A legal complaint under the Americans With Disabilities Act has been filed by a Massachusetts couple on behalf of their 12-year old minor son, who experiences symptoms of electrosensitivity in classrooms with WiFi at the Fay School, an exclusive private school in Southborough, MA. Injunctive relief will be sought.
Fay School communicated with parents months ago suggesting WiFi was safe for children because an association of private schools to which they belonged said so. Fay relied in part on a 1-page statement from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), “Non-Ionizing Radiation: Literature Review”, which appeared to have been sent to parents without adequate research into the subject, including only 5 references which appeared cherry-picked to support the wireless industry’s interests.
Campaign for Radiation Free Schools prepared a Critique of the NAIS statement. The NAIS Critique described the science showing biological effects, the impacts on attention and learning, the inadequacy of the federal safety guidelines for electromagnetic field exposures and protective actions being taken to limit wireless exposures to children in numerous countries around the world. It also questioned whether NAIS’ receipt of funding from wireless-related businesses, described in its Annual Reports, might be impacting NAIS decision-making:
We also wonder, with all due respect, whether the support NAIS has received over the years from wireless and technology industry businesses mentioned in its Annual Reports, such as from LaptopSchools.com, Lenovo, Qualcomm and Google Chrome, has in any way biased NAIS or influenced the content of the NAIS statement issued on wireless risks.
The National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy (NISLAPP) sought a meeting with NAIS President, John Chubb, to discuss the NAIS statement on risks from WiFi, which was called a “review”, in a letter dated September 9, 2014 from its Chairman, James S. Turner, Esq. Mr. Turner said:
“Had the writers been more thorough, they would also have encountered expert critiques of the current regulatory system for protecting the public from wireless radiation risks, including that the FCC exposure guidelines are inadequate to protect human health, since they are based only on thermal effects and do not address known non-thermal effects; that the FCC guidelines are based on the assumption of average exposures, whereas in real world situations there are peaks, pulsing and other signal characteristics to which the body responds; and that studies suggest the effects of this type of radiation may be cumulative, with long-term exposures to low-levels RFR having effects similar to high exposure for short periods.”
It appears that the NAIS post is influencing independent school administrators, faculty, parents and school trustees. This has the potential for undermining the health, wellness and learning ability of students, in particular students experiencing electro-sensitivity symptoms and other preexisting health challenges or vulnerabilities. We understand that schools are now using this post as justification for ignoring the concerns of parents whose children experience fatigue, attention difficulties, irritability and even cardiac irregularities in the presence of high-powered industrial strength WiFi in schools.
We would like NAIS to reconsider its role in this situation and replace the post with more accurate, timely, and balanced information.
No response was received by NISLAPP, and calls to NAIS were not returned.
Risks to Children – Some Background Information
In January 2015, The French National Assembly adopted a bill to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by wireless technologies – cell phones, tablets, Wi-Fi etc., called the “Law on sobriety, transparency, information and consultation for exposure to electromagnetic waves”. It established that:
- Wireless devices will be banned in “the spaces dedicated to the care, resting and activities of children under 3 years”
- Wireless access points / routers must be disabled in primary schools when not in active use with electronic education
- Any advertisement for mobile telephony must include a recommendation of devices (such as earphones) to reduce exposure to the head
- All public places offering WiFi must clearly advertise the fact at the entrance to the property
- All wireless devices must contain clear instructions on how to disable their wireless functionality
- The National Frequency Agency (AFNR) will conduct an annual national census of “atypical points” or “places where the level of public exposure substantially exceeds that generally observed
- In addition, a campaign of “awareness and information on the responsible and rational use of mobile devices” will be conducted.
- Finally, the often-dramatic situation of people suffering from electrohypersenitivity receives a first consideration. At least a dozens other countries and governments have tanen action to protect children from electromagnetic fields, including in the classroom. The government will have to submit a report to Parliament on this issue within a year.
Also of note, a summary of international actions to protect children from electromagnetic fields was recently published in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine in June 2015 by Mary Redmayne, PhD. She addressed the Commonwealth Club of California on this topic June 22, 2015. Watch Video:
Also, at the Commonwealth Club of California, June 22, 2015, in a half-day program entitled “Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies: Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations?”, a presentation was made by Dr. Karl Maret describing the nature of wireless exposures experienced by children in schools, including the innate variability of wireless exposures, potential differences in exposure from one classroom to the next, high risk characteristics of industrial strength routers used in schools, including more antennas and use of beam forming directional technology, which could make one person in a classroom at far greater risk than another, and discussion of the risks from cumulative exposures over the course of a day. Dr. Maret suggested the cumulative exposures might be a better means to gauge risk compared to measurements taken at one moment in time. In the example given, exposures the child received exceeded recommended safety guidelines from 24-46 minutes a day, and it was during these periods that the child in question experienced symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue and cardiac irregularities.
VIDEO: Highlights from a Dossimetry Case Study of Child in School
Further information on wireless risks to children:
“Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies: Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations?”,
Commonwealth Club of California, San Francisco, CA, June 22, 2015
“Children’s Health Expert Panel – Audio and Summary: Cell Phones & WiFi—Are Children, Fetuses and Fertility at Risk?”,
La Grua Center, Stonington, CT June 28, 2013
“How to Protect Ourselves—and Growing Children—from Electromagnetic Fields”,
NY Open Center, New York, NY, November 15, 2013
Campaign for Radiation Free Schools
International Precautionary Actions by Governments, Authorities and Schools, by Environmental Health Trust
Canadians for Safe Technology
Mobile phone health risks: the case for action to protect children
“Is WiFi Safe in Schools?”, Boston Parent, August 2015
EMF Scientists Appeal to United Nations, May 11, 2015
(watch video of spokesperson Martin Blank, PhD of Columbia University)