Radiation fear at schools

This is the story in our local paper. If anyone would be so kind as to write them a quick response with some facts or anyone else that suffers from exposure that would be much appreciated.


Radiation fear at schools

15 February 2007

YOUNGSTERS at some Muswell Hill primary schools could have their health put at risk by new technology that hasn't been proven as safe, it is claimed.

Controversy continues to surround the possible dangers of using wireless internet connections in primary school classrooms - yet one school has had the technology for years and another is to make the leap in the near future.

Tetherdown primary school, in Grand Avenue, was one of the first schools to install the technology - which allows laptop computers to link to the internet wirelessly by using radio waves to beam information back and forth.

And Coldfall primary school, Coldfall Avenue, is set to follow soon.

But there is still debate over how much electromagnetic radiation a young child can safely be exposed to.

Current advice from the Health Protection Agency says increases in sensitivity "may occur in infants and children", but there is "no firm evidence" of exposure to such radiation having adverse health effects.

But a number of schools in the UK have dismantled their "wi-fi" networks after pressure from parents, and Austria's Salzburg public health department is one of many official bodies to have issued warnings about its effects, having advised all schools and nurseries not to install wi-fi at all.

Alasdair Philips, scientific and technical director of lobby group Powerwatch, said:

"It strikes us as completely irresponsible to be putting these in schools - particularly primary schools - without

the monitoring equipment to see if this is a sensible thing to do.

"It just seems so unnecessary. I can't see the great advantage of filling the whole school with radiation.

"The radiation levels are obviously weaker than from a mobile phone mast, but on the other hand you are sitting right on top of them.

"We are looking at connecting it with chronic fatigue, attention deficit disorder, headaches and more."

Sarah Purdy, whose children attend Tetherdown, argues the system hasn't been proved safe and has no educational benefits.

She said: "They just do it because it's new technology, but no-one has thought of beaming microwaves at children all day long.

"Why are we risking our children's lives when cabled computer systems are quite possible?

"The precautionary principle should prevail - we should not expose children unless this system is tested and proved safe, which it has not been to date. We have no option and our children are being irradiated."

Tetherdown has the system installed in its classrooms, but its head teacher Evelyn Pittman said: "We have had a lot of communication with parents and every aspect of the issue has been looked at, and I don't think it needs to be something that is discussed outside of that."

Plans are afoot to install wi-fi in Coldfall Wood Primary, but Carol O'Brien, head teacher at St James C of E Primary, Woodside Avenue, said her school didn't have wi-fi.

Muswell Hill Primary and Our Lady of Muswell Hill Primary schools did not respond before the Journal went to press.

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.




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