14 Q & A

1 We have wi-fi at home. How can I ask the school to switch off its wi-fi?

(a) At home, you can switch your wi-fi off when children are there. At school, the wi-fi system is on all the time and children cannot escape any effects it may have.

(b) Some parents may not know that it is possible to connect to the internet by wire, and would do so if they did.

(c) Many parents may not know that dLAN systems give landline access to the internet anywhere in the house that there is an electric socket. 87

(d) Many children at school come from homes that do not have wi-fi.

(e) The school has a duty of care towards children irrespective of what happens at home.

2 There are devices in domestic use with a signal strength greater than that of wi-fi: e.g. mobile phones, cordless phones, baby monitors, etc. Is it not inconsistent to call for a ban on wi-fi in school when we use these things?

(a) There is evidence that lower levels of exposure pose a risk equal to or greater than risk found at higher levels (see above).

(b) Such devices may not be used continuously. The wi-fi at school is on all the time and the children are subjected to it constantly.

(c) The school has no control over the use of domestic devices, but it does have control over the use of wi-fi in school.

(d) Unless parents choose home schooling, they have by law to send their children to school for much of the day. They have a right to expect their school to aim for the highest standards of safety.

3 Do we not have to take natural background microwave radiation into account when looking at the effects of microwave radiation on health?

There is virtually no natural background microwave radiation. At its levels of emission, and in its pervasiveness, mobile phone technology has introduced a completely new environmental hazard, against which humanity has had no cause to develop natural protection. One scientist has described it as “the largest human biological experiment ever.” 88

4. Does the evidence of adverse health effects described above not also relate to the large phone mast next to [Name] Community College, overlooking [name of school]’s playing field? And if it does, isn’t that more worrying than the wi-fi?

The evidence does indeed apply to the phone mast. Every time children are in the playground they are exposed to its emissions, as they are to a lesser extent inside the school building, especially if their classroom windows face the mast. However, any attempt to get the mast switched off or removed is likely to take time. The wi-fi carries at least as much risk when children are inside, the children are inside a great deal more than they are outside— and the school can switch off the wi-fi now.

87 dLAN kits are available on the internet
88 Leif Salford et al (2003), ‘Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain after Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones’, in Environmental Health Perspectives, Online 29 January 2003LINK