The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS)
ICEMS is made up of scientists, medical doctors and engineers from around the world. In their Beneveto Resolution (2006) and Venice Resolution (June 2008), they stated their concern for the effects of human exposure to electromagnetic fields on health. They state:
"We take exception to the claim of the wireless communication industry that there is no credible scientific evidence to conclude there is a risk. Recent epidemiological evidence is stronger than before, which is a further reason to justify precautions be taken to lower exposure standards..."
"We strongly advise limited use of cell phones, and other similar devices, by young children and teenagers, and we call upon governments to apply the Precautionary Principle as an interim measure while more biologically relevant standards are developed to protect against, not only the absorption of electromagnetic energy by the head, but also adverse effects of the signals on biochemistry, physiology and electrical biorhythms."
The Education Professionals Union (Voice) (formerly the Professional Association of Teachers)
Voice is calling for a moratorium on new Wi-Fi networks in schools and the suspension of existing Wi-Fi if possible. It has called for a full investigation into wifi networks in schools:
"We continue to be concerned about the possible effects of Wi-Fi. Particularly on children whose brains and bodies are still developing".
Speaking about the announcement of an investigation into Wi-Fi by the Health Protection Agency (measuring emissions from computers in schools to check whether they are within ICNIRP guidelines), Voice General Secretary, Philip Parkin stated:
"Whilst we welcome this investigation I do not feel that it goes far enough. It seems to be concentrating on what should be known already rather than on what is not known. It seems to me that the HPA:
- has pre-judged outcomes before they have done the work;
- seems to only be considering the thermal effect of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) and not the potential long-term health risks associated with the non-thermal effects;
- is assessing against the totally inadequate ICNIRPS guidelines which only relate to the thermal effects of EMR;
- does not appear to be doing any health-related investigations amongst children; and
- appears to be concentrating on measuring radiation levels which are already known, or should have been before the technology was allowed to be used in schools."
Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)
In April 2009, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers called for classroom wireless networks to be suspended immediately until research has properly considered the threat to health. Members said they were concerned by scientific reports linking wi-fi with impaired concentration, loss of short-term memory, chromosome damage and increased incidence of cancer.
The German teachers' Union for Education and Knowledge (GEW, Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft)
GEW has told its members to resist the rollout of Wi-Fi into schools in Germany on safety grounds. The GEW Union in Hesse has proposed:
"Due to possible effects on school performance, a healthy school should not only be smoke free, but also allow teachers and students to teach and study in a radiation free environment"
Public Health Department of Salzburg
The Public Health Department of Salzburg has warned that Wi-Fi should not be installed in schools or nurseries.
The Austrian Medical Association
The Austrian Medical Association is lobbying against the deployment of Wi-Fi in schools.
Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada
Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada has limited its use of Wi-Fi, due to health concerns. It has comprehensive fibre-optic computer network throughout the campus. Its policy on the use of Wi-Fi states:
"There will be no use of Wi-Fi in those areas of the University already served by hard wire connectivity until such time as the potential health effects have been scientifically rebutted or there are adequate protective measures that can be taken"
Libraries in France
French national libraries (BNF) has imposed a moratorium on wi-fi networks in French libraries. Paris libraries have switched off wi-fi after staff reported ill effects.
The Progressive Librarian's Guild in America
The Progressive Librarian’s Guild in America recommends:
"that via their professional organizations, information workers address the risks of wireless technology in public spaces, take steps in learning about the risks of wireless in terms of exposure and impact on library services, monitor wireless technology in their facilities, critically evaluate and adopt alternatives to wireless technology especially in children’s sections of libraries, create warning signage on risks of wi-fi throughout their libraries,and act as a community resource in the public education on wireless technologies."
Some of the information on this page was provided by www.wifiinschools.org.uk.