Educator Unions Are Investigating the safety of Wi-Fi in Classrooms
Some Examples of Actions by Educational Unions:
- In 2018, United Educators of San Francisco passed a Resolution on Safer Technology that calls for the California cell phone guidance to be disseminated to students and staff. They also hosted webinars on Safe Technology in schools.
- 2016 the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario called for a “WI-FI moratorium until further health studies are done, and lawmakers can catch up with new regulations.”
- In 2016, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) published an article “Minimize health risks from electronic devices” with details on how to reduce physical health risks from devices including risks from radiation exposure.
- In 2014, the New York State Teachers Union passed a Resolution “Hazards of Wireless Radiation Emission,” hosted a webinar “Risks of wireless technologies and protecting children and staff in schools” issued a press release on the “Best Practices For Schools.”
- In 2013, Canadian Teacher Federation issued a briefing document, “The Use of Wi-Fi in Schools,” recommending an education program to educate the public regarding ways to avoid potential exposure risks of Wi-Fi access points and devices.”They also briefed the Royal Society of Canada and presented testimony in person.
- In 2012, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association released a Position Statement recommending wired classroom infrastructure as WIFI “may present a potential health and safety risk or hazard in the workplace.”
- In 2010, the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association recommended a precautionary approach and their Webpage states Wi-Fi free zones should be available, On/Off routers recommended to turn the Wi-Fi OFF and the minimal or non-use within elementary schools.
Detailed List Of Actions
2018: United Educators of San Francisco
Passed a resolution on safer technology that calls for the California cell phone guidance to be disseminated to students and staff. United Educators of San Francisco represents more than 6,000 employees of the San Francisco Unified School District including teachers, nurses, para educators, counselors, instructional aides, substitutes, psychologists, therapists, social workers and speech pathologists throughout San Francisco.
The resolution, expected to be on the Labor-Management Health and Safety Committee agenda for review and planning of next steps, calls for:
- A discussion of the CDPH cell phone guidelines
- The development of best practices for mobile devices to reduce RF in San Francisco schools
- Publishing the CDPH cell phone guidelines through various outlets for all San Francisco educators and parents
- Posting RF safety guidelines in every classroom
The resolution became official as of May 23rd, 2018 and the “Resolution on Enhancing Technology Safety in San Francisco Unified School District”and press release be found on UESF website.
Watch the webinar for the UESF teachers “Enhancing Technology Safety in the Schools”November 2018 with Dr. Cindy Russell that reviews the resolution and details how schools can reduce exposure to radiofrequency radiation.
2016: New Jersey Education Association
Published the article “Minimize health risks from electronic devices”in the September 2016 NJEA Review. Adrienne Markowitz and Eileen Senn detail how to reduce physical health risks from devices including risks from radiation exposure:
- “Keep devices away from the body and bedroom.
- Carry phones in briefcases, etc., not on the body.
- Put devices on desks, not laps.
- Hard wire all devices that connect to the internet.
- Hard wire all fixed devices such as printers, projectors and boards.
- Use hard-wired phones instead of cell or cordless phones.
- Text rather than call.
- Keep conversations short or talk in person.
- Put devices in airplane mode, which suspends EMF transmission by the device, thereby disabling Bluetooth, GPS, phone calls, and WiFi.
- Use speaker phone or ear buds instead of holding the phone next your head.
- Take off Bluetooth devices when not using them.”
- Read the online NJEA article “Minimize health risks from electronic devices”
- PDF of NJEA article Recommendations
2016: Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation
The Federation has issued a new call for a moratorium on WIFI and in the Limestone School District and they have taken the issue to the school trustees in that District. “The Teacher Union’s president says there is a growing mountain of evidence that WIFI can pose health risks.” Andrea Loken/OSSTF District President stated in a 3/2016 news interview that, “There are thousands of published peer reviewed papers that are indicating adverse health effects from WIFI and we are seeing an increased awareness around this issue worldwide.”
- Read the Ontario Limestone District Report sent to Board on Wi-Fi.
- Watch the video of the news piece with Union members here .
- Read the National Post article here
- Radio Canada International article here.
2016: Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
A 3/2016 News Report states that they are calling for a “WIFI moratorium until further health studies are done, and lawmakers can catch up with new regulations.”
- Watch the video of the news piece with Union members here
- Read the National Post article here
- Radio Canada International article here.
2014 New York State Teachers Union
A federation of more than 1,200 local unions.
“We have enough evidence to justify taking action and we are not willing to wait until our members, their children and the students suffer health consequences from not doing anything,”-Paul Pecorale, Vice President of the New York State United Teachers Union.
- Read the Press Release on Best Practices For Schools prepared for NYSUT
- Download the Guidelines for Safer Use of Wireless Technology in Classrooms published for NYSUT
- NYSUT hosted a Webinar: Risks of wireless technologies and protecting children and staff in schools.
2014 United Federation of Teachers
(Teachers, nurses and professionals working in New York City).
In 2014 their Wireless Radiation Webpage stated “Wireless radiation is emitted by the myriad of wireless devices we encounter every day. It was once thought to be relatively harmless. However, we now know that wireless radiation can cause non-thermal biological effects as well, including damage to cells and DNA, even at low levels. In March of 2016, this statement was removed and replaced with new text mimicking FCC verbiage. However the site still posts how to reduce exposure.
- Resources posted on their site still include Dr. Moskowitz’ Reducing Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation and the BabySafe Project brochure What You Need to Know About Wireless Radiation and Your Baby. “Taking certain precautions around wireless radiation is appropriate for our most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women.”
2019 National Educational Association Resolution on Toolkit for Screen time
- The National Education Association (NEA) passed a resolution to compile a toolkit for educating children and families on the physiological, social-emotional, and behavioral effects of screen time on children.
- Read about this Resolution in NEA Newsletter (new business item 10)
2014 National Education Association
- Section C-19 of the NEA 2013-2014 Resolution on Electromagnetic Radiation
- “The National Education Association believes that all educational facilities must have healthy indoor air quality, be smoke-free, be safe from environmental and chemical hazards, and be safe from hazardous electromagnetic fields.”
- “Students and/or their parents/guardians, education employees, and the public should be notified of actual and potential hazards.”
- “School districts should conduct periodic testing for harmful water and airborne particles/agents that are detrimental to the health of students and education employees and shall report the results publicly.”
- “The Association also believes in the development and enforcement of health and safety standards specifically for children.”
2013 Canadian Teacher Federation
(200,000 elementary and secondary school teachers)
The federation issued a briefing document on Wi-Fi networks in school.
“CTF is concerned about the lack of definitive research regarding the adverse health effects of Wi-Fi.
- “We propose a prudent approach to the use of Wi-Fi, especially where children are present.”
- “We recommend an education program regarding the relative safety of Wi-Fi exposure and that appropriate resources be developed to educate the public regarding ways to avoid potential exposure risks of Wi-Fi access points and devices.”
- “Pedagogical needs could be met in schools with an approach that limits exposure to Wi-Fi.”
- Read the Briefing The Use of Wi-Fi in Schools – Briefing Document
- 2015: Canadian Teacher’s Magazine published CTF Sounds the Alarm on Wi-Fi
- Canadian Teachers’ Federation. CTF Brief to the Expert Panel of the Royal Society of Canada reviewing Safety Code 6, October 2013.
- Presentation to the Royal Society of Canada
UTLA represents 40,000 teachers and staff
- 2013 United Teachers of Los Angeles Resolution passed: “I move that UTLA will abide by current National NEA Policy for Environmentally Safe Schools which states that all employees and stakeholders should be informed when there are changes in their exposure to environmental hazards including electromagnetic radiation and that all stakeholders and the public should be notified of any actual and potential hazards. UTLA will advocate for technological solutions that maintain technology upgrades while not increasing employees exposure to electromagnetic radiation.”
- Health and Human Services Committee 3-6-13 #1: Moved by Kevin Mottus, seconded by John Cabrera.
- UTLA Newsletter editorial by social worker Kevin Mottus.
Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario
2013/2014 Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario Position statement:
“There is cause for concern for members’ health and safety, especially women,” said Sandra Wash, a teacher representing the Peel district when the Federation issued a 2014 position statement supporting an Expert Panel recommendation that Health Canada provide the public with more information about radiofrequency energy, and the safe use of wireless technology.
ETFO voted to:
- Turn cell phones off in classrooms
- Label the location Of Wi-Fi access points.
- Research Radio Frequency radiation.
- Develop a hazard control program related to wireless microwave radiation through JHSC.
- Position Statement of the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario
BC Teachers Federation
- Wireless Resolutions and Proposed Resolutions
- “The BCTF supports members who are suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity by ensuring their medical needs are accommodated in the workplace.”
- Proposed Resolutions “the World Health Organization’s classification of radiofrequency/electromagnetic fields emitted by wireless devices as a 2B possible cancer risk to humans; that the BCTF ensures all teachers have the right to work in a safe environment, including the right to work in a Wi-Fi/ wireless-free environment.”
- Recommendation to the Ministry of Education that school boards “begin immediate installation of on/off switches for Wi-Fi routers in schools, thereby reducing microwave radiation exposure and reducing health risks to members, and/or provide safer Ethernet cables or fibre optics”.
- Daily News Coverage:Merritt teachers demand protection from wi-fi radiation ‘Evidence is piling up that wi-fi radiation may in fact be harmful’
- Vancouver Sun News Report
2012 The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association
(45,000 Ontario teachers)
- Read the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association Position Statement here.
- The Teacher Association recommends a wired infrastructure as WIFI “may present a potential Health and Safety risk or hazard in the workplace…The safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced.”
- “Controls for WiFi would best be guided by the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable), as well as by applying the concept of prudent avoidance (of non-ionizing radiation).”
- Read CBC News article
- Read the Position Statement
- “Voice has advocated that new Wi-Fi systems should not be installed in schools, that existing systems should be turned off when not required and that schools should consider whether they really need to use Wi-Fi, which was developed to facilitate Internet access on the move rather than to be used as a convenient alternative to cables in dedicated IT facilities.”
- ” In the light of what has happened to one of our members [who has developed sensitivity to electro-magnetic radiation], I am concerned that so many wireless networks are being installed in school and colleges without any real understanding of the possible long-term consequences.”- Voice General Secretary Philip Parkin
- Voice Blog post.
2010 Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association (GVTA)
“The GVTA recommends a precautionary approach to the School District with regard to provision of wireless internet in schools. The precautionary approach comes from the environmental movement and has been adopted as common practice in areas regarding potential environmental, ecological or biodiversity damage. It suggests that the lack of significant evidence is not enough of a reason to be unconcerned. The fact that many other countries have instituted regulations to protect children, seniors, pregnant women and other susceptible populations should be the guide for a District policy on WiFi installation and use in the worksites.”
The GVTA Wireless in Schools Webpage states now that:
- Wi-Fi free zones should be available.
- On/Off routers recommended and record any adverse Wi-Fi health effects.
- Minimal or non-use within elementary schools.
2008 Lucerne Elementary Secondary Arrow Lakes District New Denver BC, Canada
Opts for “No WI-FI”
“In autumn 2010, a public elementary school in Meaford, Ontario became the first public school in Canada to shut down wireless internet. Parents at Lucerne School in New Denver, BC, have also chosen to keep hardwired computer systems, rather than join the Wi-Fi bandwagon. The New Denver Parent Children’s Association has issued a statement saying, “We encourage other parents to look into the increasingly evident side effects of wireless routers and [wireless] computers, particularly to children whose bodies and brains are still developing.”
School District 61 in Victoria, B.C. has voted to form a committee to investigate the potential health threats posed by Wi-Fi and to report to the Board by spring 2011. And Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, has banned Wi-Fi on its campus and uses fibre optic cable for Internet access.”
Read more about this school district action at Prevent Cancer Now “Jumping off the Wireless Bandwagon – Wi-Fi and You”