Keep Your Promise
MCPS Chief Technology Officer Sherwin Collette
MCPS Chief Technology Officer Sherwin Collette
Please Accurately Measure WiFi Radiation In Our Schools
March 10, 2015
Dear MCPS Technology Chief Sherwin Collette,
Thank you for your commitment to ensure parents that the MCPS Strategic Technology Plan is safe for students and staff. In the WUSA 9 News report you stated to reporter Andrea McCarren that you would have an independant radiation assessment done to assess the wireless radiation exposures at MCPS schools.
We are writing to ensure that these measurements are done in as transparent and accurate a method as possible. As concerned parents, it is important that the WiFi radiation is measured in a way that accurately reflects the classroom environment as envisioned by the Strategic Technology Plan. Classrooms in Elementary, Middle School, and High School should be tested. The classroom environment as envisioned by the Strategic Technology Plan includes Chromebooks as well as smartphones. MCPS is encouraging students to bring their own devices and therefore we expect the radiation measurements to include this scenario.
The middle and high school assessment must include a full room of smartphones and laptops powered on. This means at least two devices per student in the class.
Radiation Measurement Accuracy
Radiation measurements must be done for classroom exposures in the manner children use the devices. Please ensure the following:
- Peak Exposures: Radiation measurements are done with peak numbers as well as time averages. (The highest numbers must be recorded as well as the lower ones so that we know the most intense pulse of radiation children are receiving from the devices and from the routers).
- Full Classroom: Measurements need to be taken with an entire class of children in the room actively using their wireless devices. This includes Chromebooks, smartphones and\or the other wireless devices now used as tools in class.
- Multiple Exposure Sources: Measure the radiation a child might get sitting with their Chromebook near a bunch of other children sitting with their Chromebooks and\or other wireless devices.
- Multiple Locations: Several measurements at different points in the room need to be done to ensure accuracy because different parts of the room may have different levels depending on the reflective material in the room or how close you are to the router.
- Exposures that Reflect the Way Devices are Used: Measure the radiation a child would get with the laptop on the lap and close to the body.
Accurate radiation measurements are critical to assess and mitigate any risk. We are concerned about the liability issues school administrators may face in light of wireless insurance exemptions. School officials could be personally held legally responsible for injuries from wireless because most insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for “illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionizing radiation exposure”.
- Lloyd’s of London compares wireless to asbestos stating that “The comparison is obvious – if it is proven to cause cancer, then the injuries may not become clear until many years after the exposure due to similarly long latency periods.
- Furthermore, Swiss Re has classified the potential impact from wireless on the insurance industry as “high” stating that “If a direct link between EMF and human health problems were established, it would open doors for new claims and could ultimately lead to large losses under product liability covers.”
Manufacturers Safety Instructions Are Not Being Followed
It is the responsibility of school officials to inform parents, teachers, and students about all the safety precautions for classroom tool use. In addition to the risk from the full body radiation from industrial routers there are risks from the other wireless devices in use in the classroom.
The warnings from manufacturers in all wireless device manuals specifically state that these devices must be used at a specific minimum distance from the body (8 inches for Chromebooks, under an inch for cell phones). Children carrying phones from class to class in their pants pocket will be violating these manufacturers safety instructions. Children are also placing Chromebook laptops on their laps which could result in exposures that exceed FCC regulations by 100 times.
We sent this wireless safety information and specific recommendations to to MCPS and to the Department of Health Education on September 3 2014 as public comment on the Secondary Comprehensive Health Education Curriculum Framework.
However, we are unaware of the school system including these recommendations and educating students about these manufacturer’s safety warnings. Therefore, the school system is responsible for any harm caused by student’s use (or misuse) of these devices. Students and teachers were not informed of these safety instructions. The administration was informed.
We would like representatives from our group to be present for these radiation measurements. Please send us several dates so that we can find mutually agreeable times to meet to do these radiation assessments. We think this transparency would ensure community trust.
If MCPS were to do radiation level measurements without the above criteria detailed in this letter then the radiation measurements would be invalid, inaccurate and lack transparency.
We need to trust that schools are safe. A comprehensive assessment and fully informing the parents about true radiation exposures at school would be a step towards rebuilding that trust.
Thank you so much,
Safe Tech for Schools Maryland
|Chromebooks should be held 8 inches |
away from the body according the FCC
and the manufacturer.
Information on the Fine Print Manufacturers Warnings
Read the Open Letter to Honorable Senator Rosalyn Baker About Cell Phone Manufacturers Safety Warnings
Learn What States Across the USA Are Doing to Inform Citizens