Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

18 May 2013

Former Microsoft Canada Head Joins Fight to Protect Schoolchildren from Wi-Fi


Frank Clegg
Here is my answer to Robyn Urback, author of the National Post comment on former Microsoft Canada Frank Clegg’s recent talk to parents and teachers in Mississauga, Ontario, about the dangers of wireless internet in schools:

Dear Ms. Urback,
What you have written is misleading and biased. Please look at the independent, non-industry funded, research which points to biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic (EM) radiation such as that emitted by Wi-Fi. The person in charge of the EM fields project at WHO, Michael Repacholi, was receiving tens of thousands of dollars a year from the telecoms industry, so of course, WHO would play down the health effects of wireless technology. Responsible journalists such as yourself should do your homework and report both sides of the issue. Instead, by implying this technology is safe, you are encouraging the continuation of a developing health disaster which could be as serious as - or moreso than - that of smoking and asbestos.

Furthermore, the comment disparages Frank Clegg, a person who is selflessly devoting himself to raising awareness of the health issues of wireless technology. The issue of Wi-Fi in schools is particularly important because children, whose bodies are still developing, are more vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation.


Here is Ms. Urback's comment:

Robyn Urback: Former Microsoft Canada head joins bizarre fight to protect schoolchildren from Wi-Fi
by Robyn Urback, National Post, 13 May 2013

Concerned parents touting brochures about the dangers of wireless routers found an ally last week in former Microsoft Canada president Frank Clegg. Clegg, who worked at Microsoft for 14 years before leaving to launch Citizens 4 Safe Technology (C4ST), spoke to parents and teachers in Mississauga on May 9 about the dangers of wireless internet in schools.

“There are already children who can’t go to school because of headaches, nausea and heart problems from the wireless systems,” said Clegg in a statement released prior to the event. “Some of these kids have a doctor’s note to prove it. This is a real hazard and we shouldn’t wait for the government to catch up to the technology. We should exercise caution, especially with children.”

Now, the claim that Wi-Fi makes children ill is certainly not new — what with similar allegations touted recently by Simcoe County and York Region parents — but this declaration is markedly different, if for no other reason than the fact that Clegg now has notes from doctors. Well, then.

Another poignant difference, of course, is that instead of parents and the odd teachers’ union speaking out against WiFi, Clegg boasts a resume of impressive technological experience. Though Microsoft is, technically, a software company, is it no stretch to assume that the man occupying the top chair would have some sort of nuanced understanding of wireless networks.

Then again, a terrible chef can operate a fantastic restaurant, without so much kitchen knowledge as how to boil an egg. And on that note, I probably wouldn’t ask Clegg to whip me up a soufflé.

The Citizens 4 Safe Technology website hosts a plethora of hand-wringing information on the topic, including confirmation from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine that doctors are treating patients who have fallen ill from WiFi exposure. The C4ST “Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Fact Sheet” claims that there is no proof that EMR is safe, and seems to equate the signals emitted from cellphones with those coming from wireless routers.

But the emission levels from cellphones and wireless routers are, indeed, quite different. Countless studies, including this one from the Health Protection Agency, have found that the specific energy absorption rate, or SAR, coming from wireless devices is a fraction of that measured from typical cell phones — about one per cent. Thus, an individual stuck in a Wi-Fi hotspot for a year would absorb less radiation than from a 20-minute cell phone call. So, as long as we’re trying to pull Wi-Fi out of schools, we might as well slap an age limit on iPhones and restrict cell phone use in school zones, to go along with speed limits.

Clegg will undoubtedly have no problem filling seats at future public meetings, especially touting a resume with such implied venerability

Even considered on its own, Wi-Fi energy emission levels, time and time again, have been scientifically proven to be safe. Health Canada confirms that there is “no convincing scientific evidence that “exposure to low-level radiofrequency (RF) energy from Wi-Fi causes adverse health effects in humans,” maintaining that radiofrequency energy levels from Wi-Fi devices are way below exposure limits. These limits were established based on the results of hundreds of studies, spread out over several decades of research. Governing bodies across the world have, too, confirmed Wi-Fi exposure levels to be generally benign.

That’s not to suggest, however, that reports of sick children are somehow embellished or inflated. The symptoms of Electrical Hypersensitivity (EHS)—the name given to a collection of symptoms often attributed to electromagnetic field sources (EMF)—can, indeed, be very real, but there is no scientific basis for linking it to EMF exposure, according to the World Health Organization. Numerous studies wherein human subjects (including those with EHS) were exposed to electromagnetic frequencies have found subjects’ symptoms improperly correlated with their exposure. People may be feeling sick, in other words, but there’s no scientific proof to suggest that EMF is necessarily the cause.

Nevertheless, Clegg will undoubtedly have no problem filling seats at future public meetings, especially touting a resume with such implied venerability. Though the science overwhelmingly supports the notion that Wi-Fi in schools is perfectly safe, there will always be an audience for irreverent counter claims. In those cases, it’s best to remember the head of the pack is not always the one in the kitchen.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/05/16/robyn-urback-former-microsoft-canada-head-joins-bizarre-fight-to-protect-schoolchildren-from-wi-fi/ 

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