Board of health sending letter to school board questioning installing of Wi-Fi in local public schools
By KENNEDY GORDON Examiner Staff Writer
Updated 1 day ago
“It seems like a no-brainer to me.”
The meeting was held at the Peterborough County-City Health Unit.
Kathy McDermid of the initiative gave a short presentation outlining her group’s concerns that the radiation from wireless Internet can have health effects, particularly on children exposed to it over the course of a school year.
“This is the equivalent of placing a cell tower in each and every schoolyard,” she said.
Several other members of the group were in the audience.
The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board has been phasing in wireless Internet networks in all its schools, replacing the older hard-wired connections.
While no link has been proven, the concerns are enough to call for a moratorium until all the facts are in, McDermid said, explaining that the World Health Organization has classified the radiation from cell phones and wireless Internet a Class 4b, meaning it may be a potential carcinogen but has not been studied enough.
She asked the board to request that the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board used wired Internet until Wi-Fi is declared Class 4, or safe, acknowledging the health board doesn’t really have a say.
“I think policy set out by this board could be a strong guiding force,” she said.
McDermid told the health board schools want to see more children using laptops, netbooks and even their own tablets and smartphones, making the need for Wi-Fi more important.
“I think this community is very interested in where this is going,” said health board chairman Andy Sharpe, deputy mayor of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen.
NOTE: The Peterborough County-City board of health gave its thanks to Dr. Dick Ito, the health unit’s dental consultant, for his work on the Healthy Smiles program over the past five years. He was presented with a framed print … Health unit administrative assistant Wendy Freeburn gave board members a presentation on A Day In The Life of the health unit’s busy secretaries … board members will experiment with electronic agendas on laptops in the weeks to come, slowly replacing paper agendas.