By Jini Patel Thompson
Well, I received a response from the School Board to my earlier letter about cell phone and wireless computer usage inside my kids’ school.
And their position – surprise, surprise – is hey, we just follow what Health Canada says! And Health Canada says there is no possibility of danger from radio frequency microwave radiation. Huh. So here’s my response to the School Board Director of Instruction (and Health Canada):
Dear Mr. MacKinnon
Thanks so much for your letter of response. I appreciate you taking the time to look into this issue and then consider how radio frequency microwave radiation may be affecting our children.
As you pointed out, our principal did indeed respond admirably and promptly to my concerns about cell phones in the classrooms. Unfortunately, ongoing, you are relying on children to police themselves – and we all know how reliable that is!
My son informs me that since then, a new boy in class has received a cell phone, which he carries around in his pocket – turned on – so that he can send and receive text messages from his Dad.
Then I started thinking about all the junior high and high school students… do you honestly think they are turning off their cell phones (and remembering to turn them off)? Especially since texting is so big among that age group.
So, I applaud the fact that school policy against having cell phones turned on in the schools already exists. But I request you put some serious thought into the actual enforcement of that policy.
How about requiring students to place their cell phone in a basket on the teacher’s desk and then the teacher (or a trusted student) doing a quick check to ensure that each is turned off? How about having random spot checks for cell phones with a seriously stiff penalty (like suspension for 3 days) if a phone is found left on? I’m sure if you put your head together with principals from several schools, you would be able to come up with something reliable and enforceable. I look forward to hearing your ideas on this matter.
Regarding the wireless computers, in your letter you stated that you are basing WiFi school policy solely on evidence and guidelines provided by Health Canada. Well, when you take a look at what’s happening in other countries, I would suggest to you that Health Canada is either behind the 8-ball on this issue, or it is unduly industry-influenced. For example:
If the Health Canada standards are so accurate and reliable, then why have these other countries banned or warned against WiFi after recognizing that it is indeed a serious health hazard?
Obviously Germany, the UK, Russia and France do not concur with Health Canada’s position that, “These concerns appear to arise from some media reports and dubious Internet websites which contain inaccurate, unsubstantiated, controversial or contradictory statements regarding RF-health issues.” (quoted from pg 1 of the Email response from Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau you sent me, attached to your letter)
Damaging health effects are scientifically shown to occur at levels thousands of times below existing public safety limits. Reputable scientists state that our standards (i.e. the Health Canada standards) are obsolete because they are based solely on thermal effects.
In mice, exposure for approximately 2 hours/day to a mobile phone (0.9GHz GSM modulated mobile phone; 23-36V/m, 0.41-0.98W/Kg whole body exposure) for four days resulted in cognitive deficits in the Morris water maze, a test of spatial learning and memory. Exposed mice were less able to transfer learned information to the next day, and had deficits in consolidation and/or retrieval of the learned information. “Our results provide a basis for more thorough investigations considering reports on non-thermal effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs).”
- Fragopoulou AF, et alDepartment of Cell Biology & Biophysics, University of Athens
Whole body exposure with GSM 900Mhz affects spatial memory in mice,
Pathophysiology, 2009 Nov 30
“No scientific evidence has determined that wireless technology is safe . . . This exposure affects our whole body . . . Are we equipped to face this sort of radiation? Has evolution provided us with a shell that can protect us? And obviously the answer is no, we don’t have that kind of protection, so we are left to pray and to hope that it isn’t dangerous, but it’s an empty hope.”
- Professor Olle Johansson, PhD
Royal Institute of Technology
If WiFi is so benign, then why do insurance companies refuse to insure cell phone providers?
“Non-Thermal Effects Confirmed, Exposure Limits Challenged, Precaution Demanded…All across Europe, the debate on exposure limits has flared up; insurance companies do not insure cell phone providers because of the incalculable health risks.”
- Austrian Insurance Company (AUVA) report confirming health risks associated with wireless
technologies – July 21, 2009
I could go on and on, providing you with undeniably hardcore, reliable scientific evidence, but, if the Surrey Board of Education is resolutely refusing to look at any sources of evidence other than Health Canada, then I guess we have nothing further to discuss, or we will just go round in circles.
But if you are honestly concerned about being proactive and cautious with our children’s health, then I would encourage you to hold a position of pure inquiry like, “What is the proven public safety record of these technologies?” and then look at ALL reputable, scientific sources in the investigation of this question.
It would be nice (and really time efficient) if we could rely on Health Canada to be proactive, thorough, and rigorous on public health issues. However, remember the cigarette/tobacco issue? Swine flu fiasco? Pesticides on lawns? Health Canada’s record hardly inspires public confidence.
I remain hopeful that you will consider a more unbiased investigation of the facts – looking at non industry-influenced sources, non industry-funded studies, and reputable scientists worldwide who are willing to put their professional reputation on the line to speak up about this issue.
And of course, I am available to assist you in any way you would deem helpful.
Jini Patel Thompson
Cc: Wayne Noye, Secretary Treasurer
John Ormond, Assistant Superintendent
Lois Layton, Principal, White Rock Elementary
Get Involved:You can download this brochure about the risks of Wi-Fi and hand it out to help educate your teachers, other parents, etc.
“Radio frequency radiation and other forms of electromagnetic pollution are harmful at orders of magnitude well below existing guidelines. Science is one of the tools society uses to decide health policy. In the case of telecommunications equipment, such as cell phones, wireless networks, cell phone antennas, PDAs, and portable phones, the science is being ignored. Current guidelines urgently need to be re-examined by government and reduced to reflect the state of the science. There is an emerging public health crisis at hand and time is of the essence.”
- Magda Havas, PhD
Associate Professor, Environment & Resource Studies, Trent University, Canada.
Expert in radiofrequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity and ground current.
“The key point about electromagnetic pollution that the public has to realize is that it is not necessary that the intensity be large for a biological interaction to occur. There is now considerable evidence that extremely weak signals can have physiological consequences. These interactive intensities are about 1000 times smaller than the threshold values formerly estimated by otherwise knowledgeable theoreticians, who, in their vainglorious approach to science, rejected all evidence to the contrary as inconsistent with their magnificent calculations. These faulty estimated thresholds are yet to be corrected by both regulators and the media.
The overall problem with environmental electromagnetism is much deeper, not only of concern at power line frequencies, but also in the radiofrequency range encompassing mobile phones. Here the public’s continuing exposure to electromagnetic radiation is largely connected to money. Indeed the tens of billions of dollars in sales one finds in the cell phone industry makes it mandatory to corporate leaders that they deny, in knee-jerk fashion, any indication of hazard.
There may be hope for the future in knowing that weakly intense electromagnetic interactions can be used for good as well as harm. The fact that such fields are biologically effective also implies the likelihood of medical applications, something that is now taking place. As this happens, I think it will make us more aware about how our bodies react to electromagnetism, and it should become even clearer to everyone concerned that there is reason to be very, very careful about ambient electromagnetic fields.”
- Abraham R. Liboff, PhD
Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida
Co-Editor, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine
“The Venice Resolution, initiated by the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) on June 6, 2008, and now signed by nearly 50 peer reviewed scientists worldwide, states in part, “We are compelled to confirm the existence of non-thermal effects of electromagnetic fields on living matter, which seem to occur at every level of investigation from molecular to epidemiological. Recent epidemiological evidence is stronger than before. We recognize the growing public health problem known as electrohypersensitivity. We strongly advise limited use of cell phones, and other similar devices, by young children and teenagers, and we call upon governments to apply the Precautionary Principle as an interim measure while more biologically relevant exposure standards are developed.”
- Prof. Livio Giuliani, PhD
Spokesperson, International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (www.icems.eu)
Deputy Director, Italian National Institute for Worker Protection and Safety, East Venice and South Tyrol;
Professor, School of Biochemistry of Camerino University, Italy
“Claims that cell phones pose no health hazards are supported solely by Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limits safety standards written by the telecommunications industry decades ago based on studies they funded. These have made the erroneous assumption that the only harm that could come from cell phone radiofrequency emissions would be from a thermal or heating action, since such non thermal fields can have no biological effects. The late Dr. Ross Adey disproved this three decades ago by demonstrating that very similar radiofrequency fields with certain carrier and modulation frequencies that had insufficient energy to produce any heating could cause the release of calcium ions from cells. Since then, numerous research reports have confirmed that non thermal fields from cell phones, tower transmitters, power lines, and other man made sources can significantly affect various tissues and physiologic functions.
We are constantly being bathed in an increasing sea of radiation from exposure to the above, as well as electrical appliances, computers, Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi installations and over 2,000 communications satellites in outer space that shower us with signals to GPS receivers. New WiMax transmitters on cell phone towers that have a range of up to two square miles compared to Wi-Fi’s 300 feet will soon turn the core of North America into one huge electromagnetic hot spot. Children are more severely affected because their brains are developing and their skulls are thinner. A two-minute call can alter brain function in a child for an hour, which is why other countries ban their sale or discourage their use under the age of 18. In contrast, this is the segment of the population now being targeted here in a $2 billion U.S. advertising campaign that views “tweens” (children between 8 and 12 years old) as the next big cell phone market. Firefly and Barbie cell phones are also being promoted for 6 to 8-year-olds.
It is not generally appreciated that there is a cumulative effect and that talking on a cell phone for just an hour a day for ten years can add up to 10,000 watts of radiation. That’s ten times more than from putting your head in a microwave oven. Pregnant women may also be at increased risk based on a study showing that children born to mothers who used a cell phone just two or three times a day during pregnancy showed a dramatic increase in hyperactivity and other behavioral and emotional problems. And for the 30% of children who had also used a cell phone by age 7, the incidence of behavioral problems was 80% higher! Whether ontogeny (embryonic development) recapitulates phylogeny is debatable, but it is clear that lower forms of life are also much more sensitive. If you put the positive electrode of a 1.5 volt battery in the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco and the negative one off San Diego, sharks in the in between these cities can detect the few billionths of a volt electrical field. EMF fields have also been implicated in the recent massive but mysterious disappearance of honeybee colonies essential for pollinating over 90 commercial crops. As Albert Einstein warned, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.”
- Paul J. Rosch, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College; Honorary Vice President International Stress Management Association; Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners; Full Member, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences; Fellow, The Royal Society of Medicine; Emeritus Member, The Bioelectromagnetics Society
See more quotes from top scientists about electromagnetic research.
Feeling overwhelmed by trying to raise healthy kids? Me too!
(c) Jini Patel Thompson. You can copy or distribute this article as long as you include the author's name and this bio: Jini Patel Thompson's books on natural healing for digestive diseases have sold in over 40 different countries. Her health articles have been published in journals and magazines in the U.S., Australia and U.K. www.ListenToYourGut.com