There has been a recent increase in concern over the effects of wireless internet signals (WiFi) in schools and how they are affecting children's health. As more schools add WiFi into their environment it seems that more parents are noticing otherwise unexplainable symptoms in their children. These symptoms range from headache, dizziness, nausea, heart palipitations and trouble with concentration and memory.
Health Canada's response was to simply assure parents that the levels of exposure to electormagnetism are safe. However, European nations, such as Germany, England, and France have come to different conclusions which have lead to the banning of WiFi in some schools.
Here is a statement from the Hearing of the Committee for Environment and Consumer Protection of the Bavarian Landtag on the theme “Effect of mobile telecommunications on the human sensitivity” on the 7th December 2006:
"The German Federal Ministry for Radiation Protection recommends wired cable alternatives are to be preferred to the WLAN system. Also the question about the age-dependent energy absorption and energy distribution has not yet been satisfactorily answered. This statement led the Bavarian Landtag to issue a recommendation to schools in which the schools are called upon to avoid WLAN, if possible.
Professor Lawrie Challis, leader of the British research programme on mobile telecommunication and health comes to a similar recommendation, according to a report in FOXNews from the 4th May 2007. He stated there that children should maintain a safe distance from the built-in antennas in WiFi-active (Wireless Fidelity) Laptops until further research has been carried out.
These recommendations are from 2006 and 2007!
This whole debate reminds me of the peanut-allergy concern, which, for some reason, saw parents going to court in order to provide peanut-free cafeterias so their children wouldn't be at risk of dying (Apparently, some people felt a ban on peanuts was a violation of their rights). Sure no-one is going to instantaneously start to swell up and keel over from WiFi but is it really necessary to provide kids with access to Facebook in every corner of their school at the expense of another's comfort and health. These sorts of concerns shouldn't have to be fought in the court: this is a community and social responsibility.
Scott Figueroa and Holly Letourneau are naturopathic doctors and co-founders of Hart & Sol Integrative Healthcare.