Also see recent research on Wi-Fi biologic and health effects.
Many experts have raised serious health concerns about exposing students to wireless radiation in school because no research proves that long-term exposure to low intensity, microwave radiation is safe for children. Moreover, a considerable amount of research published in peer-reviewed journals strongly suggests that wireless radiation from laptops and other wireless devices (including cell phones and cordless phones) is harmful to children's health.
Opposition to Wi-Fi adoption in schools is mounting as schools in the U.S. and other countries have begun to adopt Wi-Fi to provide internet access to students even though a wired solution would be safer.
The Los Angeles Unified School District was the first major school district in the U.S. to adopt Wi-Fi in all classrooms.
Following is a summary of the evidence that health experts submitted to the Los Angeles School Board in opposition to this plan. This is followed by a list of resources for those who are concerned about Wi-Fi adoption in their local schools.
Also see below an open letter from the BioInitiative Working Group to the CEO's of major technology corporations in the U.S.
For a list of research studies that have found adverse biological or health effects from Wi-Fi radiation, see a website maintained by some scientists in the United Kingdom.
Canadian Teachers' Unions Demands for No Wi-Fi in Schools Puts Spotlight on Health Concerns
Education World, Mar 21, 2016
The unions want the WiFi routers turned off until they can be proven to be safe.
Radio Canada International
In the U.S. the United Federation of Teachers has a page on its website that educates teachers about the biologic effects and potential health risks of wireless radiation.
Italian town shuts down Wi-Fi over health fears
The Local, Jan 8, 2016
The mayor of Borgofranco d'Ivrea, a town in Piedmont, has ordered Wi-Fi to be turned off in two schools over health fears.
Also see La Stampa Cronache article in Italian: http://bit.ly/1RdVDhh
Message to Public Schools and Parents about Wireless Devices and Health
Ronald M. Powell, PhD, The Green Gazette, Nov 12, 2015
If wireless devices, such as WiFi, are used in your schools, then the health of your staff, your teachers, and your students can be at risk. But this problem can be successfully addressed, and with benefit to all.
FCC guidelines are based on the assumption that Wi-Fi signals are received by a human body from a distance for one transmitting antenna. However, we are not exposed to one Wi-Fi transmitting antenna anymore.
Expert Docs Urge U.S. Secretary of Education: Play It Safe with Kids - Go Wired Not WiFi
Press Release, Environmental Health Trust, Oct 14, 2015
Leading expert scientists and doctors who are advisors of the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) have sent an open letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and incoming acting Secretary John King detailing children's unique vulnerability to the health risks of wireless technology. The scientists outline specific steps the U.S. Department of Education can take to safeguard children's health in the 21st century, such as choosing safe corded (non-wireless) technology and creating a national education program for students. The scientists applaud the fact that such efforts are already well implemented in several schools and countries and call on the United States to take a leadership role.
The letter cites how over 20 countries have taken a precautionary approach to the issue of wireless and are educating citizens on how to reduce exposures with many recommending against wireless in schools. Early in 2015, France passed a national law banning wifi from nursery schools and mandating that schools turn off wifi whenever it is not in use, and Israel has established a new national institute to review scientific evidence and recommends wired computers for teachers. In the United States both public and private schools are taking steps to reduce and remove wireless exposures. EHT maintains an updated list of these policy actions.
In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to the FCC calling for more protective wireless RF-EMF radiation exposure standards and stated, "Children are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cellphone radiation. Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children."
"Considering that no research documents long-term exposure to low-intensity microwave radiation as safe for children, the best approach is precautionary." The letter references the accumulated scientific research showing that wireless radiation, also known as radio-frequency (RF) radiation or microwave radiation, could increase cancer risk and has been shown to damage the reproductive system and alter neurological development.
The letter cites the research of Yale Professor Dr. Hugh Taylor that showed prenatal exposure resulted in decreased memory and hyperactivity in offspring. This study joins a growing list of experimental research showing neurotoxic effects which has informed the BabySafe Project of over 100 physicians who recommend reduced wireless exposures for pregnant women in order to mitigate the risk of fetal brain damage.
Professor Martha Herbert, MD PhD, a Harvard pediatric neurologist, is quoted: "RF radiation from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function."
The scientists made the following recommendations to the U.S. Department of Education:
1. Raise school community awareness through new educational curriculum: Students, teachers, and their families should be given information on wireless health risks and simple precautionary steps they can take to protect their health. It is important to teach children how to use technology both safely and more responsibly in order to protect their health and wellbeing.
2. Install a safe communication and information technology infrastructure in schools to meet educational needs: Solutions exist to reduce exposures to wireless emissions and mitigate the health risk. Low-EMF Best Practices have been developed allowing educational needs to be met with safer hard-wired Internet connections, which are also faster and more secure."A 21st century classroom must bridge the digital divide in the safest way possible. The United States of America can thoughtfully integrate safe technology into every classroom while safeguarding the health of generations to come by installing safe and secure wired internet connections." stated Dr. Davis, President of the EHT and Visiting Professor, The Hebrew University Medical School.
Please download the letter at this link.
In fall 2014, the EHT wrote to several educational organizations—including the National Education Association, the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Parent Teacher Association—informing them of the health risks of wireless installations. Letters are available on the EHT Schools and Safe Technology webpage.
This new letter calls on the U.S. Department of Education to provide leadership on common sense technology steps to safeguard children's health just as classrooms across the country are upgrading their technology systems. EHT applauds the Collaborative for High Performance Schools Low EMF criteria which provides the detailed steps schools can take to reduce EMF exposures.
Scientists have long been cautioning against wireless networks in schools and, most recently, new letters from scientists to a Massachusetts school were included in a federal complaint filed by parents alleging the school's upgraded wireless network made their child ill.
In 2014, an independent group of 29 international expert scientists of the Bioinitiative Report wrote a letter to the CEOs of wireless technology education companies such as Google, Dell, Apple, Adobe and Facebook stating that, "It does not reflect well on the ethics of your corporations to encourage the FCC to provide $2 billion dollars for new wireless classroom infrastructure and devices for school children, knowing that wireless emissions have been classified as a Possible Human Carcinogen by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (2011). To promote wireless technologies in schools is to deliberately and knowingly disregard current health warnings from international science and public health experts." These scientists have long made clear recommendations for Low-EMF Best Practices in schools based on the published scientific research.
Recently, a group of over 200 scientists (who have collectively published over 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on non-ionizing radiation) appealed to the United Nations for immediate action on this issue in order to protect public health and the environment.
Over 20 countries now take a precautionary stance towards wireless radiation. As an example, former Microsoft President Frank Clegg heads a safe technology organization C4ST calling on federal election candidates in Canada to develop an awareness campaign related to the safe use of information and communication technologies in schools after the Canadian Parliamentary Health Committee unanimously voted for 12 recommendations concerning wireless radiation and public health.
About The Scientists
Download the October 13, 2015 Letter here
Letters by Scientifc Experts Against Wireless Networks to Fay School Trustees
Collaborative for High Performance Schools Low-EMF Best Practices
Dr. Devra Davis and Dr. Sharma Lecture at George Washington University on Wireless and Health June 2015
Dr. Devra Davis lectures at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Excerpt from Q and A at George Washington University on the issue of wireless in school
Legislation eyed for Wi-Fi warnings in county buildings
The Island Now, Jul 23, 2015
May 8, 2015
Oregon House Bill 3350
Oregon State Representative Alissa Kenyguyer has proposed House Bill 3350 which directs the Oregon Department of Education to prepare a statement that would disclose the potential health risks of wireless technology.
The bill requires public and private schools to distribute the statement annually to school employees and to parents of students. The bill declares an emergency stating that such an act is necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health and safety.
The bill was introduced on February 27, 2015 and was referred to the Health Care Committee on March 6. If the bill is adopted, it would take effect on July 15, 2015.
For more information: https://legiscan.com/OR/bill/HB3350/2015
May 6, 2015
First official health accommodation for public school teacher in US due to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)
CBS televison news in Los Angeles interviewed Anura Lawson an eighth grade teacher whose electromagnetic hypersensitivity made it extremely difficult for her to work after the Los Angeles Unified School District installed Wi-Fi routers in her school. According to the news report, "she is believed to be the first public school teacher in the U.S. granted a health accommodation for electromagnetic hypersensitivity."
There is some irony in this story as Ms. Lawson teaches at at Johnnie Cochran Middle School. The school is named after the famous attorney who died of a brain tumor. Dr. Keith Black, his neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai, attributed Mr. Cochran's tumor to his heavy cell phone use. Many individuals who suffer from EHS cannot use cell phones.
April 16, 2015
L.A. school district demands iPad refund from Apple
The L.A. Unified School District's long-running, troubled saga with iPads continues.
October 16, 2014
iPad Scandal in 2nd Largest School District in U.S.
The Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District announced his resignation today due to a controversy over the district's billion-dollar iPad program. The program was suspended after the Superintendent received criticism about his close ties to Apple and Pearson, the company that manages the educational content.
October 10, 2014
Los Angeles Unified School District Accommodates Teacher Who Fell Ill After Wireless Installation
Students were bleeding from the ears and nose and no incident reports were allowed by the school states the teacher who required medical intervention.
The Middle School teacher reported that she fell seriously ill after a wireless system upgrade in her school in Spring 2014. She described her cardiac symptoms during a May 28, LAUSD Common Core Tech Project meeting. Ms. Lawson also stated, “The students are having nosebleeds and the main offices are refusing to do incident reports. I have had two seventh grade students bleeding out of their ears.” See http://www.youtube.com/watch?
This is the first accommodation in a US public school system for microwave sickness.
Microwave sickness, also known as electro hypersensitivity (EHS), is not widely recognized in the US. However, physicians in many other countries are familiar with this medical condition and the diagnosis is more common. EHS symptoms include: headaches, dizziness, anxiety, rapid heart beat (tachycardia) and irregular heart beat (arrhythmia), ear and nose bleeds, tinnitus, red and irritated eyes, increased mucous and upper airway congestion, itchy skin rashes, abdominal pain, poor focus and attention, memory and sleep problems.
In March 2012, the Austrian Medical Association recognized and developed EHS treatment guidelines. In the United States, adverse effects were identified before 1988 when a US Air Force Review stated that "Experimental evidence has shown that exposure to low intensity radiation can have a profound effect on biological processes."
The LAUSD Board of Education went ahead with a wireless technology plan in February 2013, even after they were presented with numerous letters from many noted medical doctors and researchers, including the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, imploring them to use wired technology in the classroom because of the health impacts from wireless radiation. See http://wifiinschools.com/
Wireless LAUSD classrooms typically employ 30+ devices (iPads) in addition to an industrial-sized router. These devices all emit microwave radiation and represent an unprecedented level of exposure to children.
Decades of accumulated research show wireless radiation damages neurological, immune, and reproductive systems in addition to increasing cancer risk. Professor Olle Johansson, Karolinksa Institute, Stockholm Sweeden, has stated that wireless radiation exposure studies have indicated “irreversible sterility within five generations.” As this damage is cumulative, the longer the radiation exposure, the greater the health impact over time.
"We are getting reports of headaches and cardiac issues from across the country. The time to act is now," stated a spokesperson for the National Association for Children and Safe Technology (NACST).
NACST is an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the health impacts of wireless radiation on children. They are calling for schools to use wired Internet only. Their website details both the accumulated research showing wireless radiation’s acute as well as long term health impacts.
The National Association for Children and Safe Technology
February 9, 2013
The Los Angeles Unified School District plans to spend $500 million to install Wi-Fi in every classrooom and provide every student with a wireless tablet or laptop.
Excerpts from Selected Letters
“We note that the American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed its concerns about the growing exposures to children in a letter to Congress dated 12 December 2012: ‘Children are disproportionately affected by environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation. The differences in bone density and the amount of fluid in a child’s brain compared to an adult’s brain could allow children to absorb greater quantities of RF energy deeper into their brains than adults. It is essential that any new standards for cell phones or other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable populations to ensure they are safeguarded through their lifetimes.'”
"As many researchers have noted, children are not merely little adults. Their brains and skulls absorb more radiation than do adults. Empirical data have shown a difference in the dielectric properties of tissues as a function of age, mostly due to the higher water content in children's tissues. High resolution computerized models based on human imaging data suggest that children are indeed more susceptible to the effects of EMF exposure at microwave frequencies."
"Please be aware that national authorities in France and Israel are advising against wi-fi expansion, especially in schools with younger children. Many authorities have noted that standards for wireless exposures differ by several orders of magnitude, with those in the home country of the World Health Organization, Switzerland being among the most stringent in the world."
"In fact, research on this topic remains poorly funded in the U.S. The absence of definitive information on risks from wi-fi in the U.S. at this time should not be interpreted as proof of safety."
"Wired systems are far more safe, secure, and speedy, and avoid potential long term public health issues. In addition, wired systems will protect the growing number of persons who are hypersensitive to wi-fi exposures, as well as limit risks to persons with pace-makers or those with other implanted electronic or metal devices that can absorb greater amounts of such radiation."
“EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.“
(Complete letter: http://saferemr.blogspot.com/2013/02/adoption-of-wi-fi-in-los-angeles-usd.html .)
The testimony in opposition to this policy is available at:
March 11, 2013
Dear School Board Members:
I wish to bring to your attention a press release I distributed today as it is relevant to the District's Technology Plan. At a recent meeting, the Board decided to adopt a Wi-Fi system in the LA Unified schools against the recommendations of some American health experts as well as the Council of Europe:
As you may know, the FCC's regulatory standard protects the population from thermal exposure to microwave radiation from wireless equipment but not from low-intensity, non-thermal exposures.
Since the District ignored these warnings and intends to install wireless networks in the schools, I suggest you consider a requirement that the systems be designed consistent with the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle in order to minimize potential health risks to students and staff. It would be prudent for the Board to follow this course of action based upon the precautionary principle.
In 2003, a major telecommunications company acknowledged in a patent filing that exposure to low intensity, non-thermal wireless radiation is carcinogenic. The technology described in this patent could substantially reduce microwave radiation exposure from a local wireless network. Although I have not done a patent search, I would imagine that the wireless industry holds numerous patents that could reduce microwave radiation exposure from wireless local networks. Unfortunately, the industry has little incentive to apply these patents to extant technology because the FCC has been lax in its regulation of microwave radiation.
The District could become a model for the nation by adopting a Wi-Fi system and distributing tablets/laptops that are compliant with the ALARA principle. School districts and their students throughout the country could also benefit if the Board requires the wireless industry to make this option available to the public.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Wireless Industry's Patented System to Reduce Cancer Risk from Wireless Local Networks Never Adopted
A major telecom company patented a system to reduce "electrosmog" from wireless local networks to reduce cancer risks associated with non-thermal exposures to microwave radiation. The industry has known the risks for many years but has failed to act. Joel M. Moskowitz, PRLog (Press Release) - Mar 11, 2013
Swisscom AG, a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland, filed U.S. and international patent applications for an innovative system to reduce “electrosmog” from wireless local networks (i.e., Wi-Fi) in 2003.
This patent application acknowledged the cancer risk from exposure to wireless radiation eight years before the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that radiofrequency energy, including cell phone and Wi-Fi radiation, is a “possible carcinogen” to humans, like DDT and lead.
Furthermore, the application acknowledged that low-intensity, non-thermal exposures to wireless radiation is genotoxic. This is critical because the current U.S. regulatory standard for wireless radiation, established in 1996, does not protect us from non-thermal exposures ...
To see entire news release: http://www.prlog.org/12094566
March 25, 2013
On March 19, the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, an international association of physicians and other professionals, wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District that makes the following recommendation:
The letter discusses why precaution is warranted:
"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."
"In May 2011, the World Health Organization elevated exposure to wireless radiation, including WiFi, onto the Class 2b list of Carcinogens."
"In October 2012, the AAEM issued a public warning about WiFi in schools that
'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.'”
"In December 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics ‐ representing 60,000 pediatricians, wrote to Congress requesting it update the safety levels of microwave radiation exposure especially for children and pregnant women."
"The WiFi systems in schools are typically hundreds of times more powerful than the home consumer systems you may be familiar with. They are also dozens of times more powerful than the cafe and restaurant systems you may have beenexposed to. The WiFi systems in schools are necessarily more powerful than anymicrowave communication systems in any other setting because they are requiredto run hundreds of computers simultaneously. They are also exposing children ‐ the most vulnerable to microwave radiation ‐ to extended periods all day, for their entire childhood."
"This is an unprecedented exposure with unknown outcome on the health and reproductive potential of a generation."
"To install this system in Los Angeles risks a widespread public health question that the medical system is not yet prepared to answer."
"It is unlikely that there are currently enough doctors in Los Angeles County familiar with the biological effects of microwave radiation to diagnose and treat the numbers of children who will potentially become symptomatic from exposure to your wireless system should you elect to install it. Statistics show that you can expect an immediate reaction in 3% of your students and time‐delayed reactions in 30% of them. This will also include teachers."
CEO Wireless Letter from the Bioinitiative Working Group
[The BioInitiative Working Group consists of 29 scientists from ten nations.]
On behalf of the BioInitative Working Group, we are writing to express our concern about the views expressed by CEOs from Google, Dell, Apple, Adobe, eBay, Facebook, the George Lucas Educational Foundation and others to the FCC supporting wireless technologies in schools ....
Saturating schools with wireless technology will likely create unnecessary liability for municipalities and result in a loss of public trust and confidence in the corporations that push their wireless products with a blind eye toward health concerns.
Epidemiological studies show links between radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposure and cancers, neurological disorders, hormonal changes, symptoms of electrical hypersensitivity (EHS) and more. Laboratory studies show that RFR exposure increases risk of cancer, abnormal sperm, learning and memory deficits, and heart irregularities. Fetal exposures in both animal and human studies result in altered brain development in the young offspring, with disruption in learning, memory and behavior.
The brain development of a fetus can be impaired by in-utero exposure to a pregnant woman. The evidence for these statements is based on hundreds of published, peer-reviewed scientific studies that report adverse effects at levels much lower than current FCC public safety limits. WiFi is schools, in contrast to wired internet connections, will increase risk of neurologic impairment and long-term risk of cancer in students. Corporations cannot avoid responsibility simply by asserting compliance with existing legal, but outdated and inadequate FCC public safety limits ...
Many schools and educational institutions are using wireless Wi-Fi and Tablet technologies in their education. Recently WHO IARC classified radiofrequency (RF) radiation ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’. Currently guidance levels for electromagnetic fields (including RF) are based on thermal effects while effects have been reported on non-thermal levels. Possibly these biological, non-thermal effects are brain-related and affect cognition, memorizing and learning. We start by describing our measurement method used for Wi-Fi routers and laptop Wi-Fi antennas. Then a historical overview on thermal and non-thermal viewpoints is provided. The objective of this study is to quantify the actual RF radiation levels around Wi-Fi access points and laptop computers at educational facilities and to assess their compliance with the current thermal-only guidelines and also with precautionary, biological guidance levels. This paper ends to recommendations how to minimize radiation exposure in educational institutions.
Council of Europe: Restrict Wi-Fi and Mobile Phone Use in Schools
EMF in Schools – Collaboration for High Performance Schools
EMF-Portal - Search on "wifi" for summaries of more than 175 studies
EMR Policy Institute
Environmental Health Trust: School, Union, and PTA Actions
Greater Victoria Teachers' Association
"Health Dangers of WiFi in Schools," CBC News
Magda Havas, Ph.D.
No Radiation For You