WiFi vs. Wired in Classrooms

After reading our EMF and Health page, you know that we believe it is wise to reduce our EMF exposure based on the scientific evidence that EMF is linked to biological harm. 


As you know, we live in a home that has a low-EMF footprint. We are not anti-technology, but we've chosen to use our wireless devices in a way that significantly minimizes our exposure to wireless radiation. Our children have very limited interaction with wireless devices, and never when the WiFi is turned on. These simple precautionary measures allow us to live our healthiest lives. 


So what happens when our children (and yours) go to school? 


As of 2016, 83% of US schools have WiFi networks. All wireless networks emit a form of EMF called radio frequency radiation (RFR). Chronic exposure to low intensity RFR has been linked to compromised immune system function, DNA damage, memory loss, learning challenges and behavioral changes. Below is an introduction to the scientific studies and relevant publications on this topic. Additionally, a list of more than 60 studies on the adverse health effects of wireless radiation is available here.


The discussion over health and safety concerns of WiFi in schools is gaining ground, even locally in Palo Alto, CA, but there's a lot at stake especially because many schools receive federal funding for wireless infrastructure. 


Many countries are taking precautionary action to limit exposure to wireless radiation for children. In France and Israel for example, WiFi is banned in preschools. Children are more affected by wireless radiation than adults for several reasons. Their bodies are rapidly developing. Children have thinner skulls, smaller heads, and a higher water content in their cells, all of which makes them more susceptible to RFR. Additionally, they have a higher prevalence of stem cells than adults, which are more affected by RFR than other cells.


So what do we do? 


Ideally, schools would transition from wireless to wired internet in the classrooms. This is a big ask. However, there are other steps to reduce wireless exposure in schools.


For example:

- Turn off the WiFi in the classroom when it's not in use.

- Set the WiFi network on a timer to turn on/off as needed. 

- Download all content on an iPad and activate airplane mode before giving the device to a child.

- Children should always use the device at a table and not on their laps. 


 We were successful in working with our son's preschool to turn off the WiFi when the children are present. This big win was accomplished with a timer that costs $10.


We believe that educating families is the first step to raising awareness about health and safety concerns over wireless technology and it's incredibly important to support our schools in creating the safest and healthiest learning environment for students and teachers.

WiFi as a Very Substantial Threat to Human Health. Martin L. Pall PhD and Cindy Sage, April 2017.
Martin L. Pall, PhD's letter to the Palo Alto Unified School Board in Palo Alto, CA on why renewing the district's wireless infrastructure should be reconsidered due to health and safety concerns for students and staff from wireless exposures. Attachment A provides an excellent overview of the debate on wireless safety, and cites research on the health risks. Attachment B is a list of 114 scientific reviews documenting the non-thermal effects of radio frequency radiation (wireless radiation). The list gives some measure of the size of the literature that contradicts the industry contention that there are no non-thermal effects of chronic, low level exposure to radio frequency radiation.
Final Palo Alto USD WiFi letter Pall Sag
Adobe Acrobat Document 291.8 KB
Wireless vs. Wired in Classrooms. Martha Herbert PhD, MD. 2013.
Harvard Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Martha Herbert recommends Los Angeles Unified School District adopt wired instead of wireless internet based on her research linking autism to EMF exposure.
Herbert final to LAUSD.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 143.7 KB
Reported Biological Effects from Radiofrequency Radiation at Low Intensity Exposure. Cindy Sage, 2015.
A summary of 48 studies that show health effects from low intensity RFR (like WIFI) including disrupted immune function, infertility, memory loss, learning challenges, behavior changes, DNA damage, DNA repair failure, and blood-brain barrier leakage.
RF Color Charts WiFi Low Intensity .pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 104.9 KB
Effect of Low Level Subchronic Microwave Radiation on Rat Brain. Deshmukh et al 2016.
The animal toxicity study found that low level RFR exposure (like WIFI) resulted in cognitive impairment, an increase in heat shock protein levels and DNA damage in rats.
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.2 MB
The Kids Are Not All Right. How Wireless Tech Is Harming Our Youth And What Parents Can Do Right Now. Paleo Magazine Online. Alison Main, Feb 2017
A succinct article about why we need to be aware of the health and safety of children using wireless technology. Offers tips for pregnant women and children (applicable to all) to minimize their exposure to wireless radiation.
The Kids Are Not All Right.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.5 MB

Effects of Prenatal Exposure to WiFi signal (2.45 GHz) on postnatal development in rat: influence of maternal restraint. Behavioural Brain Research. Othman et al 2017. Highlights: Effects of gestational exposure to WiFi signal and restraint along gestation period on the offspring were studied. The pups were evaluated for physical development and neuromotor maturation. Gestational WiFi exposure and restraint adversely affected offspring neurodevelopment and behavior at adulthood. Progency brain oxidative balance and serum biochemistry were disrupted.