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06 September 2017

Massachusetts: Wi-Fi Sensitivity Bill Has Statehouse Hearing

Wi-Fi sensitivity bill has Statehouse hearing
by Alison Bosmametrowestdailynews.com, 5 September 2017

BOSTON - Rep. Carolyn Dykema, D-Holliston, presented a bill on Wi-Fi sensitivity in schools at a joint hearing at the Statehouse Tuesday.

“Today was really an opportunity to be heard,” Dykema said, after Tuesday’s hearing.

The bill, H.2030, is one of five before the Legislature this session addressing constituent concerns that the internet signals coming from wireless devices can make people ill.

Three House representatives and one senator are named as petitioners on the bill, which directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop best practices and guidelines for purchasing and installing wireless internet in schools. The bill touches on the “health and safety of public school students and staff.”

“I filed it because I did have this constituent who came to me with these concerns and she had done quite a lot of research,” Dykema said. “Certainly it deserves a hearing, it deserves discussion.”

Three of the legislators backing the bill represent MetroWest towns - Dykema, Rep. Jack Lewis, D-Framingham, and Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury. Rep. Angelo Puppolo, Jr., is the fourth legislator petitioning for the bill. He represents the 12 Hampden district.

Ashland resident Cecelia Doucette said she attended Tuesday’s hearing and was impressed by the testimony given by eight or nine citizens.

“There were a lot of people who came out, because this issue is really important to a lot of different folks,” she said. “I think it’s becoming very clear that wireless exposure to children is biologically hazardous.”

Wi-Fi sensitivity is a controversial topic that gained local attention when a student at Southborough’s Fay School was diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome in 2015. His parents sued the school, accusing administration of failing to accommodate their son. Though the World Health Organization recognizes the sensitivity, it is not a widely recognized condition in the United States.

The bill is before the joint committee on education. Dykema said there isn’t currently a timeframe on next steps for the bill, but pointed to “an active group of folks out there who are paying a lot of attention to this issue.”

Wi-Fi sensitivity bills before state legislature

H.2030: Directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create best practices and guidance for the purchase and installation of wireless internet devices in public schools, with a mind to the health and safety of students and staff.

S.1268: Creates a special commission to study the health impacts of electromagnetic fields.

S.1864: Directs utility companies to give customers the option to use a non-transmitting electromechanical analog meter to measure utility usage (rather than a wireless one), and to inform customers when a meter is being placed.

S.107: Makes language on wireless devices warning users of the negative impacts of exposure more obvious.

S.108: Makes the following message clear wherever cell phone are available: “To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pocket or the phone is otherwise in contact with your body when the phone is on and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

Alison Bosma can be reached at 508-626-3957 orabosma@wickedlocal.com. Find her on Twitter at@AlisonBosma.


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