Going Back to School Can Be Risky Business

Aug 23, 2010

83115964Be aware of invisible—but all too pervasive—hazards in your child’s classroom.

Three young students at Bayville Elementary School in New York recently died of leukemia. And as many as “30% of the teachers, administrative staff, and employees have been diagnosed with some type of illness,” including cancer and leukemia, which may result from cell phone antennas located on a nearby water tower, according to attorney Andrew Campanelli.

“My son went through 102 weeks of chemotherapy,” says the mother of one child whose leukemia has been in remission for two years. “It kills me every day when I drop [my children] off or send them on the bus to go to that school,” says another mother whose request to transfer her kids to another school district was denied.

Research as far back as 1979 links exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from power lines with leukemia and brain tumors in children. Since then, according to the BioInitiative Report, www.bioinitiative.org/, 100s of studies suggest that EMFs may cause a variety of problems. These may include allergic and inflammatory responses, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease), breast cancer, birth defects, cardiovascular problems, childhood leukemia, depression, diabetes, fatigue, headaches, immune system problems, infertility, learning problems, and miscarriage.

David Carpenter, MD, dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York, believes that up to 30% of childhood cancers can be linked to EMF exposure. In several studies, children’s risk was elevated from magnetic fields 1,000 times lower than the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s existing safe exposure limit.

Research in the July 15 issue of the journal Neuron “raises many questions about the possible effects of electrical fields, such as power lines and cell phones, in which we immerse ourselves,” says David McCormick, PhD, Dorys McConnell Duberg professor of Neuroscience at Yale School of Medicine.

“Children may be more sensitive than adults, and dirty electricity in schools may be interfering with education and possibly contributing to disruptive behavior associated with attention deficit disorder,” explains Larry Gust, an indoor environmental mitigation expert. “With rapid advances in electromagnetic field (EMF) technologies and communications, children are increasingly exposed to EMFs at earlier and earlier ages,” warn scientists at UCLA’s School of Public Health in the journal Pediatrics.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

Cell phone towers perched on school rooftops and dirty electricity in classrooms aren’t exactly parents’ top focus when they’re doing back-to-school planning and shopping with their kids. Unfortunately, though, risks from EMFs are all too real today.

School administrators are compelled to use the latest technology in schools. And leasing school buildings and playing field light poles to cell phone companies is an all-too-easy and lucrative source of revenue to help reduce school funding gaps.

To gauge the specific risks where you live, go to the BrAG Antenna ranking of Schools report, www.magdahavas.com, and find the section that shows you how to grade any school or public building in your location.

Parent Power
It’s not easy—especially now that schools and even cities consider Wi-Fi de rigueur—to go back to wired technology, but concerned parents can work together to make a difference! In one Chicago suburb, parents—using Swedish research showing neurological damage in animals—sued the Oak Park School District, claiming that constant exposure to 802.11 Hz could possibly harm their children.

In 2008 Oregon’s West Lin-Wilsonville School Board voted to ban commercial microwave cell tower sites on and adjacent to school property—and is allowing its one existing cell tower contract to expire. The town of Bar Harbor, Maine, has a 1,500-foot (0.284 mile) setback from daycare centers and schools for cell towers in its communications ordinance. In the U.K., consumer, parent, and teacher organizations have all called for suspending Wi-Fi in schools.

Safe Back-to-School Tools
EMF research in schools by Magda Havas, PhD, professor of environmental studies at Trent University in Canada, shows that filters can significantly improve the health of both children and adults. The Graham-Stetzer Filters, used in Dr. Havas’ research and designed by Dr. Martin Graham (professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s Electronics Research Lab, have measurably reduced dirty electricity in several school districts.

For EMF detection equipment that I’ve personally found useful, go to www.annlouise.com/65/emf-product-guide/ and for more information on remediating EMFs in schools and homes, visit www.buildingbiology.net.


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  1. Bernadette

    I can’t believe anyone would keep sending kids to a school that was a known health hazard. I’m not a big fan of home schooling, but there is a good reason for it sometimes and this is certainly one of them.

  2. man hair loss

    this is sort of sad… I know that this kinds of things is well, pretty hard for the kids, but I don’t think that school issues after health issues can put down their spirits…


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