Many school officials and parents believe that wi-fi, smart meters, or other sources of EMFs in the school are the cause of health concerns and increased electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) symptoms. Our children today are being exposed to an increasing amount of EMFs, from cell phones and other wireless devices, to high-voltage power lines, to smart meters and other devices being installed in schools.
There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that now show that EMF exposure can cause health issues. The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) “has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use.” 1
Parents of children in schools that have installed wi-fi or have had high-voltage lines or cell towers installed nearby have noted a whole host of symptoms which can be widely varied, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and racing heart rates. In 14 Ontario schools that have gone wireless, parents have reported symptoms including ” memory loss, trouble concentrating, skin rashes, hyperactivity, night sweats and insomnia.” The parents say that “the children’s symptoms all disappear on weekends when they aren’t in school.” 2
Teachers too have noticed reactions to EMF exposure in schools. Dr Marie-Therese Gibson, who served as principal of the Tangara School for Girls at Cherrybrook in Australia for 19 years, resigned in July, 2013 due to health problems she blames on Wi-Fi installed three years earlier. In Sydney, Australia, a Sydney University physics lecturer, Dr James McCaughan, also quit his job in July 2013 after suffering extreme reactions from Wi-Fi exposure from smart phones in the lecture room. And in La Quinta, CA, a slew of cancer and illnesses amongst the teachers of a new middle school led to an investigation by the California Department of Health Care Service. “According to epidemiologist Sam Milham, MD, the middle school was rife with the usual suspects—fluorescent lighting, electronic devices—whose toxic effects were exacerbated by an electrical supply overloaded with high-voltage transients.” 3
A community in Ontario Canada concerned about the hydro line near the Bridlewood Community Elementary School created a robust informational site around EMFs that includes a compilation of previous incidences and cases surrounding EMFs and schools and playgrounds. One notable court case cited that in 1985, “a Texas court ordered Houston Lighting & Power to pay more than $25 million to a local school district” for a “345,000 volt line within 200 feet of a school and playground.”4 In a suit filed by three parents in Florida in 1989, “a Florida judge ruled that children may not play in a Boca Raton school yard which borders on high voltage power lines.” 4
The damage to young, growing children is not yet even fully known. According to researchers like Dr. Havas, “biological effects may include increased permeability of the blood brain barrier, increased calcium flux, increase in cancer and DNA breaks, induced stress proteins, and nerve damage. Exposure to this energy is associated with altered white blood cells in school children; childhood leukemia; impaired motor function, reaction time, and memory; headaches, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and insomnia.” 5
Scientists and physicians believe that the potential risk for children’s health may be higher than adults due to a number of reasons including: a child’s brain “has higher conductivity, smaller size, thin skull bones”, “children’s organs have more sensitivity to the EMF, than the adult’s”, and “children’s brains have higher sensitivity to the accumulation of the adverse effects under conditions of chronic exposure to the EMF”. 6 A 2009 New Zealand study on cell phone use in adolescents suggested “a 3.77-fold increased risk of glioma,” a specific tumor type that is generally malignant. 7
What can you do as a parent? If your child’s school has recently installed a wi-fi network or a utility has installed a cell tower, high voltage power lines, or smart meters adjacent or near the school, you can lobby the school or utility to remove the source or mitigate the effects. Press articles have seen that some parents are successful in their efforts, especially when enough parents rally around the issue. At home, you can reduce EMFs as much as possible to protect your child. Turn off unnecessary circuits in your home, preferably the bedrooms and limit cell phone usage and usage of other wireless devices. Consider installing a wired ethernet system in your home and using LAN phone lines instead of wireless systems.
The following are some additional links regarding EMFs and schools in the press:
- Concerned Parents Protest as Telecom Invades Schools – Aliss Terpstra, Vitality Magazine
- Dr Marie-Therese Gibson resigns from Tangara School for Girls over Wi-Fi health worries – Herald Sun
- Lack of EMF Testing Program in Schools Raises Concerns : Health: Parent’s request led to detection of high levels in Sherman Oaks classroom. District officials say similar situations could exist on up to 100 campuses. –Myron Levin, Los Angeles Times
- Local Parents Concerned About Wi-Fi in Schools – EMF-Omega News / W.E.E.P News
- Ont. parents suspect Wi-Fi making kids sick – The Canadian Press
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Sources and References
- IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans – IARC / World Health Organization (WHO) ↩
- Ont. parents suspect Wi-Fi making kids sick – The Canadian Press ↩
- Is Dirty Electricity Making You Sick? – Michael Segell, Prevention ↩
- EMFs & Schools & Playgrounds – Richard W. Woodley, Bridlewood Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Information Service ↩
- Local Parents Concerned About Wi-Fi in Schools – EMF-Omega News / W.E.E.P News ↩
- Health Hazards of Mobile Phones in Children – MA Aleem, Association of Physicians of India ↩
- New Zealand adolescents’ cellphone and cordless phone user-habits: are they at increased risk of brain tumours already? A cross-sectional study – Mary Redmayne, Environmental Health, BioMed Central Ltd ↩