WiFi in Schools Update – Aug 25th, 2013
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Re. School WiFi HEALTH CONCERNS UPDATE Canadian Teachers and Parents
Last year I wrote to some Manitoba School Trustees expressing concern for the health of children exposed to Wi-Fi in schools and outlining some of the current science (see attachment). Below is a brief update on how some teachers – in Ontario, British Columbia and Los Angeles – are responding when they themselves have become informed about this serious emerging public health issue. My hope is that you will do the same.
ELEMENTARY TEACHERS FEDERATION OF ONTARIO (ETFO)– represents 76,000 teachers
17 August 2013 – Media coverage:
From Barrie, Ontario Radio website:
Elementary Teachers Want Cellphones Turned Off In Class – For Health Reasons
by Dan Blakeley, Aug 17, 2013
“Citing workplace safety, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has passed resolutions asking that cellphones be turned off in classrooms, unless a student has special permission, and that WiFi transmitters in schools be in the open and clearly marked. The federation is worried about the health risks associated with radiation from the devices. The resolutions are non-binding; it’s up to school boards to decide policy on wireless devices.”
From a CBC news report:
“In a separate resolution, ETFO [Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario] voted to study the effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, the potentially harmful radiation emitted by cellphones. A report is due on the matter in February.”
Resolutions (2) passed at Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontatio (EFTO) Annual General Meeting:
1) 15 August 2013, Resolution – 53. Peel Teacher Local:
“That ETFO study the impact of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, including the possible implications for schools and members, with a report with recommendations to the February 2014 Representative Council.
There are growing health and safety concerns regarding the widespread use of technologies which produce and emit non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. It is estimated that over one million Canadians have an environmental sensitivity to this radiation and experience serious physical and biological effects. As has been the case with other known societal health dangers, the health effects of long-term exposure to this radiation may not be known for some time. Widespread exposure to wireless communication devices and infrastructure in Ontario schools can be a potential workplace hazard. Further study is needed to ensure the safety of members.”
2) 15 August 2013, Resolution – 90. Peel Teacher Local:
“That ETFO, through OTF, lobby the Ministry of Education, the Ministry or
Labour, and the Ministry of Health to ensure that school boards:
1. Follow the ‘Right to Know” legislation under the Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act by clearly labelling the location Of Wi-Fi access points
2. Develop a hazard control program related to wireless microwave radiation through the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC).”
Please see attachment or go to “Session 7″ at: http://annualmeeting.ca/?page_
2. British Columbia
- represents 800 public schools PACs and DPACs
May 4, 2013 AGM. Resolution 11. Passed.
“BCCPAC [BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils] calls on Boards of Education:
1. to provide on/off switches to WiFi routers; and
2. to establish a protocol of use that
(i) WiFi routers and WiFi/3G functions of computers/laptops/tablets are to be turned on only when they are needed for access to the internet via the wireless network; and
(ii) Bluetooth function is to be turned on only if it is needed for accessing other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
3. to observe safety warnings and follow safety instructions in the user manual of iPad by reducing the duration of use under wireless mode and keeping the iPads away from the students’ bodies.”
2012 BCCPAC AGM Resolutions adopted
#17 “calls on each Board of Education to have one public school at each education level (elementary, middle, secondary) that is free of Wi-Fi, cordless phones and cell phones. This school will only be equipped with wired computers and wired telephones for personal, educational and administrative purposes.”
#18 “calls on Boards of Education to cease to install Wi-Fi and other wireless networks in schools where other networking technology is feasible.”
- – represents 40,000 teachers
18 March 2013, Motion passed.
“The BCTF support members who are suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity by ensuring that their medical needs are accommodated in the workplace.”
- .- represents over 45,000 teachers
6 March, 2013 – Media coverage:
“On March 6th, 2013, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union, representing over 45,000 teachers and other workers in Los Angeles, passed a motion to protect schools from hazardous electromagnetic fields. The UTLA joins a growing list of organizations and teachers’ unions taking a position against unnecessary sources of wireless and microwave radiation in schools.”
6 March, 2013 Resolution:
“UTLA will adopt by current National NEA Policy for Environmentally Safe Schools which states that all employees and stakeholders should be informed when there are changes in their exposure to environmental hazards including electromagnetic radiation and that all stakeholders and the public should be notified of any actual and potential hazards. UTLA will advocate for technological solutions that maintain technology upgrades while not increasing employees exposure to electromagnetic radiation.”
1. An 8 page report that provides an excellent overview:
ONTARIO ENGLISH CATHOLIC TEACHERS ASSOCIATION (OECTA): A position regarding the use of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation, including WiFi, in the workplace.
“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).”
Attached or go to:
2. Websites: More on teachers’ and parents’ responses can be found at:
– Safe in Schools:
– Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST): https://www.c4st.org/
– Citizens for Safe Technology. http://
3. Video: WiFi Safety in Schools – 16:9 The Bigger Picture (about 14 minutes):
Please contact me for more information. I welcome all constructive comments and inquiries and would appreciate acknowledgment of receipt of this email.
Marg Friesen B.Sc. (Honours-Zoology), M.Sc. (Entomology/Toxicology)