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Readin’, Ritin’, Radiation

WiFi in school classrooms is the wave of the future, but critics warn that daylong exposure may not be the healthiest choice for our children

by Michael Bielawski on May 22, 2014 · 43 comments


Last Dec. 10, the Troy City School District Board of Education approved an $8.4 million technology initiative that includes installing wireless Internet in 250 classrooms. The move echoed a $10 million initiative at Shenendehowa School District in 2012. With the new Common Core State Standards Initiative being implemented in at least 35 states (including New York) this year, it could be inevitable that all schools, including those here in the Capital Region, will eventually implement Wi-Fi.

An excerpt from a districtadministration.com story on Common Core technology standards by Andrew Hermeling reads, “To meet these minimum requirements [of Common Core], district leaders are going to have to assess their bandwidth capabilities, their operating systems, the speed and number of machines required for testing, the quality and coverage of their wireless network, and both student and faculty familiarity with software and the digital testing environment.”

And it does seem like New York state is moving forward with the Wi-Fi in public schools. Here is an excerpt from a Power Point presentation at the April 8 Stillwater Board of Education meeting regarding Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Smart Schools bond referendum.

“The state will hold a public vote in November for permission to borrow $2 billion for school technology infrastructure, broadband or wireless connectivity, pre-kindergarten instructional space, and/or replacement of classroom trailers. Stillwater would receive approximately $856,000 from the bond. To receive these funds, the district would have to develop a detailed improvement plan and then put the proposal up for a local vote.”

Stillwater School District, which has been using Wi-Fi for years now, is getting new I-pads and/or Chromebooks (which require Wi-Fi for any online use). In March, Stillwater technology director Christopher Lynch spoke with The Express Newspaper of Mechanicville about the benefits of the technology in the classroom.

“Being able to capture text, music and pictures, the student becomes an authentic published visionary and creator of work. Moving stories inspire a deeper thought, and commitment to the work at hand. For example one minute of published movie a student may have over ten hours or more invested in research, creative thought, planning, and design. For many students this time invested is completely internally motivated.”

For the Stillwater board, Lynch demonstrated “augmented reality” by moving an I-pad screen around like a “virtual window” to examine a 3D model of the Mars rover Curiosity from different angles. It was a unique demonstration that must be seen to be appreciated, and it clearly requires Wi-Fi to work efficiently.

The push to embrace technology and implement Wi-Fi throughout our schools has gained such momentum that districts resisting the rush, such as the Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District, are barely noticed.

And that, according UAlbany Professor David Carpenter, director of the university’s Institute for Health and the Environment, is cause for concern.

“I’ve been sort of a spokesperson for this issue [of Wi-Fi health implications],” Carpenter says. “I can’t seem to escape it. I testified to the President’s [Obama’s] cancer panel three years ago, and I testified to the House of Representatives.” The professor also is outspoken on the subjects of fracking, electromagnetic fields from appliances and waste sites, wind turbines, and other environmental health topics.

He’s been studying radiation effects on children since the 1980s. “We confirmed the previous observations that children who live in homes that are very close to power lines are more likely to have leukemia,” he says. “There are now appearing studies of leukemia around cell phone towers and around radio transmission towers.”

Carpenter thinks that cell phone and Wi-Fi radiation are similar. “The exposure that you get from using Wi-Fi is exactly the same. I have Wi-Fi in my home; it’s not like I am vehemently opposed to Wi-Fi in all circumstances. But the issue with schools is that in an electronic computer room in a school where every kid has a wireless laptop, you are going to have a hotbed of radio frequency radiation. Every child in that room is going to get radio frequency radiation that at some level probably will be approaching that which they would get if they were on a cell phone.”

He does not think that tablets or Chromebooks are a good idea for Stillwater’s classrooms. “If they are going to be spending this kind of money on tablets, and five years from now it becomes very clear that there is a danger to the health of people using tablets instead of wired laptops, then they are going to have to spend all that money all over again.”

Carpenter believes that school administrators are in the dark on this topic. “They want to be contemporary with technology, and I don’t disagree with that at all,” he says. “I think it’s just not responsible for school administrators to implement a program that may put students at risk both of developing diseases like cancer and impairing their ability to learn, when there are alternatives [namely wired Internet] that don’t do that.”

Ray Pealer, a community health advocate living in Vermont who runs wifiiinschools.com, notes that while Wi-Fi advocates reference that school Wi-Fi routers function within FCC (Federal Communications Commission) safety standards, he thinks that those standards are inadequate. “They do not recognize any biological effects other than heat, despite thousands of peer-reviewed studies showing a myriad of other effects,” he says.

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has criticized the FCC on what he sees as a revolving door between the industry and regulators. For example, the current FCC head, Tom Wheeler, is a former cell-phone industry lobbyist.

In 2012, Kucinich endorsed a bill requiring cell phones to have warnings similar to those on cigarette packs. “It’s not going to be easy to make the legislative process work in this case because of the enormous financial resources the industry has at its disposal,” he said in September 2012.

Radiation studies go back to at least 1932, when “microwave or radio sickness” was reported by the British NAVY as fatigue, insomnia, headaches, high susceptibility to infection and general anxiety. Carpenter adds that these concerns are amplified for kids. “There are reports of reduced ability for kids to learn, there appear to be some people that are particularly sensitive to radiation and respond by having headaches, fatigue, ringing in their ears.”

The World Health Organization has been studying the radiation effects on children since 2009; however it has no official recommended safety level for any age group. Pealer adds, “There is evidence, it’s growing that if you are younger then the risk is even greater than if you are older. That is a concern because these days every kid has a cell phone.”

Pealer references a Yale School of Medicine study indicating that wireless exposure causes ADD (attention deficit disorder) in mice. According to YaleNews, “Their conclusion was that exposure to radiation from cell phones during pregnancy effects the brain development of offspring, potentially leading to hyperactivity.” Another 2008 study at the University of California-Los Angeles, titled “Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure,” linked cell phone exposure with hyperactivity.

Not every study draws the conclusion that wireless is potentially dangerous to humans, including a recently released study in New Zealand indicating that Wi-Fi exposure to children is relatively harmless.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization officially classifies Wi-Fi radiation as a “possible carcinogen.” Carpenter explains that means Wi-Fi gets a three on a one-to-five scale. “Known is the strongest, then probable, then possible, then not, and finally unclassifiable.” Other IARC possible carcinogens include asbestos, lead, paint, and DDT.

“It means that the evidence is suggestive but not absolutely definitive,” says Carpenter. “There is evidence that people exposed to high radio frequency fields are more likely to develop cancer. But they can’t quite say that the cancer was caused by those fields because that evidence is still being looked at. And that evidence is primarily from studying cell phones.”

The professor further compares cell phone studies to Wi-Fi. “The difference is that most people don’t stay on a cell phone more than 10 minutes, maybe. Sitting in a classroom, you can be there all day. What we are concerned about is both the intensity and the duration.” He notes that school Wi-Fi routers are advertised as “industrial strength,” stronger than home routers because they service more computers.

A report in 1971 by the U.S. Naval Medical Research Institute, obtained through the Freedom of Information Law, suggests that the wireless industry may be withholding information about potential danger. An excerpt reads, “If the more advanced nations of the West are strict in enforcement of stringent exposure standards, there could be unfavorable effects an industrial output and military functions.” The NMRI documented more than 2,300 research articles citing more than 120 illnesses associated with non-ionizing (non-heating) microwave radiation.

Carpenter says that the most practical solution is to use cables. “No one is going to deny that kids should be using technology and the Internet. A wired computer lab gives you no exposure whatsoever to radio frequency radiation. From my judgment, there is just no reason to go to a wireless school computer lab.”

Pealer says that we can use hands-free devices for our cell phones, and use line phones instead of DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) cordless phones, which emit radiation even when not in use. He also recommends that people who are regularly exposed to these technologies take supplements such as vitamin C, ginseng and antioxidants to counter radiation effects.

More government regulation might be a hard sell in the United States, but some European nations have taken steps to ban or limit cell phone use among children, and the Council of Europe has recommended that Wi-Fi be banned from all schools in Europe. San Francisco is considering putting warning labels (like those proposed by Kucinich) on cell phones.

Carpenter warns against becoming too paranoid. “I think that one has to have some perspective, as one cannot avoid all the different things that could be dangerous. If you can do things that decrease your exposure that are not expensive, that are not terribly difficult, even if the evidence for how dangerous it is still somewhat debatable. It’s still stupid not to do that.”

Pealer counters that some of us aren’t paranoid enough. “A lot of people, when they hear the term ‘research,’ they disqualify themselves. Also because wireless technology is so popular, people are so addicted to it, that they don’t really want to look at the issue.”

“My public responsibility is to protect people from getting sick even if we don’t have all of the answers of what the mechanism is,” concludes Carpenter, “In this situation, I think it is extremely unsafe to go to Wi-Fi in schools. Of all places, schools should be the last.”




Corey May 23, 2014 at 9:37 am

Neither cell phone emissions, not Wifi emissions have been linked to any health issues.

david May 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

No Health Issues??

only 20,000 to date and many are classified by the military who uses the same frequency i microwave weapons. more information: http://www.wirelesswatchblog.org

Corey May 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm

20,000?!?!?! Surely there must be a peer reviewed study you can post!

david May 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm

DEFINITIVE: Group of Ukrainian Scientists Assesses Available Studies on ROS Mobile Phone Radiation Leads to Oxidation in Cells April 14, 2014


ELF alternating magnetic field decreases reproduction by DNA damage induction. Panagopoulos DJ, Karabarbounis A, Lioliousis C. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013 Nov.


Ultrasound Causes Brain Damage in Fetuses / Study: Waking Times 10/11/13

CARBONYL IRON AND ORANGE COUNTY-THE AUTISM CAPITAL OF THE STATE Ferritin and iron levels in children with autistic disorder Carbonyl Iron Powder (CIP) Radar and microwave absorbing materials – See more at: http://thefullertoninformer.com/carbonyl-iron-and-orange-county-the-autism-capital-of-the-state/ Joe Imbriano

Case-control study of the association between malignant brain tumours diagnosed between 2007 and 2009 and mobile and cordless phone use Authors: Lennart Hardell, Michael Carlberg, Fredrik Söderqvist, Kjell Hansson Published online on: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Electromagnetic fields act via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels to produce beneficial or adverse effects Martin L. Pall * Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences, Washington State University, Portland, OR, USA Received: January 8, 2013; Accepted: May 20, 2013

DIRECTED ENERGY WEAPONS SYSTEMS Weapon Systems Technology Information Analysis Center Fall 2003



16 Page Summary of the 2012 Bioiniative Report

Declassified information on the Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons United States Army Intelligence and Security Command - Freedom of Information/ Privacy Office December 2006

Dirty Electricity Elevates Blood Sugar Among Electrically Sensitive Diabetics and May Explain Brittle Diabetes Magda Havas June, 2008

Quote: 0.95 and 2.45 GHz most Lethal Microwave Frequencies. (Cell Phone & Wi Fi Frequencies)

Electropathic Stress in Animals and Man (Excellent)! Comprehensive Collection of Data–Donald Hillman 2010

“Bibliography (Prior to 1971) of Reported Biological Phenomena (‘Effects’) and Clinical Manifestations attributed to Microwave and Radio-Frequency Radiation.” Research Report (Project MF12.524.05-0004B, Report No. 2) commissioned by the Naval Medical Research Institute, and was authored by Zorach (“Zory”) R. Glaser, Ph.D., LT, MSC, USNR. Zory Glaser / Magda Havas

ICEMS Position Paper on the Cerebral Tumor Court Case: The “Inside Story” of the Italian Brain Tumor Case November 14, 2012

Microstructure Abnormalities in Adolescents with Internet Addiction Disorder Beijing: Kai Yuan1, Wei Qin1, Guihong Wang1,2, Fang Zeng3, Liyan Zhao4, Xuejuan Yang1, Peng Liu1, Jixin Liu1, Jinbo Sun1, Karen M. von Deneen1, Qiyong Gong5, Yijun Liu6*, Jie Tian1,7*

THE CELL PHONE AND THE CELL: The Role of Calcium in Brain Development & Function Dr. Andrew Goldsworthy, 2011

Study: Direct Link to 4,924 Cancer Deaths From Cellular Antennas Radiation. May 17, 2011

Doctors Information Package & Large List of Scientific Studies (XLNT) October 2012

Scientists Confirm that Plants Talk and Listen To Each Other, Communication Crucial for Survival Medical Daily, June 2012

Reactive Oxygen Species Formation and Apoptosis in Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Induced by 900 MHz Mobile Phone Radiation Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity Volume 2012, Article ID 740280, 8 pages doi:10.1155/2012/740280

Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields From Laptop Use of “Laptop” Computers C. V. Bellieni, MD, et al., Feb. 2012;

Annex: ‘Non thermal effects and mechanisms of interaction between EMF and living matter: a selected Summary’ ICEMS, eds. Guiliani, L. & Soffritti, M.: Ramazzini Institute, European J of Oncology, Library, Vol. 5, 2010. (A selected summary, supplemented by information from the ‘Late Lessons From Early Warnings’ EEA project, David Gee, EEA, Feb 18 2011)

Scientific Basis for the Soviet and Russian Radiofrequency Standards for the General Public Michael Repacholi,1* YuriGrigoriev,2 Jochen Buschmann,3 and Claudio Pioli4

Bernstein Liebhard LLP Reports On Study That Finds More Cell Phone Radiation Side Effects

Report on State Dept. Cover-Up of Results of U.S. Russian Embassy RF Exposure by Prof. John R. Goldsmith, M.D., M.P.H.

Early Research on the Biological Effects of Microwave Radiation 1940-1960. Annals of Science

POWERWATCH Science Update March 2012 – New Studies

EMF Fertility Citations 2011 No Abstracts

EMF Fertility Citations 2011 With Abstracts

The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields Problems and solutions Andrew Goldsworthy March 2012

Fetal Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure From 800-1900 Mhz-Rated Cellular Telephones Affects Neurodevelopment and Behavior in Mice Tamir S. Dadid, et al. March 17, 2012

HUMAN ENGINEERING AND CLIMATE CHANGE Professor Matthew Liao – March 2012

Cell Phone Report Calls for More Responsible Management to Protect Children and Pregnant Women Yale University, Feb. 1 2012



Alan Frey: Human auditory system response to Modulated electromagnetic energy

The Potential Impact of Mobile Phone Use on Trends in Brain and CNS Tumors Örjan Hallberg and L. Lloyd Morgan (Dec. 24, 2011)

Avendano Wi-Fi Decreases sperm motility & increase DNA fragments 11-23-11– 25% Sperm Dead / 9% DNA Damage After 4 Hours RF Exposure From Wi Fi

Declassified Military Document on Bio Effects of EMF (2006)

J. Guterman et al: Wrapped Microstrip Antennas for Laptop Computers August, 2009. Includes Illustration on Front of This Web Page. –

New Study From Russia: SERIOUS COGNITIVE DECLINE IN CHILDREN WHO USE CELL PHONES Dr. Yury Grigoriev, Russian Committee for Protection of Non Ionizing Radiation Nov. 2011

Children and adults exposed to electromagnetic fields at the ICNIRP reference levels: theoretical assessment of the induced peak temperature increase Physics in Medicine and Biology Volume 56 < Number 15 J F Bakker et al 2011

Oxidative stress, melatonin level, and sleep insufficiency among electronic equipment repairers
Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

News: Radiation fears prompt possible restrictions on wi-fi and mobile phone use in schools (Rory Watson 2011)

Prenatal Exposure to Weak Magnetic Fields Leads to Childhood Asthma (August 2011) Kaiser Permanente


Effects of Wi-Fi Signals on the p300 Component of Event-Related Potentials During an Auditory Hayling Task

Wi Fi Alters Brain Activity; New Study, July 2011


The Seletun Conference 2010 (Includes Info. About Wi Fi in Schools)

Electrical Fields are Integral to The Living Brain

139 Papers on Health Effects of Cell Phones

Apr. 2011: Rome Conference – Mobile Telephony, Wi-Fi and Wi-Max: — health risks?

EMF and the The Mast Cell Response: learning from Olle Johansson

Carcinogenecity of RF Fields: Lancet, June 2011

Conspicuous Behavioural Abnormalities in a Dairy Cow Herd Near a TV and Radio Transmitting Antenna W. Löscher and G. Käs (Authors) 1998

Corey May 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Something tells me you didn’t even read any of the sources you linked to. At least 3 of them state there was no experimental data to conclude adverse effects.

david May 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

corey, you must be kidding ……..

Corey May 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

No, I am not. You should try reading the sources through, instead of copy/pasta a whole page.

david May 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm

i have read all the studies. i seriously doubt that you read them and if you did and came up with only 3 that were inconclusive then you are looking for a needle in a haystack if you think that somehow denotes safety. it is now considered irrefutable that cell phones cause cancer. those that sow doubt are from industry and those that are in cognitive dissonance. I post peer reviewed studies as you requested and you somehow don’t acknowledge that. black is white and white is black.

Ray May 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Actually all long-term case control studies, even those funded by the industry, have found an increased risk of brain tumors. The highest quality, independently funded studies, by the Hardell team of Sweden find a doubling-tripling of cancer risk after 10 years for adults, and a 500% increased risk for those under the age of 19.

There is a ton of science, we’re just not informed of it.

Corey May 25, 2014 at 10:56 pm

All long term case control studies? Surely, you must be able to link to some of them here.

Jay May 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm

There is probably a reason no references are given for this article.

Michael Bielawski May 25, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Because the references are in the article.

Carl May 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

The world renowned Dr. David Carpenter, director of the UANY’s Institute for Health and the Environment declares that wi-fi in schools is an “extremely unsafe”. Sir William Stewart, former head of the UK’s health protection agency declared on BBC TV in 2007 that Wi-Fi was a health risk to students based on research he had commissioned. Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, declared that Wi-Fi is an invisible toxin and can adversely affect the heart’s regular rhythm with potential dire consequences. Dr. Henry Lai, Dr. Leif Salford, Dr. George Carlo, Professor Olle Johannson – either a world class doctor, researcher or scientist have confirmed that cell phone radiation causes double strand breaks in DNA which are associated with cancer. Swiss telecom giant Swisscom filed a patent in 2004 for a device that mitigates radiation from the wi-fi beacon signal citing studies that demonstrate damage to DNA.

Congratulations to Michael Bielawski who has written a thoughtful well researched article on the risks of Wi-Fi. Indeed, school district officials are flying blind rolling out a technology they do not understand from a technical standpoint and risk standpoint.

There have already been successful lawsuits for damage from cell phones and cell towers/transmitters. It’s just a matter of time before wi-fi lawsuits in Israel and the U.S. are successful. This alone should cause school districts to think twice before rolling out wi-fi – which along with cell phones, was never tested for safety before being rolled out.

Leo May 24, 2014 at 1:29 am

“A number of studies have investigated the effects of radiofrequency fields on brain electrical activity, cognitive function, sleep, heart rate and blood pressure in volunteers. To date, research does not suggest any consistent evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating.”
-World Health Organization, Fact Sheet #193

Ray May 25, 2014 at 6:15 am

@Leo, that statement from the WHO was made in 2006 when the EMF program was headed by an individual who consistently sided with, and ultimately went to work for the industry.

Those who investigate this issue in any depth immediately recognize that their are thousands upon thousands of peer reviewed studies that report adverse effects at much lower levels than heating.

Here are examples of cell tower studies:

2011 Brazil: Increased risk of mortality due to malignant tumors for those living nearby.
2004 Germany: 3x the risk of cancer after 5 years of exposure to a nearby cell tower.
2006 Germany: Headaches, tumors, loss of appetite, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating.
2004. Austria: Fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, exhaustion, difficulty concentrating.
Spain 2002. Increased irritability, depressive tendencies, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, dizziness, sleep disruption, skin rashes and other problems.

These are just a handful of many studies conducted all over the world that consistently report adverse health effects from wireless radiation.

Now, here’s the key point: WiFi emits the same kind of microwave radiation, and at even higher levels. These children are being exposed to very high levels, day in and day out, without their or their parent’s knowledge of the facts.

Leo May 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm

The fact sheet was from June 2011, not 2006: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/

But hey, good job not bothering with basic accuracy in your unsubstantiated allegations.

david May 26, 2014 at 1:08 am

There can be “no consistent” evidence as no two people are alike. That catch phrase is one of many used to sew doubt in the minds of those looking for a feel good answer so they may return to denial or cognitive dissonance. The W.H.O. is awash in industry money and has been found to act in behalf of the pharmaceutical industry and the nuclear industry. With the latter they lied about the effects of Chernobyl. Look to independently funded studies that show harm in 65% of results where industry funded studies show the reverse.

Mirek May 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Very concerned.
Thank you for being at the forefront of this issue David.
I did not yet fully read your list of sources/links. Hoping you are aware of a documentary about possible wide-spread dangers of wifi use/abuse.

It’s called Resonance, Beings of Frequency http://youtu.be/oS6FGzh3ygw

“In the mid eighties fewer than 3% of all people in most of the countries were using cell phones, but if you fast forward to today almost 100% of the people are using cell phones.
By the time they’re 19 or 20 years old, our children will have used the phone for 10 years, and we have no idea what type of risk that’s carrying. Now we live an an ocean of electromagnetic radiation.
It’s all around us now, invisible, but we know it’s there. Every time you lift up your mobile phone you know it’s there. It is very hard to turn the clock back, in fact it is impossible, but we need to be aware of the adverse health effects so that we can have the choice of taking precautions against the exposures.
How we could have possibly thought that putting microwaves to our brain was safe. We just don’t fully understand what we’re doing.”


Ps. Are there any good radiation diffusing devices you would recommend for indoor use?

david May 28, 2014 at 12:37 pm

i don’t think any of those devices work. you can get stetzer filters that do work in lowering the “dirty electricity” from the house wiring. otherwise you have to use carbon paint and window covering material for your windows. check out lessemf.com

mirek May 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

thanks David,
I checked the distance from my home to the nearest Cell tower and it’s around 1400 feet… I know that when living 600 meters (1969feet) from cell tower cancer mortality goes up based on study from Brazil…

Also, my 11 year old daughter has the following; Frequent nose-bleeds, strong headaches, and trouble falling asleep…

Thanks again for amazing research on this and I still can’t believe it’s coming from my hometown Albany! :)


Corey May 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Lead blocks. They block alpha, beta, and gamma emmissions. 1ft thick to cover all three.

Then, line the room with mutliple layers of wire mesh, each mesh at varying sizes, and all layers insulated (Electrically) from each other.

This will block out all radiation, ionizing and non-ionizing.

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