys) melatonin concentrations are low (much lower than others in their age group and similar to older children going through puberty; Waldhauser et al., 1981). In delayed puberty melatonin concentrations remain high but decrease following successful treatment (Arendt et al., 1989).
Some studies have shown a decrease in cognitive ability** with exposure to mobile phone electromagnetic fields (especially chronic exposure; eg. Maier et al., 2004 - human; Nittby et al., 2008 - young rats, very low powers, exposure 2h/week for 55 weeks). Other studies have shown no effect; some acute studies have found improvements in cognition (Lai, 2007). The question of whether it is desirable for a technology which should be assisting with education to be having a detrimental effect on cognitive ability in some circumstances needs to be asked. More examples and detail in 'Scientific Research'.
Apparently, WiFi is the new mold. In central Ontario parents are lobbying the school to turn off the WiFi due to fears that it is making their children sick. You can take the news report of the parents concerns, time-warp about ten years in the past, and substitute “mold” for “WiFi” – the arguments are the same, and the evidence as weak, but the identified problem has just shifted.
Some parents in the Barrie, Ont., area say their children are showing a host of symptoms ranging from headaches and dizziness to nausea and even racing heart rates.
Within the last few months there was a rash of illnesses in a local high school. Memory loss, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, skin rashes. This was also a brand new school, in which construction continued on one wing. They shut down one wing, had multiple environmental quality tests that showed nothing, and eventually reopened it and said people were imagining it. A few people switched schools.
But the damning problem is that there is a university in Ontario that shut down the WiFi on campus. The president of the U who made the decision is a biologist. His position was – until its been proven safe, lets just be precautionary since WiFi is a convenience. That sounds sort of reasonable, if you don’t know the evidence. But the problem is – he represents a figure of scientific authority to lots and lots of confused people, who are going to see his action as an indictment on wifi.
The German teachers' Union for Education and Knowledge (GEW, Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft) has told its members to resist the rollout of WiFi into schools in Germany on safety grounds. The GEW Union in Hesse has proposed 'Due to possible effects on school performance, a healthy school should not only be smoke free, but also allow teachers and students to teach and study in a radiation free environment' .
Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada has limited its use of WiFi based on the precautionary principle, due to health concerns. It has comprehensive fibre-optic computer network throughout the campus, 9000 plug-in sites, internet cafes and computer laboratories. The University state that they have taken this approach because there are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate a basis for concern that continuous or frequent long-term exposure to the non-ionizing radiation of electromagnetic fields could have adverse health effects. Its statement (November 2009) on the use of WiFi includes: ‘There will be no use of WiFi in those areas of the University already served by hard wire connectivity until such time as the potential health effects have been scientifically rebutted or there are adequate protective measures that can be taken.’ 'Cell communications antennae will not be placed on University property' .
David Carpenter, MD, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, School of Public Health, University of Albany, New York, has said 'Based on the existing science, many public health experts believe it is possible we will face an epidemic of cancers in the future resulting from uncontrolled use of cell phones and increased population exposure to WiFi and other wireless devices. Thus it is important that all of us, and especially children, restrict our use of cell phones, limit exposure to background levels of WiFi, and that government and industry discover ways in which to allow use of wireless devices without such elevated risk of serious disease. We need to educate decision-makers that 'business as usual' is unacceptable. The importance of this public health issue can not be underestimated'.
Lichtenstein, Italy and Belgium responded by drastically lowering their exposure guidelines. In France, a bill currently before the Senate insists on a principle of moderation where RF radiation is concerned. If passed, WiFi will be banned from maternity wards and child-care facilities, communities would have to be consulted before any installations in schools, and if installed, all routers would have to be accessible to teachers who could turn them off when not in use. Laurence Abeille, the Green MP behind the bill, had originally proposed a ban in all schools around students up to the age of six. She had to water it down to gain broad support in the National Assembly, but feels public concern in France is rising. This spring, a 32-year-old man received medical benefits from the local health authority in Essonne, south of Paris, for his electro-hypersensitivity – a first in France.
Switzerland prides itself on having among the most stringent regulations on electromagnetic radiation in the world. As of 2000, it has supplemented its exposure limits (which are in keeping with Canada’s) with much more restrictive limits for installations of power lines, television and radio transmitters, and mobile phone base-stations in well-frequented locations. The new regulations were accompanied by an aggressive public awareness campaign about the health risks of RF radiation. Swisscom, the national telecom company, promotes its line of low-radiation “Ecomode” phones and routers as “safer” – openly acknowledging the risks inherent in these devices. And for 10 years, Swisscom has been installing wired Internet connections in Swiss schools for free. Why not wireless? As company spokesman Carsten Roetz wrote in an e-mail, “because there’s no reason to put a radiation source that isn’t absolutely necessary in schools.” Of Switzerland’s 6,800 schools, Roetz estimates that fewer than 100 have opted for wireless connections.
In March of this year, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Education Ministry had ordered radiation testing in all Israeli schools, banned WiFi from pre-schools and kindergartens, and restricted its use to one hour a day for students up to Grade 3. The move came in response to persistent complaints from parents whose children suffer from some form of electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
Most Canadian school boards are introducing WiFi, but at a slower rate than Peel – slower not because of concern about exposure, but because installation is more complicated in older schools with thicker walls. Toronto’s school board aims to have at least partial WiFi in all its schools by 2016, and is adding zones regularly. Because WiFi exposure has been deemed safe in Canada, the expansion proceeds without notification.
In Canada, the lack of public concern about WiFi exposure in schools seems at odds with a culture of parenting that’s often called hypercautious. Here, public awareness on the issue of exposure has been mainly focused on cellphones. The science at play is beyond the reach of most citizens, and many would rather not entertain the possibility that these incredibly useful technologies may pose a risk.
WiFi routers, wireless laptops and tablet computers (iPads) emit man-made pulsed digital microwave radiation. Hundreds of peer reviewed studies show that this type of microwave radiation has serious biological effects. Schools, public libraries and communities throughout the world are starting to dismantle wireless systems and are returning to wired technology because of an increase in headaches, fatigue, tinnitus, heart palpitations, memory and concentration problems and ADD/ADHD among children and adults.
During the 12 days of the experiment, the seeds in the six trays away from the WiFi routers grew normally, while the seeds next to the routers did not. In fact, the project photos show that many of the seeds placed near the routers turned brown and died.
A similar study was conducted about three years ago in the Netherlands when researchers noticed that some trees in urban areas were showing “bark lumps,” according to Popular Science. The experiment, conducted by Wageningen University, involved exposing 20 ash trees to various kinds of radiation for three months. The trees chosen to test tolerance to heavy WiFi signals began to show typical signs of radiation sickness, including a “lead-like shine” on their leaves.
“I urge you to step back from your intention to go wifi in the LAUSD, and instead opt for wired technologies, particularly for those subpopulations that are most sensitive. It will be easier for you to make a healthier decision now than to undo a misguided decision later.”.
“Another misunderstanding is the use of scientific publications (as the tobacco industry did for many years) as 'weights' to balance each other. But you can NEVER balance a report showing a negative health effect with one showing nothing! This is a misunderstanding which, unfortunately, is very often used both by the industrial representatives as well as official authorities.”.
"There is consistent emerging science that shows people, especially children are affected by the increasing exposure to wireless radiation. In September 2010, theJournal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine ‐ Fertility and Sterility reported that only four hours of exposure to a standard laptop using WiFi caused DNA damage to human sperm.".
'Adverse health effects from wireless radio frequency fields, such as learning disabilities, altered immune responses, and headaches, clearly exist and are well documented in the scientific literature. Safer technology, such as use of hardwiring, is strongly recommended in schools.'”.
Given this background, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that France made a move to strongly discourage their states and provinces from allowing WiFi radiation in their schools. They're employing the “precautionary principle," encouraging the use of Ethernet connections until WiFi is proven safe for human consumption. Meanwhile the telecom industry is operating with the assumption that with WiFi there’s no proof of harm. Yet, we have a lot of evidence that WiFi radiation does affect the human body.
We already know, for example, that WiFi radiation generated by cell phones penetrates the less protected, and still developing, brain of a child to a much greater degree than it does an adult. We also have research that shows cell phone bases provoke cardiac arrhythmias. Plus, the studies continue to roll in.
To make matters worse, school Wi-Fi systems are industrial-strength compared to what we have in our homes: They are so much stronger! Routers mounted in hallways and other locations can blast that signal through as much as 21 inches of concrete or 18 inches of cinder block. But the trouble with home routers is that they’re constantly pulsing to keep the signal, exposing us to WiFi radiation 24 hours a day—even when we’re sleeping.
According to the WHO, “EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to EMF. The symptoms most commonly experienced include dermatological symptoms (redness, tingling, and burning sensations) as well as neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms (fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances).
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