Ontario Parents Try to Protect School Kids From Dangerous WiFi Rays

By Jennifer Welsh | October 19, 2010 1:55 pm

girls-compyA small town in Ontario has come down with a bad case of technophobia. The majority (88 percent) of an Ontario school’s parent group (which has 210 members) voted that they want the wireless Internet at their children’s school shut off, the group said in a press release:

“After learning the whole story about how risky WiFi is, parents voted to protect their children’s health and plug the computers back in with hardwires,” said Andrew Couper, a member of the elected School Council…. “This is something every school council across Canada should be questioning.”

After the wireless was installed, the parents of Meaford, Ontario say their children began complaining about symptoms ranging from headaches to nausea, which the children said struck while they were at school. In my day we called this illness “school-sucks-itis”. Well played, kids.

While the parent’s informal poll has made the news, the real decision lies with the Bluewater District school board. Couper said that the school trustee told him the decision process could take years, but the parents can present their views at the school board meeting next month. The board spokesperson didn’t express any opinion about the parent’s vote.

The Medford, Ontario school is only the latest in a string of schools who have considered banning wireless internet, said CBC News:

Health Canada issued an advisory in August, when the issue initially surfaced, stating that wireless internet is not harmful to anyone’s health. “Health Canada continues to reassure Canadians that the radiofrequency energy emitted from Wi-Fi equipment is extremely low and is not associated with any health problems,” the statement said. “Based on scientific evidence, Health Canada has determined that exposure to low-level radiofrequency energy, such as that from Wi-Fi equipment, is not dangerous to the public.”

If only Ferris Bueller’s school had WiFi, it could have saved him a lot of the trouble he went through (clammy hands, etc.) in order to ditch.

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Image: Flickr/whiteafrican

  • Brian Too

    Seems unlikely that WiFi is ‘risky’ as the radiation is non-ionizing. Same reason that cell phone usage is not likely a source of harm.

    Of course there is little downside to banning WiFi. Wired connections work just fine, are faster and less error-prone, and RJ-45 connectors are a pretty good design. Easy to work with even for children. You just need to have a supply of the cables at the ready.

    One does hate to encourage scaremongering like this though.

  • geeta

    Those high-rise antennas they build for wireless communications are surrounded by high density of EM waves. So if EM waves play bad on living cells, they are bad for people, not just kids. All the not-enough-proof support for wireless gadgets only result in a couple generations of human test specimens. Technophobia is better than technomania for all non-essential technologies that make themselves seem necessities only by repeated usage. Good effort by the parents to protect their children.

  • Quint from Florida

    This reminds me of a study I heard of once (but can’t make an accurate reference to) that purportedly revealed that brushing your teeth daily was linked with decreased risk for heart attack. People tried to link that particular cause with that outcome, and that was a mistake. The truth was that ultimately, people that brush their teeth daily also generally take better care of themselves.

    There are so many potential causes for a cluster of symptoms – mold, dust, the water, something in the cafeteria… picking WiFi as the source is like taking a car that won’t run to a mechanic and asking him to start replacing parts until he fixes the car. We are daily barraged with EM radiation so if it were the cause for sickness we would all be sick. Do these parents use cordless phones at home? Cell phones? RF remote controls? It’s nice to try to protect your kids, but if there is a real health issue at the school, there should be a more careful investigation and not picking something that ‘may’ be the cause. What if focusing on WiFi as an erroneous source of illness delays finding the actual cause of health problems and eventually leads to increased morbidity?

  • Jim

    Reference: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=116695

    The study was published in BMJ by C. Olivera on May 27, 2010. Your assertion about the linking of cause with outcome is incorrect.

    The study said:

    “After adjusting the data for cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, smoking, social class, and family heart disease history, the researchers found that people who admitted to brushing their teeth less frequently had a 70% extra risk of heart disease.”

    and

    “People who reported poor oral hygiene also tested positive for bloodstream inflammatory markers such as fibrinogen and C-reactive protein.”

    and

    “Poor oral hygiene is the major cause of periodontal disease, a chronic infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth. Thus, gum infections seem to add to the inflammatory burden on individuals, increasing cardiovascular risk, the researchers say.”

  • Tink

    Believe it or not, there is some scientific evidence, both old and new, behind non-thermal effects of non-ionizing radiation: http://www.wireless-precaution.com/main/science.php

    The Wi-Fi radiation within a classroom could exceed the Salzburg Precautionary Limits of 2001 established for cell towers and the Bioinitiative Report guidelines. The Wi-Fi routers in classrooms can be even stronger than wireless home routers. Since wireless radiation penetrates further into young children, based on Om Gandhi’s findings, taking precautions, especially for children, is smart.

    Governments have recently issued warnings about Wi-Fi: http://www.wiredchild.org/government-alias.html

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