Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Press Release: Coalition Formed Concerning Wireless Radiation at Maryland Schools

Coalition Formed Concerning Wireless Radiation at Maryland Schools

Parents state that WiFi networks could pose a health risk to students and staff because of “unsafe" radiation emissions.

PRLog - Feb. 16, 2015 - POTOMAC, Md. -- Local parents, teachers and citizens have formed Safe Tech for Schools Maryland (STSM) to push for "Safe Technology" in schools.  They are raising awareness on the serious health risk that wireless radiation (also known as radio frequency radiation RF-EMF) poses to students and staff. The group advocates for an ethernet based (non-wireless) network that would have zero radiation emissions.

“Children should not be experimented on in school, period.  There are safer , faster, and greener ways to access the internet.  Our conscience and moral compass should be our guide,” stated a parent.

The coalition was founded after a Montgomery County Maryland parent requested a report on the radio frequency radiation levels at her child's school, Bells Mill Elementary.  The radiation levels at the school were high enough to be considered "unsafe" by the Los Angeles School District as well as health advocacy groups who have long argued that FCC guidelines do not protect children.

Safe Tech for Schools Maryland quotes the American Academy of Pediatrics 2013 letter to the FCC calling for stronger radiation guidelines stating that children are “more vulnerable” to wireless radiation and need to be better protected. STSM cites "credible" research showing increased cancer risk, neurological damage and reproductive system damage from low level wireless exposures.

Harvard pediatric neurologist and autism expert Dr. Martha Herbert stated, “EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.” Dr. Erica Mallery-Blythe, emergency room physician of the Physicians' Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment has recommended “ASAP withdraw all RF Emissions” in her November 2014 scientific presentation on children and RF.

The new group is calling on local school districts and the Maryland Department of Education to turn off the wireless routers and install safe wired routers and ethernet connected computer systems in schools.They note that parents are often surprised to learn that industrial strength routers used in schools are far more powerful than home routers because they are accommodating up to 30 devices in a room. The level of radiation is further elevated from each device emitting radiation.

Maryland school districts have previously responded to parents concerns by stating that radiation levels are “within FCC limits”. However, this group counters that  FCC radiation regulations are 18 years old, under current reassessment and “do not protect children”. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) a district with over 500,000 students has set safety thresholds at radiation levels 10,000 times lower than FCC standards because of research showing cellular damage at levels lower than the FCC regulations. The radiation levels measured by MCPS at Bells Mill Elementary school were much higher than limits LAUSD set.

Parents who have been addressing this issue in their local schools for the last few years have now connected across the state of Maryland and are taking various actions. For example, parents recently requested  WiFi radiation readings in neighboring Prince George's County but was denied by CEO Dr. Maxwell due to “fiscal constraints” .

Parents testified to the Montgomery County Board of Education on their concerns about wireless networks in schools on October 14, 2014 and February 10, 2015. They also sent MCPS Department of Health Education Supervisor Cara Grant information on safe tech for MCPS curriculum development. Parents have testified several times on the issue to Prince Georges County Public Schools and have provided safety information for PGCPS 2014 Bring Your Own Device Policy.

Parents met with then Governor Martin O'Malley on the issue in October and the State Superintendent of Education Lillian Lowery's Chief of Staff over the summer. In a letter to a parent dated April 23, 2014, Maryland Secretary of Health Joshua Sharfstein M.D. stated that The Department's Environmental Health Bureau reviewed recent scientific reviews. Dr. Sharfstein concluded that, “It is fair to say there are legitimate long term health implications of microwave radiation.”

PTAs and Teacher Unions are calling for removal of WiFi networks because of the radiation.

The coalition made up of parents and citizens from all over the state, started a blog at http://safetechforschoolsmaryland.blogspot.com/

The coalition plans on coordinating local and state efforts to raise awareness to expedite the installation of hard wired (non wireless) technology in schools. 

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