Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario Representing Over 76,000 Teachers Passes Resolutions re Wireless Safety and Education
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The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is the professional and protective organization representing over 76,000 teachers, occasional teachers, and education professionals employed in the public elementary schools of Ontario. All public elementary teachers in Ontario are active members of ETFO provincially, and also a member of one of its 68 locals across the province.
The following motions were passed at the ETFO winter meeting. They will now go to the AGM this summer.
Motion #1: That ETFO, through OTF, lobby district schools to give teachers permission to turn off wireless signals, or use EMF shielding when wireless signals are not required for instructional purposes, until accommodations are available for teachers diagnosed with EHS. The option to turn off wireless signals should be available for all teachers wishing to exercise this right.
Rationale: A Canadian Teacher’s Federation Brief on WiFi exposure in Canadian classrooms (Oct. 2013) suggests from their poll of teachers that pedagogical needs could be met in schools with an approach that limits exposure to WiFi. Until Safety Code 6 recognizes non-thermal, biological effects teachers should be allowed to turn off the access points if they are sensitive to wireless signals. Some teachers are feeling the negative, biological impact of pervasive wi-fi signals even though they are below current government sanctioned levels. These teachers need protection. All teachers should be able to exercise their right to choose how much microwave radiation they are exposed to.
Motion #2: That ETFO, through OTF encourage the school Boards to apply the concepts of Prudent Avoidance by using the “As low as reasonably achievable” guidelines regarding wifi power levels.
Rationale: Controls for WIFI would best be guided by the ALARA principle (As Low As reasonably Achievable), as well as by applying the concept of prudent avoidance of non-ionizing radiation. OSHA states “An employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker”. Wireless radiation signals could be much lower and still provide consistent signal coverage.
Motion #3: ETFO lobby the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education for an education program and resources to educate teachers on the safe use of wireless technologies and devices.
Rationale: Teachers are aware of the benefits of using wireless technology, but need to be fully informed about the risks and the possible negative biological (non-thermal) effects of wireless technology so they can make personal, choices about the long term risks they are prepared to take. Teachers need to be aware of safety practises when using wireless technology so they can reduce potential risks when they are using this 2B possible carcinogen and effectively follow safety practises, to promote long term health.