B.C. groups join push to turn off Wi-Fi at schools
Published Monday, October 18, 2010 2:50PM PDT
The call to get wireless internet technology out of schools is getting louder, as fears grow about the potential dangers the technology poses to children.
A growing number of organizations are pointing to cases and research claiming radiation emitted by Wi-Fi technology can cause a range of health problems, including headaches, an inability to concentrate and heart palpitations.
Sharon Noble, chair of Citizens Against UnSafe Emissions (CAUSE) based in Victoria B.C., says the small convenience Wi-Fi offers is not worth the risk.
"We want wired internet. It's safe. Parents think [Wi-Fi] is cutting edge technology and it's not."
As Noble and other organizations try to get the message out to parents and officials, a public school in Meaford, Ontario has become the first in Canada to shut down wireless internet.
Parent of students at St. Vincent Euphrasia elementary school voted "overwhelmingly" to cut off Wi-Fi, according to a statement released by the school's parent council on Monday.
Their decision comes after a group of Ontario parents dubbed the Simcoe County Safe School Committee spoke out against Wi-Fi in schools this summer.
Parents at Lucerne School in New Denver, B.C., are joining the fight, and are choosing to keep hardwired computer systems.
"We encourage other parents to look into the increasingly evident side effects of wireless routers and computers, particularly to children whose bodies and brains are still developing," said the New Denver Parent Children's Association in a statement.
The group and other affiliated organizations are urging people to bring the message to Parliament by signing a petition.
Opponents point to research on electromagnetic radiation by Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University, who is asking health officers in each province to issue a warning about the use of Wi-Fi in a school environment.
While Health Canada says there is no "scientific evidence" that Wi-Fi in the classroom is dangerous to children, Havas says the federal guidelines need to be questioned because "the evidence so strongly indicates this form of radiation is harmful."
Noble says Health Canada "isn't doing its job", and wonders why there is such a push to go wireless with all the questions out there about health risks.
"Why does a kindergarten child need a laptop?" she asks.