EHT Lauds Israel’s Ban on Wi-Fi in Kindergarten in Schools Additionally, Italian State of Tyrol Calls for Limiting Wireless in Schools
As of this fall, Israel and Italy are officially recommending schools reduce children’s exposures to wireless radiation. The Israeli Ministry of Health has initiated a major public awareness effort to reduce wireless and electromagnetic radiation exposures to children. In similar action, the Italian State Parliament of South Tyrol voted to allow the application of the precautionary principle to replace existing wireless networks whenever possible with wired networks or those that emit less radiation.
The Israeli Ministry of Health (MoH) recommendations are published in the Environmental Health in Israel Report 2014 which states that
“Precautions should be strictly enforced with regard to children, who are more sensitive to developing cancer.”
The Report makes the following points:
- Cell Phones: “The MoH recommends sensible use of cellular and wireless technology, including: considering alternatives like landline telephones” MoH recommendations include: use a speaker or hands-free phone accessory or (non-wireless) personal earphone in order to distance the telephone from the body, reduce the amount and duration of calls, and in areas of weak reception reduce calls because of higher radiation.
- Children: MoH recommends: “refraining from installing the base of wireless phones in a bedroom, work room, or children’s room.”
- Schools: Levels of non-ionizing radiation were measured in 25 schools nation-wide and “based on these findings, the MoEP recommends that students remain at a distance of at least 1.5 meters from electrical cabinets and that use of wireless communication networks in schools be reduced.”
- Reduce Exposure in Cars: The MoH recommends not using cellphones in closed places like cars or elevators, buses, and trains unless there is an external antenna “due to amplified radiation in such places.” “When driving, a hands-free device should be used for calls. It is recommended to install an antenna outside the vehicle and to use a line connection between the telephone and the speaker as opposed to using Bluetooth.”
- Research: Previous research findings in Israel “clearly indicated a link between cellphone use for more than 10 years and the development of tumors in the salivary glands.” Israel is currently a partner in two additional international studies: (1) MOBI-Kids, a multi-center study involving experts from 16 countries who are examining potential associations between use of communication devices and other environmental factors and risk of brain tumors, and (2) the GERoNiMO (Generalised EMF Research using Novel Methods) project, which uses an integrated approach and expertise from 13 countries to further the state of knowledge on EMF and health.
The Report concludes with a chapter by Linda S. Birnbaum, Director of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, who states, “Israel is a world leader in research on the health effects of non-ionizing radiation. If some of the studies turn out to be harbingers of things to come, we may have major health consequences from the nearly ubiquitous presence of wireless equipment.”
The recently published ISRAEL 2015 RF Safety Reportdetails current actions on EMFS such as:
- New Public Education Website: The Israeli government launched the public education website TNUDA (www.tnuda.org.il) of the National Information Center for Non-Ionizing Radiation to guide the public and decision-makers on the educated use of technology.
- Guidelines for the installation and operation of Wi-Fi networks in schools: Following a petition seeking an outright ban on Wi-Fi in Schools, the government is banning Wi-Fi in kindergartens and restricting hours of use in schools, installing equipment with exposures to be set as low as possible, and monitoring radiofrequency (RF) radiation levels.
- Government Testing Finds that Mobile Phones Violate Manufacturers’ Reported SAR: In a study conducted by the Ministry for Environmental Protection and the Holon Institute of Technology, the SAR of 10 models of mobile phones was measured using phantoms. The measured SAR exceeded the SAR declared by the manufacturer, when the phone was held close to the head and in bad reception mode (100% of the maximum power).
- ELF EMF limits are recommended at numbers far below international limits. These recommendations were set to account for research showing links to leukemia. “The Ministry of Health (MoH) jointly recommend a threshold of two milligauss on an average annual basis when planning an electrical facility or four milligauss on a daily average.” A study performed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and by the Education Ministry has found that in more than 60% of the schools in Israel at least one classroom had magnetic fields exceeding 0.4 ųT. Action was taken to reduce exposure in these schools.
- Headsets and safety information required with every new mobile phone: According to a settlement agreement accepted by the Tel Aviv-Yafo District Court in February 2014, cellular operators must inform buyers of new mobile phones about the radiation safety instructions as formulated by the manufacturer, provide a hands-free kit with every new mobile phone, and provide information on the safe use of mobile phones on its website.
- National radiofrequency monitoring program : The Ministry of Environmental Protection is operating a national RF monitoring system with stations that continuously measure the entire range of RF and transmit the data to a central computer that analyzes and displays online the results of measurements.
On June 10, 2015, the Italian State Parliament of South Tyrol voted to allow the application of the precautionary principle to cell phones mandating the state government to:
- To replace existing wireless networks whenever possible with networks that emit less radiation at schools, preschools, hospitals, nursing homes, and other public facilities.
- Establish a working group whose mandate it is to assess these new technologies and their exposure levels. With regard to wireless communication technologies, mobile Internet access, and public health, the working group shall clarify which technologies emit less radiation and provide sustainable technology options and
- To start an education and awareness campaign that informs about possible health risks, especially regarding the unborn, infants, children, and adolescents and that develops guidelines for a safer use of cell phones, smartphones, and Wi-Fi.
Environmental Health Trust (EHT) educates individuals, health professionals and communities about controllable environmental health risks and policy changes needed to reduce those risks. Currently EHT is raising health concerns about wireless in schools and recommending safer hardwired internet connection installations. The foundation’s website is the go-to place for clear, science-based information to prevent disease. Please visit EHtrust.org and on Facebook.