Wi-Fi In Schools, Health Risks and Solutions
A 21st century classroom must bridge the digital divide so that all students are engaged with technology. Low EMF Best Practices for schools allows for full technological access in the classroom while minimizing health risk so that schools and safe technology can work together.
Millions of children and adults in schools around the world spend significant amounts of time around wireless devices and Wi-Fi. Many schools are introducing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and installing industrial wireless routers for tablets. However, wireless devices expose students and staff to microwave radiofrequency radiation that can impact learning and overall health. Studies have found that wireless radiation can damage reproductive systems, impact the immune system, alter brain functioning, and increase cancer risk. Tablets have up to 5 antennae that are constantly emitting short intense bursts of radiation even when not connected to the Internet.
Schools are are becoming increasingly aware that healthy and environmentally friendly facilities foster academic achievement and staff well-being. The solution is Low-EMF Best Practices which allow for safe wired internet connections and a “safe tech” curriculum so that they can use their devices more safely at home, as well at school.
PARENT TOOLKIT TO ADVOCATE ON SAFE TECHNOLOGY IN SCHOOL
- Questions and Answers on Wi-Fi and Cell Phones in Schools: This two pager is filled with links and resources on why and how to reduce wireless radiation exposure at schools.
- Checklist on How to Reduce EMF and Wireless Radiation for Schools: A list of actionable steps every school can take to eliminate and reduce EMF exposure at school.
- CHPS Low EMF Criteria:The Collaborative for High Performance Schools has developed Best Practices for LOW EMF classrooms that details how schools can replace wireless networks with wired networks.
- Letter on School Wi-Fi and Health for Principal
This draft letter compiles the latest research and you can take portions of it or all of it to send it to your school administrator to begin this important conversation on safe technology.
- Letters by Scientists on Wireless and Cell towers for School Administrators: This webpage has a compendium of letters (downloadable PDF’s) written to school officials regarding wireless in schools and cell towers at schools.
- Peer Reviewed Published Science on Wireless Radiation, Published Science on Wi-Fi Specifically
- Youtube Playlist on Wi-Fi in Schools: News Reports on schools removing the Wi-Fi and scientific lectures.
- Printable Resources to Educate Parents
- What Parents Need to Know About Wireless Radiation Factsheet
- BabySafe Project: “Reduce Your Wireless Exposure” English Brochure, Spanish Brochure
- New Jersey Educational Association “Minimize health risks from electronic devices” NJEA Online Article, PDF of Recommendations
- American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendation Protect The Ones You Love Card English, Spanish
- EHT Compendium of Printable Factsheets, Brochures and Fact Sheets on Wireless and Children: This webpage compiles a variety of resources that you can download and print to spread awareness on this issue.
The above video is from the Health in Buildings Conference at the US National Institutes of Health that featured “Best Practices” for school buildings in terms of wired versus wireless technology.
The Environmental Health Trust continues to develop materials for schools and parents on Schools and Safe Technology. We are partnering with schools to decrease children’s wireless exposure. Every Step Counts! Please contact EHT if you would like to discuss your school’s needs and resources with us. We are hoping to foster informed dialogue to support schools and the students they serve. Please review our documents so that we can tailor them to meet your needs — so send us your comments and questions!
Tips for Safer Tech in Schools
- Hardwire all devices that connect to the Internet such as computers and tablets.
- Hardwire all fixed devices such as printers, overhead projectors and boards.
- Teach students about how to minimize radio frequency radiation exposures.
- Integrate SAFE TECH into health curriculum.
- Explore the politics of the precautionary principle in ethics and debate classes.
- Share resources with parents on how to decrease exposures at home.
- Integrate SAFE TECH into your school’s official Bring Your Own Device Policy.
- Hold a staff meeting and PTA meeting to share this information.