April 5th, 2013
Dear Kenollie Parents,
Our family has a child in this great school, like I believe you do, if reading this letter. I am thankful that talented, dedicated, people are helping us raise a good human being in him. I am grateful for all the volunteering parents who are making a big difference in our kids’ education and are sometimes little known. I feel privileged to have my son attend Kenollie.
Nevertheless, recent changes imposed from the School Board, and apparently from the Ontario Government, are really worrying me. I am trying to open a discussion here with the hope of being able to change these plans, at least for our school. We definitely should have a word in this. It is about the introduction of a permanent wireless network at Kenollie.
I deeply believe the continuous exposure to what is still considered a low level electromagnetic field is prone to affect the health of our children. I also believe the declared beneficial goal of this plan is actually not in the best interest of their development.
I would not try to convince anyone that the continuous exposure to these devices is certainly harmful. But I will try to convince you that it might be harmful, that not enough time has passed to be sure, that there is constantly growing evidence and more research every year showing that their extensive use has a negative effect, and that the last place to “give it a try” should be a school. I would ask you to decide whether the supposed benefit is worth this risk, or any risk at all.
The Peel Board’s plans truly dawned on our family only recently. Our Principal, who I deeply admire for the positive impact she was able to bring to an already very good school, sent a letter advising about these plans at the end of March last year, but I missed it. My mistake…
The first time I became remotely aware of the changes coming was during the month of March 2013. We were asked to sign what seemed an agreement to restrict the use of wireless devices, and submit their use to teachers’ and parents’ approval. I happily signed that, thinking of it as a restriction in this regard. I believe there is no benefit for a first grader like my son to spend his time with gadgets instead of starting to build the basis of his moral, social, intellectual and physical skills. These are more important in the life they are just opening up to than the fast changing and eluding “computer literacy”. I signed what seemed to me as an agreement to a restriction. I think that the energy these devices radiate should be kept away from a young, growing body, and the idea of controlling their use made me secretly happy.
Only after signing that agreement I started getting increasingly concerned about this change and began looking for more information.
The Peel District School Board has published their plans on their website. You can find the manifest here:
A few things which bothered me in their presentation:
• There is an implied necessity of a wireless network in order for someone to have a computer connected. This implied statement is completely false. If the desire is connectivity the school could be hardwired. The costs are lower for installation and maintenance, the speed and reliability of the connections is many times higher, the information security is easier achieved.
• The wireless need is compared to the one in hospitals and airports. There is a big difference though. Both airports and hospitals require highly mobile connectivity, as for a student is imperative to be in a properly settled environment for study. They are not supposed to roam around while connecting. They can disconnect their device from one classroom and reconnect it in another. A hardwired network is perfectly able to support that at lower ongoing administrative costs and higher performance in all possible aspects.
• Last but not least, there must have been a health concern that compelled the need of approval from the Peel Public Health. If such a concern existed, why were parents excluded from this decision?
Following the link to the Peel Public Health and further on to the Public Health Ontario I found the study from September 16, 2010 on which the full safety of this implementation is claimed:
Within this study there are many references to other research efforts, there is a reference to the Health Canada safe levels for radio frequency exposure as being “the most stringent in the world”. I obtained the Health Canada “Code 6” and the “Technical Guide for Interpretation and Compliance Assessment of Health Canada’s Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines”. My opinion after reading through these documents is that they should be actualized. The date on both documents is 2009. The “Code 6” explains what seems clearly to me that Health Canada is taking as a reference the thermal effects level and going down a certain coefficient to establish the safe acceptable levels.
On the Peel Health assessment there is also a reference to the World Health Organization regarding the Wi-Fi exposure being safe.
I looked for the World Health Organization position and to my surprise I found that Peel Health Ontario claims are not valid anymore because at the date of the project start there was a newer WHO classification of the RF fields, which was not considered.
Here you will find that WHO has classified on May 31, 2011, well before this Ontario initiative has started, that the exposure to radio frequency EM fields is a “possible carcinogenic”:
I am not a specialist in the medical field so I had to look up the definition they have for this classification, “Group 2b”:
Here is an excerpt from the Group 2b:
• Page 16: Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
• Page 11: DDT, Cobalt
• Page 13: Lead
• Page 12: Engine exhaust, gasoline
The classification is “possible carcinogen”, probably meaning more research is needed, but we definitely departed from the stage of “definitely harmless”. It makes perfect sense to be in this stage seeing that not enough time has passed for the health effects to be obvious.
Here you can find the abstract of a meta-study (statistics on multiple research efforts) of the effects of EMF, published on PubMed. It was done for mobile phones, but the Wi-Fi emissions from a device are comparable in intensity and specific frequency.
The current study found that there is possible evidence linking mobile phone use to an increased risk of tumors from a meta-analysis of low-biased case-control studies. Prospective cohort studies providing a higher level of evidence are needed.
(Then I ask myself again, why would we expose our children to what is still unknown in terms of safety, while there is constant growing concern?)
Here you can watch two 15 minutes investigative reports. They show cases of children and even adults already affected by the wireless technology introduced in the Ontario schools only recently:
Here you can read a letter from a Canadian school Principal, who chose, as reasonable, to err on the side of safety when there’s little or nothing to lose, and remove the wireless from her school, replace it with a hardwired network:
Here is a petition started by parents from the York region to remove the thing:
Here is a very recent letter from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, specifically addressing the installation in schools:
Please read it entirely, it is very relevant. I am only quoting from it:
“Adverse health effects from wireless radio frequency fields, such as learning disabilities, altered immune responses, and headaches, clearly exist and are well documented in the scientific literature. Safer technology, such as use of hard‐wiring, is strongly recommended in schools.”
As I find more documented evidence or circumstantial proof in support of my concerns I will post them here.
Meanwhile, please look at some of these websites:
I talked to our school’s Principal this week and she understood my concerns. But I have been told there is nothing to be done because the orders from the Peel Board are to start the emissions next week.
Please, let’s discuss and decide fast. I think it is outrageous that parents have been excluded from this decision and until our decision is taken everything has to be frozen in place.