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Monfredo: Time For Everyone To Research The Health Affects Of Wireless Technology

Sunday, October 23, 2016

 

One on the most interesting meetings of the Standing Committee on Teaching, Learning and Student Supports took place this week.  The number one topic on the agenda was “To discuss the impact of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi and cellular towers on students and staff in schools, potentially including neurologic impairment and malignancy and to consider means of minimizing any such risk within the Worcester Public Schools by changes as to practice and policy.”  This item was filed by both Standing Committee Chair Brian O’Connell and me after attending a meeting with the “Worcester Info Team for Health.”   The third member of the standing committee at the meeting was Molly McCullough.

Since that meeting with the Worcester group I along with my colleague, Mr. O’Connell have continued to be open-minded on the topic and have continued to view the research.    Many would argue that the FCC standards are protecting us so why worry.  Not so, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.  It is essential that any new standards for cell phones and other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable population to ensure they are safeguarded throughout their lifetimes.”   Also, out-dated government guidelines do not reflect current science, so manufacturers are still allowed to sell products that emit toxic levels of microwave radiation.

So what is radiation?  Leslie Saffer, a member of the Worcester Health team confirmed at the standing committee hearing that RF is radiation associated with cell phones and other wireless devices as well as the infrastructure that supports their function. She stated, “It’s everywhere, it’s accelerating.  Independent science shows it affects all forms of life… and it conflicts with our natural make up as electrical beings.”  In addition, as research shows non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) radiation, also known as microwave or wireless radiation, is one form of man-made electromagnetic radiation.

This issue is global, and most researchers fully support and promote access to the internet in all schools.  However, medical doctors, scientist, toxicologists do advise caution and the risk reduction around wireless radiation in places, especially, where pregnant women and children live, learn and play and strongly suggest hardwired internet connectivity.  In addition, a growing body of scientific evidence indicates Wi -Fi and cellular radiation can cause extensive biological harm.  Thus, it is important that there be an open dialogue about this topic and hope that everyone within the community, especially those that have the power to make changes are opened open-minded to this most important issue.  Please let’s not unduly minimize and say that the research is over exaggerated!

Another supporter of hard wiring is the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and they stated, “There is a consistent emerging science that shows people, especially children who are more vulnerable due to developing brains, and thinner skulls, are affected by the increasing exposure to wireless radiation… it is better to exercise caution and substitute with a safe alternate such as a wired connection, which is not classified as a possible carcinogen.  While more research is being conducted children must be protected.  Wired technology is not only safer, it also stronger and more secure.”

The main speaker at the standing committee was Ce Ce Doucette a Senior Communication Professional from Ashland, Massachusetts.  She is an individual who assisted the city of Ashland to become the first in the nation to put on loan a radiofrequency radiation detection meter in the public library so residents can identify and remediate wireless radiation where they live, work and play. Ashland is the first city in the nation to host a six-part documentary film and discussion series on Electromagnetic Radiation and Health to educate the public about potential harm from wireless technology. 

 In her presentation she stated, as other researchers have, “the safest option is to aim for hard –wiring with all Wi-Fi turned off in the access points and the devices.”  Ms. Doucette also echoed that perhaps an interim solution would be to put kill switches on each of the router access points where teachers would have a remote control to turn Wi-Fi on when downloading apps and uploading data from the tablets then turn it right off.  Then the devices would be put in airplane mode to turn off the device-level radiation, and the students could use them as dummy terminals to use the apps.  Again, where active Internet access is needed, the devices should be hard-wired.

Her presentation was outstanding and I urge you to find out when the standing committee meeting will be aired again or go on line to the Worcester Public Schools site and bring up archived from the School Committee.  Ms. Doucette presentation was informative in her approach to the topic.  You can also see other presentations on this topic by typing in Ce Ce Doucette into your search engine.

More on this issue will be forthcoming for I want to be sure that the community is well informed about this most important topic.  In the meantime, the standing committee is asking administration to give us a price for hard wiring the schools and let us know if there is a way of shutting off Wi-Fi when it is not in use.  In addition, we have asked administration to share the following with our schools and with our students on best practices that come from the Director of Environmental program –Dr. Robert Knorr and from other research sources.  There will be a follow-up meeting in late November or early December.

BEST PRACTICES IN THE USE OF WIRELESS TECNOLOGY

Dr.Robert S. Knorr

Director, Environmental Epidemiology Program

Bureau of Environmental Health

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

250 Washington Street

Boston, MA  02108

 

Minimizing Exposure to RF

Given the lack of scientific consensus on the potential health risks from these sources, attention is often focused at minimizing exposure.  Below are common recommendations and include those for both cell phone and non-cell phone sources:

--Use wired communication devices instead of wireless devices

Consider a wired Local Area Network (LAN) instead of wireless, and wired connections to computers and other individual devices.
Use a wired landline instead of a cell phone for everyday calls

--Limit children’s use of cell phones except for emergencies

Don’t offer the phone as a toy.
If your children use a phone to play games, switch on airplane mode. A phone in airplane mode will stop RF (radio frequency) transmission but still have some magnetic field exposure.

--Keep cell phones and other sources at a distance

The strength of the RF emission or exposure is one fourth lower at a distance of two inches and fifty times lower at three feet. 
Whenever possible, use the speaker-phone mode or a plug-in headset rather than holding a phone to your ear. 
A wireless “Bluetooth” headset can have less exposure than a cell phone, though data seem inconsistent on how much less exposure.
While on a call, keep the phone away from your body (e.g., on a table in front of you instead of your pocket).
If using wireless devices like computers, laptops, tablets, and printers, place the wireless router away from where children and adults usually spend time.

--Store your cell phone and other devices like routers away from your body.

Don’t store your phone under your pillow or clipped on your belt, especially if you are pregnant. 
Switch the phone to “airplane” or “off-line” mode when not using for communication such as for some other function like as an alarm clock.  Power phones 100% off before you carry them near your body to avoid all exposure.
Turn off routers when wireless devices are not in use.

--Text when possible

Texting emits less radiation than voice calls.

--Avoid using your cell phone when the signal is weak or when moving at high speed, such as in a car or train.

These types of use automatically increase power to a maximum as the phone repeatedly attempts to connect to a new relay antenna.  Radiation levels are significantly higher when your signal is poor.

 

Additional information from a variety of sources on mobile devices…

  • Avoid telephoning with your cell phone next to your ear and try putting the phone on speaker.
  • Avoid carrying your cell phone directly on your body.
  • Always place the mobile device on a solid surface.
  • Don’t use your telephone in a parked car.. the radiation from your phone bounces round your car and is absorbed by your body at a higher level than would otherwise be.
  • Never sleep with a cell phone switched on at night beside your bed … studies show that cell phone radiation and other electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures at night can interrupt sleep cycles and contribute to a host of aliments.
  • Prefer text messaging to making a call with your cell phone.  Hold your cell phone away from your body when you press send.
  • Don’t use your telephone when in a moving vehicle.
  • Turn off the device when not in use.
  • Turn We- If on only when needed
  • Viewing distance should be a minimum of 12 inches from the screen

 

LAPTOP CONSIDERATIONS…

Researchers are warning laptop companies that they need to change the name of the product to protect users’ health.  Holding a laptop so close to your body means the radiation flows directly into your body and into some of your most vital organs.

If you look at the computer manufacturers’ manual you’ll find … “Warning: Do not block the outlet of grill (bottom of your laptop).  This surface is hot.  Avoid body contact and do not place this notebook on your lap while it is operating.  In addition, the researchers also found that the radiation values become alarmingly high when the laptop was used close to the body.

I have also attached, thanks to Leslie Saffer of the Worcester Group, valuable research information for the reader to browse through…  More information on the topic will be forthcoming in another article on this topic.

 

EXPLORING WIRELESS SAFETY FOR OUR CHILDREN • REFERENCES

International Electromagnetic Field Scientist Appeal

On May 11, 2015

Understanding EMFs

The precautionary principle and EMF; Acknowledge health effects

Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Op ed followed by letter-to-editor, June 2

Health effects must be acknowledged

Minimize health risks from electronic devices

Captured Agency • How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates by Norman Alster, Director Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Spin vs. Fact • National Toxicology Program report on cancer risk from cell phone radiation

Parents for Safe Technology

Are cell phones hurting your children?

Fox 5 News Reports on the Pediatric Academic Societies Conference

(Maryland, May 2016)

“I get terrible headaches at school”

Student testimony: Board of Education meeting

Onteora School District (New York, June 2016)

Final note - I encourage our readers to look through the material carefully for the questions on the dangers of wireless devices will continue.  School systems need to do the research and see if they are doing all that they can to protect our staff and our students. Any questions, contact me at [email protected]

 

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