Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Is WiFi Making Canadian Students Sick?

Is WiFi Making Canadian Students Sick

Is WiFi making Canadian students sick?

Nationwide, the dangers associated with using wireless internet are being questioned.

Lakehead University created a policy to limit the use of wireless internet on the campus on November 1, 2010. The WiFi And Cellular Antennae Policy states “there are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate a basis for concern that continuous or frequent long-term exposure to the non-ionizing radiation of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) could have adverse health effects.”

However, their policy adds that Lakehead will keep track of research related to the effects of WiFi. And that “the policy will be reviewed at least every three years.”

This decision came on the heels of a WiFi ban in a Simcoe County school just a month before. An increased number of students in the southern Ontario school complained of feeling ill after wireless transmitters had been installed.

In the Niagara region, a group of teachers proposed banning wireless internet in classrooms. However, after an extensive debate among teachers (who were both for and against the idea) the ban was rejected.

Health Canada insists that exposure to such low levels of wireless Internet is not a health risk. They claim the radio frequency energy (RF) released from wireless internet is too low to cause a health risk. Their website states the typical amount of RF energy emitting from a base station such as a wireless router is “thousands of times below the limit of public exposure.”

Meanwhile, in 2007 the UK’s Health Protection Agency’s research found that a year’s worth of exposure to wireless internet was equivalent to talking on a mobile phone for 20 minutes.

But an investigation by the TV show Panorama found that radio frequency radiation levels in some schools are three times that of one wireless base station.

Ontario Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky told CBC the responsibility is in the federal government’s hands.

“This is a responsibility of Health Canada to ensure that these technologies … are safe,” Dombrowsky says. “That’s what we’re asking them to look into.”

Saba Taye
Author: Saba Taye
Saba is a freelance writer based in Toronto Ontario. A recent journalism graduate from Centennial College she now views life as her classroom.
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