Friday, February 8, 2013

Adoption of Wi-Fi in Los Angeles USD Classrooms

TO:        Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)

FROM:    Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
               Director, Center for Family and Community Health
               School of Public Health
               University of California, Berkeley
RE:   Adoption of Wi-Fi in Classrooms

DATE: February 8, 2013

Based upon my review of the research of the health effects associated with exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR), especially microwave radiation, I feel compelled to register my concern that adoption of Wi-Fi in LAUSD classrooms is likely to put at risk the health of many students and employees in the District.

In December, Dr. Gayle Nicoll of URS Corporation asked me to serve as an expert reviewer for a report that URS prepared for the LAUSD regarding the adoption of Wi-Fi in classrooms. Since Ms. Nicoll could not assure me that URS has no conflicts of interest, I turned down her request and sent her references to recent studies about Wi-Fi radiation. I cc:ed Board members and key staff as I was concerned about the health risks of unnecessarily subjecting 660,000 children to 13,000 hours of Wi-Fi microwave radiation during their K-12 school years.

Although I have not seen the URS report, I imagine it is based on the FCC's outmoded 1996 safety standards which only protect the public from the thermal risk of RF EMR exposure (i.e., from heating of tissue). For the past three years, in numerous media interviews I have been calling on the FCC to strengthen its standards and testing procedures to protect the public and workers from the low-intensity, non-thermal risks of RF EMR exposure that have been reported in hundreds, if not thousands, of research studies. These include increased risk of neurological and cardiovascular problems, sperm damage and male infertility, reproductive health risks, and cancer.

The precautionary principle should be applied to this critical policy decision. This principle, developed at a U.N. environmental conference in 1992, states that in the absence of scientific consensus if an action has a suspected risk of causing harm, the burden of proof it is not harmful falls on those taking the action, and all reasonable measures to reduce the risk must be taken.

Internet access can be provided to students through wires or optical fiber without installing Wi-Fi in the classrooms.

For further information, please see my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site at where I have archived news releases and links to recent reports by major scientific groups and political agencies.


Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.