Trent prof warns of WiFi dangers
Jun 25, 2010
Dr. Magda Havas says public school board plans to have WiFi in local schools puts students at risk; school board argues World Health Organization and Health Canada have found WiFi poses no health risks
(PETERBOROUGH) Trent professor Dr. Magda Havas fears for the health of local children once WiFi internet connection hits local public schools next year.
An expert in the field of electromagnetic radiation, Dr. Havas is concerned with what her research, and others, is discovering about wireless technology.
"(The school board) will use technology to enhance the learning experience while affecting them (students) physiologically," says Dr. Havas.
A number of people listened intently to Dr. Havas' findings and concerns at a free lecture she gave at Trent University on Tuesday (June 22) night. She says her primary concern is with the amount of time students will be exposed to low levels of microwave radiation at school. She adds scientists and medical doctors around the world are recommending prudent avoidance of this
type of radiation, especially with children.
"I've worked with people who have developed a sense of sensitivity to this radiation," says Dr, Havas.
"This affects children and adults, but children are much more vulnerable."
Rob Andrews, superintendent of student success with the local public school board, says the plan is to have WiFi in all elementary and secondary schools by June 2011. The technology, he adds, will improve learning opportunities for teachers and students with the use of wireless labs.
"The technology will come to the kids. It will make it much more mobile," says Mr. Andrews.
He adds school board members and employees are well aware of the research Dr. Havas is referring to, but says board members and staff are basing the decision on research released by the World Health Organization and Health Canada regarding electromagnetic radiation.
"There have obviously been some parental concerns, but we defer to the people who have done studies with nothing to suggest it (WiFi) is harmful," says Mr. Andrews.
He adds student safety is the board's paramount concern and stresses nothing would be implemented that would cause harm to children.
But according to Dr. Havas, the effects of WiFi radiation is already being seen in other Ontario schools. She says the Simcoe County school board implemented wireless technology and problems are starting to arise.
"In Simcoe, kids are coming home with headaches and problems with their heart," says Dr. Havas, adding these symptoms started after WiFi was introduced in the schools.
Mr. Andrews says at least two local schools, Adam Scott Collegiate and Colborne Public School, are already wireless and no similar illnesses have been reported by students.
Regardless, Dr. Havas is urging the local school board to reconsider installing WiFi in all schools.
"I''m not opposed to Internet access...but to have (students exposed to WiFi) hours each day, it's criminal. It has to be investigated."
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