Safe School

A Professor's Testimony

Ontario Ministry of Health
Dr. Arlene King
Chief Medical Officer of Health

Dr King,

As an educator, as someone who has seen colleagues and students experience negative effects of working and studying in proximity to wireless nodes (headaches, lack of concentration, short term memory problem, hyperactivity, depression), and as someone who has experienced these effects myself, I urge you remove wireless from schools in Ontario.

What do we know of the biological effects of this type of radiation? Health Canada's own studies, such as the Royal Commission of 1999 (updated in 2003), demonstrate significant biological effects of exposure to this type of radiation, including increased permeability of the blood brain barrier, the release of heat shock proteins, and the promotion of enzymes related to cancer growth.  In late April 2010, the Parliamentary Health Oversight Committee in Ottawa heard two days of testimony involving international experts that drew attention to an extensive body of research that confirmed and extended upon the evidence in the earlier Royal Commission report. DNA disruption, contribution to Alzheimers, MS, cancer induction, and diabetes were all on the table during these testimonials.

Meanwhile, Health Canada's Safety Code 6 regulating exposure of this type of radiation asserts that all these so-called "non thermal" biological effects are of no concern to Canadians. Health Canada officials regularly maintain in the press that only "thermal" effects, such as when a microwave oven cooks your pot roast, cause harm. Safety Code 6, initially developed to protect radiofrequency and microwave engineers from 6 minute exposures, is entirely inadequate for dealing with the realities of full day exposure in the workplace to wireless networks and the devices they service.

No doubt industry or military apologists will find some way of contesting the kinds of assertions I've just made, but just for a second imagine that we are with awareness about wireless where we were with awareness around the risks of smoking, asbestos, DDT or thalidomide in the 1940's or 50's. Consider that the first epidemiological study linking smoking to cancer was published in 1939 and after years of documented industry intervention in the science around the matter, smoking was finally recognized as the risk that it is almost six decades later. Significant evidence suggests the same level of interference at the moment, all the way to the World Health Organization, the group that maintains archaic safety levels under the pressure of industry plants.

Other constituencies are further ahead of Canada on this issue. The German government has actively advised against wireless installation, and wireless been removed from the National Library in France as well as an increasing number of schools in England.  A full eighteen appeals since 1999 by major international scientific bodies, national governments and medical organizations have called for the drastic revision of current safety standards.

And yet, above and beyond the long term risks of wireless radiation outlined above, a Canadian Human Rights Commission report recognizes that many people experience immediate effects from wireless exposure: approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities, and many more are somewhat sensitive to traces of chemicals and/or electromagnetic phenomena in the environment.  Another similar Commission report on how to accommodate individuals with such complaints asserts that electrical sensitivity experienced when using wireless devices -- a condition that includes symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, tinnitus, heartbeat irregularities, "brainfog" and many other symptoms is a recognized disability like any other.

As the head of an academic department with responsibilities under the Ontario Health and Safety Act for the safety of the faculty and staff working in my area, I started finding myself having to move otherwise very lucid and engaged staff members away from wireless nodes near their offices. Reported headaches, tingling, lack of focus, tiredness and other effects noted by these individuals when new wireless nodes were installed disappeared when I assigned new offices. I had had myself elected to the University's Joint Health and Safety Committee, pushed for a subcommittee on electromagnetics and health, and eventually the whole sixteen-plus member committee comprised of worker and management representatives voted unanimously in February 2009 to advise the University administration to warn all staff and faculty that the science on wireless radiation was "inconclusive" and that interested parties should take initiative to inform and protect themselves accordingly.

This was a weak warning, but a warning nonetheless issued under the aegis of the Ontario Health and Safety Act regulations.

All the evidence from the Royal Society panel suggests that younger students are even more at risk than those I deal with at a post secondary as a result of the earlier developmental phase of the neurological and immune systems.

Are you aware that beginning 2002 the insurance industry largely stopped insuring for the health effects of wireless radiation, leaving the institutions who have chosen to install them (such as school boards) more exposed to liability claims. Precautionary approaches make financial as well as human sense.

The research demonstrates the biological and health effects of these emissions.

It is false and misleading to suggest as you have recently asserted in public that this form of radiation poses no health risk.

It is imperative that wireless be removed from schools in Ontario.


Dr. David Fancy
Brock University
St Catharines

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