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October 21, 2014

Featured here is a letter to the editor. The views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the ATA. Letters to the ATA News are welcome; please send them to Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Teghtmeyer: Letters may be edited for length and content.

Wi-Fi health risk? CTF says “teachers rightly concerned”

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) has raised important questions about wireless networks and devices in schools, warning that “teachers and school communities have not been informed regarding the implementation of Wi-Fi and any inherent potential hazards.” They note that “teachers are rightly concerned for their personal safety and the safety of the children in their care.”

Due to an oversight, teachers were never informed that the World Health Organization reclassified wireless frequencies as a Class 2B carcinogen in the same category as lead and DDT, which is why a Los Angeles teachers’ union passed a right-to-know resolution calling for teachers to be informed when their workplace hazards have changed.

The CTF advises a prudent approach to the use of Wi-Fi in schools given the newness of broad Wi-Fi coverage and the difficulty in controlling variables in research around its use. The Federation is calling for measures to reduce exposure, such as installing on/off switches, and appealing for resources to educate the public. The ATA has a responsibility to act now to protect teachers, students and their futures.

Teachers can learn about how to reduce their exposure by visiting the website of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST), who are pushing for needed change.

– Marcey Kliparchuk, Edmonton


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