How To Reduce EMF Exposure in Schools and Classrooms
Eliminate and Reduce Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposures in the Classroom:
An Introductory Guide for Schools
EHT recommends eliminating sources of EMF radiation inside school buildings by the installation of corded/wired (instead of wireless) internet/phone/tech connections. Corded/wired connections will significantly reduce hourly and overall exposures to students, teachers and staff.
This is a living document intended for schools to use as a starting point.
Routines In the Classroom
- At start of class, remind students that cell phones and Personal Digital Devices (PDD) must be powered off and stored.
- Regularly remind students about phones and wireless PDD: 1. distance devices away from body and
- If cell phones are needed for photos or video remind students to turn transmitting antennas off: Select “airplane mode” and disable all wireless antennas including Cellular, Wi-Fii, Mobile hotspot, Mobile data, Siri, Bluetooth and Location.
- Post policy and best practices signs in every classroom and prominently at room entrances.
- When curricula requires internet connectivity, limit it to specific times rather than interspersed throughout class. For example, curricula should not require students to use phones to look up things during class. Instead, have a plan that includes time when students organize their research questions and, subsequently, a separate time when students research online.
- When internet or other electronic connections are needed, use hardwire connections (cords/cables/wires/adapters) for all equipment (personal computer, any size electronic screen, printer, audio speakers, headphones, microphone, smartboard, printer, mouse, keyboard, and other devices and accessories).
- If hardwire connections are not available in the school, minimize use of cloud and other wireless network services and instead use applications and content that are pre-downloaded onto devices.
- Download and install files for curriculum prior to students’ use. This will eliminate the need for Wi-Fi during class.
- Teach students to turn OFF wireless antennas when not in use (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Data, Cellular) and to select Airplane Mode for their personal devices including on cell phones, laptops, and other wireless devices. Note that students may need to go to Settings to fully disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth*.
- Store laptop carts outside of the classroom, and avoid recharging laptops near students/staff.
- Instead of virtual reality “field trips,” show movies and video in class on a large screen.
* Wi-Fi “OFF when not in use” will still result in radiation exposures to students and staff during Wi-Fi use and continuously from WLAN access points. EHT recommends the installation of wired networks.
- Regularly schedule parent education sessions about safer use of technology, e.g.:
- Strategies and practical advice on how to minimize health risks of cell phones, screens, and wireless digital devices
- Hands-on workshops that explain and demonstrate how to hardwire home electronics and create a low-EMF computer workstation.
- Regularly hold discussion forums about strategies to address the challenges of parenting in the digital age.
- Hold student forums about how to reduce radiation, reduce eye strain, and minimize adverse psychosocial impact.
- Create and regularly update policies for cell phone and digital device use in classrooms that includes medical recommendations for children’s health and safety related to eyes, posture, addiction, and radiation. For continuous improvement, policies might include reporting and accountability measures.
- Institute a ban on personal cell phones and personal hotspot devices. Prohibit use of all internet-connected devices in classrooms unless during supervised use for specific instructional purpose. Such a policy may help prevent students from rushing through schoolwork to go online for gaming or other non-school purposes.
- PDD bans (unless wireless transmissions are OFF) should be extended to school buses. Prohibit Wi-Fi and cell phone network use in buses because EMF radiation is intensified inside metal vehicles.
- Institute a policy that allows for convenient, non-wireless methods for students to communicate with parents about last-minute scheduling issues. Non-wireless methods could include: corded phones, electronic bulletin board, and other practical, accessible ways to get messages to/from students.
- Incorporate a Technology Curriculum into other curricula. For example,
- In the health curriculum, include information about why and how to reduce exposure to wireless radiation, including step-by-step instructions how to disable wireless on their personal devices.
- In the environmental science curriculum, review current and historical regulatory policies on EMFs, including international approaches.
- Educate administrators, staff, and volunteers at least annually and when newly hired, about the safer use of technology. This might include:
- Reviewing school policies and how to reinforce them in the school setting,
- Explaining how to eliminate/minimize health risks of cell phones, screens, and wireless digital devices with hands-on workshops that explain and demonstrate how to hardwire electronics and create a low-EMF computer workstation.
Low-EMF Infrastructure in School Buildings
- Install wired rather than wireless LAN and communication services in schools.
- Only purchase or use computers, tablets, and other school and personal technology devices that can be ethernet-connected and allow all wireless applications (including locators) and antennas to be disabled.
- Locate computer stations and ethernet ports throughout school for convenient internet access.
- Hard wire all technology devices. This includes: fixtures such as printers, projectors, scoreboard controls, and boards; computer accessories such as audio speakers, mouse, keyboard, microphone, headphones, etc.; all locations at school (auditorium, gymnasium, library, office, indoor and outdoor lounge or activity areas, daycare facilities, etc.). Always include a step to disable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antennas via settings in the device, because otherwise even when the device is connected with wires, its antennas will often continue to emit EMF radiation.
- Operate laptops and tablets only in battery mode and not when plugged into an electrical outlet.
- Place corded phones in every room and in common areas so students and staff can communicate without cell phones. No cordless phones.
- Hardwire security systems.
- Do not use fluorescent lights. If fluorescents are already installed, consider improvements and perhaps optimizing natural daylight.
- Do not use RFID systems for persons or property.
- Install wired charging systems instead of wireless charging systems.
- Do not place microwave ovens in classrooms or schools. If you must use microwaves, then ensure ovens are checked for leaks and damaged seams. Teach students and staff to distance themselves from ovens.
- Replace utility smart meters with analogue meters.
- Replace wirelessly communicating environmental sensors with non-wireless alternatives.
- Ensure the electrical wiring in all school rooms complies with U.S. National Electrical Code and applicable state electrical code and local jurisdiction regulations. Have an electrician evaluate, and remediate if necessary, to ensure:
- Student- and staff-occupied areas have no common wiring errors,
- ELF magnetic field exposure is not above 1 mG (100 nT),
- Classrooms are not above electrical panels, electronics, or facility equipment/appliances that generate high EMFs.
- Ensure cell network towers, antennas, and boosters are not located on, in, or near school property.
What are examples of best practices for schools?
- CHPS Low EMF Criteria Fact Sheet: 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.
- The Maryland Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council issued recommendations to reduce radio frequency radiation in school classrooms: Press Release,Report, Council webpage, Newspaper Green Gazette article
- Upper Sturt Primary School WiFi and Cell Phone Policy: The Upper Sturt School has an excellent safe technology policy on WiFi and Wireless that can be used as a template for other private schools looking for an example of how to approach this issue.
- Castle Hill High School P&C Committee recommendations to reduce cell phone wireless exposure for students and staff.
- List of schools internationally taking action to ensure a safer school environment by eliminating or reducing wireless.
What do medical doctors recommend?
- Doctors recommend a fully wired low EMF classroom. Please read letters to Petaluma Public Schools: Dr. Carpenter, Dr. Anthony Miller, Dr. Martha Herbert, Dr. Lennart Hardell. For a full list of doctor letters to schools on this issue please see this webpage that has compiled letters.
- Over 250 medical doctors are calling on the United Nations for urgent action on this issue. Please read their published appeal at the European Journal of Oncology (read the list of doctors signing.)
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has repeatedly written the US government calling for cell phone/wireless radiofrequency radiation exposure limits to be updated to protect children who are more vulnerable. Read the American Academy of Pediatrics Letter to US Representative Dennis Kucinich in Support of the Cell Phone Right to Know Act and the Time Magazine News Article – “Pediatricians Say Cell Phone Radiation Standards Need Another Look”
- The EPA recognized educational campaign The BabySafe Project has a statement now signed by over 250 doctors and educators urging pregnant women to reduce wireless exposure to minimize risks to their babies’ brain development. A medical research team at Yale, led by Dr. Hugh Taylor, Chief of Obstetrics at Yale Medicine, found radiofrequency radiation exposure led to higher hyperactivity, poorer memory, and altered brain function—corroborating prior published research findings of altered brain development after exposure.
What other printable resources can I use to share this with others?
- What Parents Need to Know About Safe Technology
- Do’s and Dont’s for Safe Technology,
- How to Reduce Cell Phone Radiation Postcard
- Colorful Posters (8 by 11): Children and tablets, Teens and sleep, Keeping cell phones out of the pants pocket (PDF), Keep cell phones out of bras.
- The New Jersey Education Association published “Minimize health risks from electronic devices” and issued a PDF of these recommendations
Where can I find the articles mentioned in the webinar by Dr. Russell?
We highly recommend the Santa Clara Medical Association articles