All Ottawa School Boards
- Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)
- Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB)
- Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE)
- Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO)
Ottawa Safe Technology Initiative
is a group of parents and concerned citizens working to promote the safe use of technology in Ottawa area schools.
- Schools use wireless routers, laptops and IPads. All of these emit microwave radiation - a type of electromagnetic field (EMF).
- In 2011, the World Health Organization declared all forms of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, including wireless connections and devices, a Class 2B 'possible carcinogen'.
- Experts such as Dr. Anthony Miller now declare that, based on the latest research, the level should be elevated to a Class 2A ‘probable carcinogen’ - Dr. Miller sat on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) committee when the 2B classification was decided.
- Canada’s exposure limits are based on thermal effects (heating damage to tissue from 6 minutes of exposure) NOT biological effects.
- Mounting scientific evidence shows serious biological effects from long term exposure to low level microwave radiation:
- Cancer (brain tumours, leukemia, breast cancer etc.)
- Damage to nervous system, DNA and neural activity, melatonin production, reproductive capacity
- Links to autism
- Electrosensitive individuals (symptoms include severe headaches/migraines, insomnia, heart palpitations, nausea, digestive problems, inability to concentrate, depression/mood changes) - electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is recognized as a disability by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- Wi-Fi routers at schools are much more powerful than at home. Industry advertises them as "industrial" strength. Cumulative exposure from wireless devices in schools is extremely high since school systems are designed to operate hundreds of computers simultaneously, in addition to IPads, IPods, laptops and smartboards.
Outdated Assumptions about Harmful Effects
- Thousands of peer-reviewed studies show harm to humans from wireless radiation at levels significantly below current exposure standards (Safety Code 6). Wireless radiation is microwave radiation.
- No one - Health Canada, regional or provincial health authorities - states Wi-Fi in schools is safe. They claim there is no proof of harm.
Children are not “Little Adults”
- Children are more vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation due to their developing nervous systems, their brain tissues being more conductive and their small skeletons.
- According to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) children's body resonance (1 – 4 GHz) due to their height falls within the frequency ranges of wireless communications devices like Wi-Fi, and can result in higher absorption than in adults.
- Other scientific evidence concerning children includes:
- Radiation from cell phones and other sources penetrates deeper into the head of children. (Wiart, J., Hadjem, A., Wong, M.F., and Bloch, I. 2008. Analysis of RF exposures in the head tissues of children and adults. Phys. Med. Biol.)
- Certain tissues of a child’s head, e.g., the bone marrow and the eye, absorb significantly more energy than those in an adult head. (Christ, A., Gosselin, M.C., Christopoulou, M., Kuhn, S., and Kuster N. 2010. Age-dependent tissue-specific exposure of cell phone users. Phys. Med. Biol.)
- Starting to use cell phone before the age of 20 results in a 5 fold increase in glioma and acoustic neuroma. (Dr. Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD and Professor at University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden)
- Exposure is cumulative - children are exposed from birth (baby monitors, cell phones, Wi-Fi, cordless phones and smart metres).
Figure 2. Gandhi, O.P. et al., Exposure Limits: The Underestimation of Absorbed Cell Phone Radiation, Especially in Children, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Early Online, 1-18 (2011).
Key Facts Affecting Children
- April, 2013, American Academy of Environmental Medicine: Expect to see an immediate reaction in 3% and delayed effects in 30% of children and teachers.
- Feb., 2013, Dr. Martha Herbert, Harvard Medical School Doctor of Pediatric Neurology: Radiation from Wi-Fi and cell towers will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems.
- Dec. 2012, American Academy of Pediatrics (60,000 pediatricians): Recommended lowering the recommended safe level of microwave radiation exposure (including Wi-Fi) for children and pregnant women.
- Sep. 2010, Journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine‐Fertility and Sterility: 4 hours of exposure to a laptop using Wi-Fi causes DNA damage to human sperm.
Parent/Teacher Organizations - Canada
- August 2014, Elementary Teachers Federation of ON: Implement prudent avoidance; give permission to turn off wireless devices.
- 2013, Elementary Teachers Federation of ON: Turn off cell phones in classrooms; label Wi-Fi transmitters as part of a hazard control program.
- Oct. 2013, Canadian Teachers Federation: Limit exposure to Wi-Fi (e.g. turn off access points when not in use); safety limits should take into account biological effects.
- August 2013, Elementary Teachers Federation of ON: Cell phones should be turned off in classrooms.
- May 2013, B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils: Provide on/off switches for routers; one school per district per level free of Wi-Fi, cell and portable phones.
- March 2013, B.C. Teachers Federation: Support accommodation for electromagnetic hypersensitivity; recognize Wi-Fi as a possible cancer risk.
- Feb. 2012, ON Catholic Teachers Association: Wi-Fi should be confined to small areas such as libraries or cafeterias.
Schools/Districts Removing Wi-Fi – Canada
- May 2013: Kootenay Lakes District School Board BC (One school without Wi-Fi).
- April 2013: Dearcroft Montessori, Oakville, ON, student lead precautionary program.
- Jan. 2012: Aurora Montessori School, Aurora ON.
- Oct. 2011: Pretty River Academy, Collingwood ON, Wayside Academy Peterborough ON and North Cariboo Christian School, Quesnel BC.
- April 2011, Saanich DPSB, BC: No coverage in elementary and only 25% in middle schools.
- April 2010, Roots and Wings Montessori School, Surrey BC: No Wi-Fi and cell phones.
Situation Update - International
- 2015, France: Ban on WI-FI in daycares and kindergarten for children 3 years and under.
- 2014, Israeli Education Ministry: Ordered radiation testing in all schools, banned Wi-Fi from pre-schools and kindergartens; restricted Wi-Fi to one hour a day up to Grade 3.
- 2014, Open letter, British medical doctors: Health and safety of Wi-Fi and mobile phones.
- 2012, BioInitiative Report (29 scientists): Biological effects are clearly established after just minutes of very low level exposure to Wi-Fi, cell towers, and smart meters.
- June 2012: Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection recommends that Wi-Fi not be used in schools.
- March 2012: Austrian Medical Association (ÖAK) releases guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of health problems caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields.
- May 2011: Council of Europe resolution recommends wired Internet connections in schools, and the creation of radiation-free zones to protect electrosensitive people.
- May 2011: World Health Organization designates wireless radiation (EMF) “Class 2, possibly carcinogenic to humans”. (Lead and DDT are on the same list).
Why Our School Boards Should NOT Rely on Safety Code 6
- Created in 1979 for safety of federal workers and civilians visiting federal buildings - expanded to Wi-Fi, smart phones and cell towers without any major safety update.
- Based on a 220lb mannequin and 6 minutes radiation exposure.
- Does not consider daily cumulative exposure.
- 40% of the world’s population has exposure guidelines stricter than Safety Code 6.
- China, Russia, Italy and Switzerland have exposure limits 100 times safer.
- No distinction for children, pregnant women or sensitive individuals.
- Does not take into account proven biological effects - only tissue heating.
- Government of Canada does not measure the output from installed routers and other wireless devices.
Expert Opinions Why Our School Boards Should NOT Rely on Safety Code 6
- July 2014, over 40 Canadian MD’s: Submission to Health Canada requesting information on health problems and sensitivity that may be related to microwave radiation exposure.
- July 2014, over 50 international scientists specialized in wireless radiation: Canada’s Safety Code 6 is fundamentally flawed.
- 140 peer-reviewed studies were omitted by Health Canada in its Scientific Review of Draft Safety Code 6 (2014).
(To see more on these expert opinions go to http://c4st.org/HCSubmissions).
What Can School Boards Do?
- School Boards can choose tighter restrictions – they already make decisions on student health and safety in many areas:
- Allergies (e.g. peanut allergies)
- Saanich DPSB in BC restricts Wi-Fi access
|Population % - PEANUT ALLERGY||Population % - ELECTROSENSITIVE|
|less than 2%
||3% (severe symptoms);
35% (moderate symptoms)
- Wired connections are still safer.
- If School Boards continue with Wi-Fi and wireless devices in schools, they can take some simple actions to reduce the exposure of our children and teachers to wireless radiation:
- Allow teachers to turn the Wi-Fi router off in their classroom when internet access is not required.
- Create an education and safety program for students and teachers.
- Visibly post manufacturers’ warnings re. Wi-Fi devices, cell phones and tablets.
- Become informed about the mounting scientific evidence of health risks that is not taken into account by Canada’s exposure standards - Safety Code 6.