Parents fear school Wi-Fi makes kids sick
Published Monday, August 16, 2010 10:19PM EDT
A group of parents in southern Ontario is blaming school wireless Internet networks for a slew of symptoms reportedly plaguing young children.
Parents on the Simcoe County Safe School committee claim that students in 14 area schools are experiencing problems such as headaches, insomnia and rashes due to microwaves emitted by the Wi-Fi systems.
They say the symptoms seem to subside on weekends and vacations, only to return when the kids go back to school.
Rodney Palmer, the group's spokesperson, says there's no research to show this much exposure to Wi-Fi is safe for children.
He plans to transfer his two children to different schools or even teach them at home this fall if the school doesn't turn off the Wi-Fi.
The group is pushing the school board to switch back to the wire connections already installed in most schools. In areas without wire connections, the Wi-Fi system should have an on/off function to limit exposure, the group says on its website.
Susan Clarke, a former research consultant to the Harvard School of Public Health, says young children soak up more radiation because their skulls are thinner than those of older kids and adults.
Parent Betty Churchley said her main priority is protecting her young children from harm.
"I'm very upset," she told CTV's Scott Laurie on Monday. "I'm extremely upset, because September is coming."
Churchley added that her two children, Jeremiah and Jasmen, will be moved to a new school in order to avoid the wireless connections.
She added that both children have complained of headaches, insomnia and even heart palpitations.
"If they are going to be going to school, and us parents are going to have to be worried about them having these symptoms and feelings … it is scary."
The school board has told parents that it will keep the Wi-Fi connections, adding there is no concrete evidence linking the technology with the symptoms.
Professor Magda Havas of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., who studies the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, says Wi-Fi use in schools is increasingly becoming a cause for concern.
With files from The Canadian Press