Canada: Ouders komen in opstand tegen wifi op scholen. 30 kinderen met wifi-gezondheidsproblemen.

maandag, 16 augustus 2010 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: Toronto City News 13 aug. 2010

Parents Bring U.S. Researcher To Simcoe County To Address WiFi Concerns In Schools

A group of parents in Simcoe County wants their local school board to pull the plug on WiFi claiming the wireless systems are responsible for negative health effects in some students.

Rodney Palmer’s nine-year-old son and five-year-old daughter attend Mountain View Elementary School in Collingwood. He’s one of the organizers of the Simcoe County Safe School Committee, a group of parents concerned about the potential dangers of wireless technology.

Palmer, a former journalist who now works in the health care industry, claims he’s seen the negative effects of microwave radiation in his children -- symptoms that abate when they’re away from school.

“She was coming out of school listless, shoulders hung and saying 'Daddy, carry me to the car' and she wouldn’t make it home, she’d fall asleep in her car seat,” he said, referring to his daughter who attended kindergarten in the 2009-10 school year.

Palmer said approximately 30 children throughout the large board have experienced similar symptoms, including nausea, headaches, vertigo, attention deficit, and a racing heart beat.

The Safe Schools Committee says students at 14 different schools have all reported these symptoms. The group invited American public health researcher Susan Clarke, who specializes in radio-frequency radiation bio-effects, to speak to parents at a local library in Thornbury Wednesday.

“Children’s brains are much more penetrable by microwave radiation because their skulls are thinner, particularly younger children, and they absorb much more of the microwave radiation in an environment than an adult will,” Clarke told

John Dance, superintendent of education for the Simcoe County District School Board, said he’s heard from a few concerned parents, but hasn’t received solid proof to indicate a child has suffered health problems due to the wireless systems.

“Nobody’s ever given medical documentation to say that somebody is sick because of this,” he said.

Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, which was updated last year and sets out guidelines for safe exposure to microwave radiation, is the official frame of reference.

“My understanding is, is that the level of what we have in our schools is a fraction … of what Safety Code 6 says,” Dance said.

A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health heard two days of testimony in April on effects of radio frequency radiation.

Palmer expressed concern about a fraction of the schools’ WiFi transmitters located in his daughter’s kindergarten class. He asked to have them turned off, but the board denied the request because it said shutting the units down would affect wireless access throughout the entire school.

The father said the board also refused to tell him exactly when WiFi was turned on in his kids’ school.

“There’s no good reason to be delaying, delaying, delaying everything we do when we’re trying to find out the health of our children,” he said. “They’re treating us like we somehow want to overthrow them when all we want to do is get a safe school for our children.”

Every school Simcoe County has wireless access, Dance said. The first phase of the plan rolled out in 2006.

Seventy-four schools in the Toronto District School Board have WiFi access.

“Some of our staff are putting together a report that will be going to one of the committee meetings this fall, probably in September, about research that they’ve done regarding health effects of access to wireless,” TDSB spokeswoman Kelly Baker said.

Palmer claims there would be no difference in quality of education if Simcoe schools offered hard-wired Internet. Dance said hard-wiring students' desks for Internet access isn’t a feasible option and noted computer labs limit pupils’ time to access to online materials.

“Our main premise for doing wireless communications is equity and accessibility,” he said.

“I have a school in the south end of Barrie that has 15 portables. They’d never get scheduled into a lab.”

Dance insists the board is aware of parents’ concerns and is staying abreast of current information on the issue. He said he reviewed the materials presented at the Parliamentary hearings earlier this year and the board abides by Health Canada standards.

“We only have one regulatory body … if the Parliamentary hearings come out and say we need to tighten our regulations, we’ll abide by that, without a doubt,” he said.

“We would never do anything knowingly to put people in harm’s way and if we were in a situation where people were able to show us, definitively, that we can fix it, we would.”

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