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Experts warn schools over potentially hazardous Wi-Fi microwaves
Malta Created: 18 Oct 2012
Are multiple routers inside schools blanketing children with microwave radiation? Some experts at a University of Malta conference on electromagnetic radiation believe so, and have called for a drastic reduction in exposure.

Governments worldwide may be ignoring research that proves a correlation between Wi-Fi microwave radiation and poor health, in order to safeguard the interests of industrial giants, physicist Magda Havas (pictured) told a conference in Malta of experts that presented findings on the effects of electromagnetic fields from mobile phones and antennae, and Wi-Fi boxes.

Havas, from Trent University (Ontario, Canada), said that despite several studies clearly showing harmful effects resulting from Wi-Fi radiation, governments worldwide continue to insist on placing Wi-Fi routers in schools and public spaces.

"We don't believe in putting antennas near our schools, so why are we so willing to put antennas inside schools? That's right. Wi-Fi routers are microwave antennas," Havas said.

The World Health Organisation has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as being possibly carcinogenic to humans, according to studies on rats on the use of wireless phones and the effects of mobile phone antennae.

Havas, adamant that Wi-Fi radiation is a possible human carcinogen, compared the wireless internt routers to microwave ovens.

"While Wi-Fi routers use a much lower intensity of radiation, the radiation of routers is not contained and consists of pulsed waves which are constantly ongoing, unlike a microwave oven which is contained and temporary.

"Students are exposed to microwave radiation for 1,200 hours a year, 12,000 hours after 10 years. Metal objects on the body, such as braces, are likely to increase radiation exposure near a router," Havas said.

Another paper presented by Professor Norbert Leitgeb of Austria's Graz University, also questioned the risk of mobile phone use among children although he conceded that claims of hazardous radiation are still controversial and require further study.

"The public discussion whether exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields in general and to mobile phone microwaves in particular may be a health risk to children is still controversial. It is governed by emotions and prejudice, and influenced by myths, speculations and misunderstandings," Leitgeb said.

Due to physiologically undeveloped features in children, babies and infants, Leitgeb said differences needed to be studied according to developmental age as the head and thickness of the skull is not the same as adults.

"It is argued that children could be at higher risk because their potential vulnerability and longer lifetime exposure. However, although emotionally, the assumption that children could be more vulnerable than adults to environmental factors is not justified in any case," Leitgeb explained.

Leitgeb said that due to a lack in convincing experimental evidence and only weak evidence from epidemiologic studies, it is up to individual risk perception to decide the role of precaution and management of phone use of children.

"One thing is clear. The general term 'children' is too unspecific to account for the different vulnerabilities during their developmental process, and confuses rather than facilitates the discussion. Recommendations need to specifically address children age groups rather than 'children' in general."

However, Havas explained that since 1939 human exposure to radiation and microwaves has changed from being intermittent, to constant in 2010, since radiation is no longer restricted to military bases and airports. "Today we have transmitters inside our home. In the past, exposure was limited to a few occupations. Today, infants and children are exposed."

Wi-Fi base stations or routers in schools have multiple antennae which emit a beacon signal which is always on. "With multiple routers the entire school is blanketed with microwave radiation. Once the computer disconnects from the Internet, the only remaining radiation is from the router. So, the placement of these routers is critical. They should be well-marked in plain sight, as far away from people as possible."

Radiation waves emitted by cordless phones have also been found to affect the heart according to a paper by Magda Havas and Dr Jeffrey Marrongelle, presented during the conference.

"This was a study to test the effect of radiation from a cordless phone on heart rate variability (HRV) or the number of beats per minute. Although not affecting all participants in the same way, there were some subjects experiencing tachycardia or rapid heart rate," Havas explained.

Interestingly, several students in Canada visited their paediatric cardiologist and wore heart monitors to school to record heart irregularities at Mountainview School, in a study presented by Havas on Wi-Fi radiation emissions.

"A six-year-old girl experienced a 'musical heart', headaches and dizziness only while at school. A 12-year-old boy experience tachycardia. A 12-year-old girl experienced nausea, vomiting, no fever, insomnia, blurred vision and tachycardia only at school. A 13-year-old boy experienced heart pounding, insomnia and headaches but symptoms abated when he moved."

Havas said that while many parents and teachers may be thinking that their children are only inventing excuses not to go to school, these children may only be experiencing these symptoms while at school because of over-exposure to microwaves emitted from antennas or Wi-Fi routers. "I have spoken to a number of children who say they love school, but don't enjoy being there because they feel sick."

Studies with human sperm cells showed that sperm exposed to Wi-Fi radiation near a laptop computer were much slower and had DNA damage.

"Does Wi-Fi affect female egg cells? We don't know. But, if it does, exposure of one generation may have consequences on future generations," Havas said.

Havas said that while wireless internet is highly unlikely to ever be completely removed, cell phone antennae should not be placed near schools and Wi-Fi routers should not be placed inside schools.

"The worst thing to do is to keep Wi-Fi on, all the time. This is a high tech and low intelligence option. A better option is the modified Wi-Fi which means limiting the location and time of use. The best of option is a wired connection, which is both high tech and high intelligence," Havas said.
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Source: Malta Today, Bianca Caruana, 18 Oct 2012

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