Wi-fi in schools? Why we shouldn’t risk children’s healthby Ilaria Lonigro - 2014.03.05
“Putting wi-fi in schools could be social suicide,” Francesca Romana Orlando, vice president of Amica, tells West. Associazione Malattie da Intossicazione Cronica e/o Ambientale (the association of chronic and/or environmental diseases and poisoning) has been campaigning for more than 10 years in Italy to lower the limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields.
The new health battle is taking place in schools and is hitting out against modems and cables. Having wi-fi in the classroom in primary schools is hotly debated and more parents with concerns about radiation are forming committees to request the replacement of wireless connections with cable. This happened in Civitanova Marche a month ago, when the councillor for education personally disconnected the modem signal and turned on the cable connection in the primary school.
“Scientific evidence says that exposure to wi-fi is a potential health risk,” says Francesca Romana Orlando. “They say that under the limits set by law, there is no danger, but that's not the case: the legal limits don't protect health. This is the biggest obstacle for citizens, for example if they want to sue mobile phone transmitters. There are known biological effects from wireless and mobile signals 10 times below the limits set by Italian law, which only protects from acute and thermal effects. Biologists, however, know that cells have internal electro-magnetic sensors that are affected by external magnetic fields, even very weak ones, without being heated.”
Meanwhile, however, thousands of Italian schools have applied for funding for wi-fi. Of the 2,074 applications submitted by secondary schools, 1,554 have been approved by the Ministry of Education. For 2013 and 2014, it has allocated €15 million for the wi-fi in the classroom. But according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, that is not enough: you would need at least double the sum to bring Italy into line with other countries such as Britain. The OECD urged Italy to find funding, even in the private sector.
But activists don't agree. “We are carrying out a measurement campaign in schools and libraries where there is wi-fi in various cities. So far we haven't found any violation of the legal limits – but that doesn't mean there are no biological effects. The limits of the law, in fact, refer to the peaks of exposure and not to the occupied bandwidth, which in the case of wi-fi is quite wide, because it carries data.” The president of Amica continues: “Other studies also give cause for concern. In 2011, we met researchers from the department of biomagnetism at the University of Athens. They did a study that showed that mice exposed to wi-fi signals suffered memory loss and spatial confusion: these are the same symptoms seen in 'electro-sensitive' people.”
Amica is campaigning precisely for the recognition of electro-sensitivity. Orlando says: “Over the past two years, we have been contacted by several people who were healthy, then after the arrival of wi-fi in their place of work, they suddenly began to suffer headaches, insomnia, confusion and a sense of disorientation. It's not easy to quantify and objectify these symptoms but their collective effect is a loss of quality of life. They are psychological and physical reactions to the exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones and other wireless technologies, such as wi-fi. Instead of removing wi-fi as a precautionary measure, we are installing even more wi-fi in libraries and schools – learning environments where people need to feel well. In 2011, even the plenary assembly of the Council of Europe warned on the need to reduce the use of wi-fi, reminding us that radio waves have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as 'possibly carcinogenic' to humans.”
Italy is reconfirmed to have the European record of young NEET
In Italy, almost one in five young people between the ages of 15 and 24, does not have a job, do not look for it, nor is engaged in a course of study or training. These are the so-called Neet and Italy is reconfirmed to have one of the highest Read More.
Italian schools under observation to guarantee disabled pupils’ rights
A monitoring campaign across Italy to check the real inclusion of disabled people at school. It was launched by the National Association of Families of People with Intellectual and/or Relational Disabilities (ANFFAS) and aims at finding out all the possible injustices and obstacles that students with disabilities can encountered during Read More.
In this school trans students don’t feel different
Increase in the number of Spanish schools that promote ad hoc programs for the inclusion of transgender students. In fact, there is a “certificate of recognition” for those schools who provide special training to teachers, students, and families who want to contribute to overcoming prejudice and discrimination against individuals who Read More.
Absolutely prohibited esthetic surgery for under-18 year olds
Prohibit esthetic surgery for under-18 year olds. This drastic measure has been advanced by the Council of Bioethics in Enlgand, allarmed by the boom in operations undertaken for minors as young as 8 years old, for superficial reasons. A trend caused by at least three factors. First. Videogames and apps Read More.
Beneficial effects of Sweden’s gender-neutral nurseries
Though not well known, they have already reached their desired objectives. The so-called neutral gender nurseries that Sweden has experimented with to raise new generations free from the gender stereotypes of the past. According to a recent study, the children who were exposed to these, demonstrated on average, a lesser tendency towards, and Read More.
Teaching kids in pre-school to vote fights abstentionism
It has been referred to as the youngest Democracy in the world. We are talking about the preschool Dolli-Einstein Haus in Pinneberg, located in northern Germany. Where the very small children (ages 3-5) choose, by way of regular elections, what they want to eat and what activities they want to Read More.