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Dear MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith- Time to Protect Students Not Promote Pollution

Dear Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith, I am writing to you on an important issue regarding our children’s hea...

Friday, November 27, 2015

UK Expert Engineer Calls On MCPS Technology Office To Remove Incorrect Statements About Wireless Radiation Measurements

We regret to inform you that Montgomery County Public Schools has posted false information. On Friday November 20th, MCPS released the $14,000 Radio frequency Radiation Measurement Report and posted answers to frequently asked questions about radio frequency radiation on a new webpage. 

Sadly for parents, the presented information is riddled with false and misleading statements. Safe Tech is in compiling a full response (coming soon) that details all the inaccurate statements that MCPS has posted. The list of flaws is long. This is just the beginning. 

To start, please watch the video above and see the letter below from the company that made the Acousitmeter microwave meter we use in our videos. The company contacted MCPS asking them to remove the false statements related to their meter.

What Incorrect Statements Did MCPS Make?

In short,  MCPS tried to discredit parents radiation readings by saying the meter could be measuring other radiation sources,  but MCPS got their facts wrong. MCPS erroneously says the microwave radiation sources measured by the meter are "the overhead lighting, AM and FM or TV frequencies." Oops.

MCPS says that since it could be these things, we cannot be sure the meter is measuring the wireless system radiation.

What Are The Missing Facts ? 

The big mistake MCPS made is-- that the overhead lighting, most AM and FM frequencies and television frequencies are not in the set of frequencies that the meter even covers. The meter only measures microwave radiation in the range of 200 MHz to 8000 MHz (8 GHz).

The only nearby RF-EMF microwave sources were the wireless access points on the ceiling and the Chromebooks. When parents took radiation readings they ensured no nearby cell phones.

The Chromebook: If you watch our video you can see that the meter shows the radiation peaking when the Chromebook Wi-Fi  is turned ON.  When the Chromebook is turned OFF the meter shows radiation levels decrease. Its that simple. No rocket scientist needed.

The Ceiling Microwave Transmitters (Access Points): The meter shows higher radiation levels near the ceiling access points,which decreases as you move away. Once you are in the bathroom, the meter shows a minimal level. This shows that the source of the radiation is the ceiling access point. This is why parents are asking for their children to move seats so they are not directly under the transmitters.

What Key Points Does The Company Make In This Letter? 
  • They say MCPS got its facts wrong stating the meter measures lights, radio and TV.  
  • They say MCPS's own report confirms the meter must be picking up mostly Wi-Fi network radiation because the MCPS Report itself states that external microwave sources are low.  So even MCPS's fancy thousand dollar device confirms that the MAIN radiation sources in the room are from the Wi-Fi network and therefore the meter is picking up mainly MCPS-created-microwave-emissions.
  • The Acousitmeter  measures peak signal strength- a key indicator of biological impact. 
  • In short- the meter does not have to be thousands of dollars to show how the MCPS Wi-Fi results in classroom microwave emissions. 
(We think these mistakes were made because MCPS staff may not fully understand the EMF microwave frequency range.)

Safe Tech parents have been asking for MCPS to decrease all the microwave radiation in classrooms- including cell phones. Children are being exposed to ALL the microwave frequencies in the room. If the meter is picking up a radiation source that is not from their Wi-Fi system or the Bring your Own Device Policy then MCPS should deal with this radiation source and reduce it. 

The question we have for MCPS is this: If you don't think the meter is measuring the MCPS industrial Wi-Fi network, Chromebook's or wireless devices brought in by the MCPS BYOD policy, then exactly what do you think it is measuring?

See the Letter below. 

Who is the engineer who wrote this letter- Alasdair Philips of EMF Fields?
He is a UK expert on the matter.
Watch Alasdair Philips interviewed in this BBC Documentary starting at minute 4:30

Stay tuned as Safe Tech details ALL of the OTHER false statements made by MCPS.
 Please subscribe to our blog so you never miss a post. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wi-Fi in Schools Letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan From International Cancer Experts

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Incoming Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202

Dear U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and incoming Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John King:

We applaud and support efforts to see that schools employ the most up-to-date educational technologies with high-speed Internet access. The use of wired systems to provide this access is to be preferred because of speed, access, and safety issues that we outline here. We are part of a growing number of scientists who are deeply concerned about the growing scientific evidence that wireless networks may pose serious health threats, particularly for children, pregnant women, and people with an underlying illness.

A number of countries around the world have already taken steps to reduce the levels of radio-frequency (RF) radiation in schools. Early in 2015, France passed a national law banning wifi from nursery schools and mandating that schools turn off wifi whenever it is not in use, to minimize RF radiation exposures onto the children. Israel established a new national institute to review scientific evidence and recommends wired computers for  teachers and minimized wifi exposures in student classes. Government agencies in Russia, India, Australia, and Belgium also advise that children’s wireless exposures be minimized and that citizens take specific precautions with children’s use of cellphones and all wireless devices. In fact, over 20 countries have taken a precautionary approach on the issue of wireless devices, which were not tested for long-term use by children prior to the devices being introduced into schools.  

Environmental Health Trust scientists would like to work with you in developing safer technology use practices that incorporate the latest scientific and technical information from neurologists, pediatricians, and electrical engineers. At your convenience, we would like to brief you and your senior staff regarding the health risks of microwave RF radiation emitted by wireless technologies and prudent policies that can easily reduce wireless exposures throughout the American educational system without compromising our capacity to impart technology training.

Current exposure standards for RF radiation were set nearly 30 years ago to avoid heat. In fact, studies show that RF radiation exposures from currently used cellphones that do not induce heat can damage the nervous system, impair sleep, hearing and reproductive health, and increase the risk of cancer. Wireless devices that manufacturers test at a distance of more than 8 inches from the body and are intended to be employed on tables are being closely held next to growing young bodies in schools around this nation—creating exposures far in excess of as-tested levels.

The United States has come under sharp criticism by the GAO, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US Department of the Interior, and research scientists from around the world for relying on outdated standards. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently reviewing exposure standards and has received hundreds of submissions detailing public health concerns regarding the current regulations (Proceeding 13-84, 2013).

In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to the FCC calling for more protective RF radiation exposure standards and stated, “Children are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cellphone radiation. Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.”

Yale University Chairman of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Hugh Taylor MD PhD, works with physicians and experts in developmental biology as part of the BabySafe Project creating materials for health professionals and pregnant women in order to promote awareness of the need to reduce exposures to cellphones and other sources of wireless radiation. Attesting to the seriousness of the health risks, Professor Martha Herbert, MD PhD, a Harvard pediatric neurologist, testified before the Canadian Parliamentary Health Committee,  stating that, “RF Radiation 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.”

Regarding the evidence on the damaging impact of wireless radiation, the range of impacts is growing. RF radiation also has been shown to impair immune system function, as well as impact gene and protein expression, cell signaling, oxidative stress, cell death, the blood-brain barrier, and brain activity. Please consider this recently published scientific information.

  • The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies RF radiation as a Class 2B Carcinogen, a possible human carcinogen. The IARC issued their Monograph in April 2013 detailing the basis of the classification. Note that other 2B carcinogens such as lead and DDT are subject to serious regulatory control and restriction on school properties.  

  • A recently published research review reports that 93% of 100 peer reviewed studies on the oxidative effects of low-intensity (below the ICNIRP limits) microwave radiation confirmed that RF radiation induces oxidative effects in biological systems. The authors state that this oxidative stress should be recognized as one of the primary mechanisms of the biological activity of this type of radiation, and they recommend “minimizing the intensity and time of RFR exposures, and taking a precautionary approach towards wireless technologies in everyday human life.” Oxidative stress is implicated in the cause of many diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. (Yakymenko et al. 2015)

  • In May 2015, over 200 scientists who have authored more than 2,000 articles on this topic appealed to the United Nations to address the emerging public health crisis related to cellphones and other wireless devices, urging that the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) initiate an assessment of alternatives to current exposure standards and practices that could substantially lower human exposures to non-ionizing radiation. Please see their website at https://emfscientist.org

  • Several studies have found that wireless radiation can damage both the male and female reproductive systems: Adams (2014), Avendaño et al. (2012), De Iuliis et al. (2009), Fejes et al. (2005), Agarwal et al. (2008), Wdowiak et al. (2007), Gul et al. (2009), Atasoy et al. (2013), Nazıroğlu et al. (2013), Panagopoulos (2012), and Gutschi et al. (2011).

  • Several studies also indicate important changes in brain activity and neurotoxic effects: Aldad et al. (2012), Cetin et al. (2014), Júnior et al. (2014), Odaci et al. (2008), Qiao et al. (2014), Bas et al. (2009), Naziroğlu and Gumral (2009), Megha et al. (2012), Bin et al. (2013), Jing et al. ( 2012), Razavinasab et al. (2014), Volkow et al. (2011), and Ikinci et al. (2013).

  • Published case studies by breast cancer surgeons found a link to unusual breast tumors in young women who keep cellphones in their bras and have no genetic markers for the disease: West et al. (2013). Please watch a recent lecture on this issue by Dr. Lisa Bailey, MD, breast surgeon, and former President of the American Cancer Society in California.

As the technology is so new and changing so rapidly in its use, few of those currently in leadership positions are familiar with the growing information developed by the bioelectromagnetics research community. We are aware that school administrators, staff, and students are not fully aware of the health and safety issues wireless devices present. For example, iPads and tablets have at least 4 antennas
each emitting digital pulsed RF radiation. Operating systems include fine print warnings instructing that the cellular antennas be directed “away from the body and other objects,” so that RF radiation exposures do not exceed the as-tested FCC limits. In fact, all wireless devices have specific instructions to keep a distance from the device.

Recognizing these facts, in 2014, the US-Collaborative for High Performance Schools adopted new criteria for safe and healthy schools, including Low-EMF building code criteria such as wired local area networks for computers and phones. Attached is a document detailing their Low-EMF criteria as well as a document detailing current precautionary actions taken by governments and authorities around the world.

Based on the accumulated scientific evidence showing biological effects, and precautionary policies devised by other nations, we recommend that the U.S. Department of Education do the following:

  1. Raise school community awareness through new educational curriculum: Students, teachers, and their families should be given information on wireless health risks and simple precautionary steps they can take to protect their health. It is important to teach children how to use technology both safely and more responsibly in order to protect their health and wellbeing.

  1. Install a safe communication and information technology infrastructure in schools to meet educational needs: Solutions exist to reduce exposures to wireless emissions and mitigate the health risk. Low-EMF Best Practices have been developed allowing educational needs to be met with safer hard-wired Internet connections, which are also faster and more secure.

Schools have a unique opportunity to maintain low-radiation environments through prudent technology choices and Low-EMF Best Practices, thus significantly reducing children’s overall lifetime exposures. We applaud the efforts of the Ashland School District—and the advice of the Israeli government-—that wired computers are preferred in all instances and that exposures to wifi be eliminated from the environments of infants and toddlers and generally reduced in children’s environments overall.

Considering that no research documents long-term exposure to low-intensity microwave radiation as safe for children, the best approach is precautionary.

A 21st century classroom must bridge the digital divide so that students have equal access to technology. Low-EMF Best Practices are the solution that allows for full communication, information access, and learning tools use in the classroom while minimizing unnecessary health risks. With your leadership, the United States of America can thoughtfully integrate safe technology into every classroom while responsibly safeguarding the health of every generation. We look forward to working with you on this important issue.


Devra Davis, PhD MPH
President and Founder
Environmental Health Trust
Visiting Professor Hebrew University Hadassah Medical Center

Signing on behalf of the following:

Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, MD PhD
Professor of Medicine
UC San Diego School of Medicine

Gunnar Heuser, MD PhD FACP
Former Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA
Emeritus Staff member Cedar Sinai Medical Center

Anthony B. Miller, MD FACE
Professor Emeritus Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto

Robert D. Morris, MD PhD
Senior Medical Advisor
Environmental Health Trust

Annie Sasco, MD DrPH
Director of Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention
University of Bordeaux, France
Former Unit Chief of Epidemiology for Cancer Prevention at the International Agency for Research on Cancer

Watch Dr. Miller Speak On The Issue In This Video Of His Testimony to the City Of Toronto Below

Calling For MCPS to Explore Safe Technology in Schools. 
We do not want to risk our children's future health for something can be easily fixed. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Transparency and Liability Issues with Wireless: November 12, 2015 Letter to Montgomery County School CEO Dr. Andrew Zuckerman

November 12, 2015

Dear MCPS CEO Dr. Andrew Zuckerman,

Thank you for your email asking for a meeting. We are concerned that you stated you would not respond in writing to our questions nor would you allow us to record our meeting so that we could document MCPS’ response. You wrote me on November 2, 2015 that “I regret that we are unable to provide you detailed written responses to your questions.”

If MCPS staff cannot answer questions nor understand the health implications of an environmental exposure that MCPS is creating ...then MCPS should not be exposing kids to it. 

You could easily avoid extra staff time on this by simply installing safe technology.

I am writing to ask for answers to specific health and safety questions.  I have had previous meetings with Sherwin Collette and have not received  a full response to the questions we asked in that meeting nor in response to my subsequent letters and emails. He specifically stated that if we had questions we should contact him. We did and received no answer.

You wrote me on November 8, 2015  that “the reason to meet as opposed to exchange emails/written communication is because the questions you asked are detailed in nature and require extensive staff time and resources, which unfortunately are limited.” Forgive me if the list of questions detailed here is long but the fact is that this issue is complicated and requires a thorough understanding by your staff. As MCPS is installing the transmitters we believe MCPS has a responsibility to answer these questions about their own transmitters.

I have listed below the full questions that MCPS can answer either in written communications or in a recorded meeting. Answers need to be documented so that there is full clarity and we do not misunderstand each other. Our questions involve parental choice, parental notification, transparency, due diligence and liability.


Why aren’t all parents being informed about simple classroom measures that will reduce the risk to our kids. Such choices are already in place in a few schools after parents asked.
  1. Moving children’s classroom seats out from under the WiFi transmitter\access point. Many parents have requested their children be moved in classrooms from sitting right under the WiFi access point to further away in the room. They are changing seats in class.  WiFi access points are radiating all day long in classes even if the devices are not in use so this is an easy way to increase distance and decrease exposure.
  2. Allowing children to use a wire to connect to the internet. We understand that MCPS schools are allowing children to use a wire with their Chromebooks because parents have requested it. This way the child is not getting direct radiation from the laptop or tablet when it is being used in classes. However, most parents are unaware this option exists.

Why aren’t parents being notified and fully informed about the following:
  1. Location of Microwave Transmitters in Building: Why is MCPS refusing to inform parents, teachers, students, and staff about the location of wireless transmitters in the classrooms? Parents have told me they are not allowed to be sent maps showing the location of access points in their child’s school building. Instead they must go to the central office and cannot write down the information?
  2. The Fine Print Regulatory Instructions For Chromebooks and Ipads: Why is MCPS refusing to inform students and staff about the fine print warnings ( FCC instructions)  in the manuals of the laptops and tech devices which they had purchased for students?
  3. The Fine Print Regulatory Instructions on Cell Phones: Why is MCPS refusing to inform students about the fine print warnings in cell phones? MCPS has a policy allowing them in school and MCPS allowing students to use MCPS Wi-Fi on their cell phones and more important MCPS is utilizing cell phones as a classroom tool in several classes. Yet students are unaware of how to follow government regulations printed in the manual.
  4. The Potential Health Risks of The Radiation: Parents have a right to be informed about the health risks related to this technology. The World Health Organization classifies this as a class 2 B human carcinogen and all parents should be aware of this. In addition, health authorities recommend research into the neurotoxic effects that have been shown in several studies.  Parents need to be aware of the potential damage to the brain, the immune system, the reproductive organs and increased cancer risk. MCPS informs  parents about the legal use of pesticides in school already and this is no different.

  1. CEO Andrew Zuckerman Wrote that Responses Would Not Be Put Into Writing: Why can't MCPS detail answers to our questions? MCPS staff needs to understand this issue enough to answer the questions. Then Mr. Zuckerman stated he would meet but not allow videotaping. Why not? Why can’t we document the current position and stance of MCPS? Where is the transparency?
  2. The Radiation Report Is Not Being Released: In the spring of 2015 Mr. Collette stated that radiation readings would be done by the end of the spring semester.  Please share this report with the parents, as Mr. Collette stated he knew the results in a Sept 21 BOE meeting. We have asked, called and filed a public information request over a month ago.
  3. Parents Barred From Observing the Radiation Readings: Why did you barr parents from observing the radiation measurements?  If MCPS wants to be transparent then when a school is having radiation reading done- a Safe Tech parent should have been present to observe.  The refusal of MCPS to allow an observer could invalidate trust in the results.
  4. Parents Put Off Who Inquire About Measuring the Devices: Why are parents who have asked to come in and take radiation measurements with their own devices being put off and ignored? Some parents have waited months and still no response?
  5. Three Years of Ignoring Parents: I have personally been writing and informing  MCPS for three years on this and still have not received answers. This is unacceptable as I am raising a health and safety issue. Three years ago, MCPS should have spent staff time and resources to consider this issue and develop a risk management plan.

Decisions have been made by MCPS but no rationale as to the due diligence taken has been provided to parents by MCPS:
  1. Cherry Picking Which Health Authorities To Listen To: Why does MCPS choose to highlight the government stance of England and Canada  rather than Israel, Spain, Austria, Belgium or France?  Please explain in detail how this decision was made and how and why the information from different countries was weighed differently.
  2. Ignoring the Concern of Pediatricians: Why is MCPS holding up FCC exposure limits as an assurance of safety when the American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a re-evaluation of FCC limits because “children are more vulnerable” to the radiation?
  3. Ignoring Current Best Available Science: I have sent copious research and statements by medical doctors showing harm after exposure to wireless radiation. We understand that MCPS staff came to Dr Sharma and Dr. Davis’ talk at George Washington University in June of 2915.  Research was presented showing genetic damage from radiofrequency radiation.  MCPS staff was there and heard the scientists state that Wi-Fi in school was not recommended because it was experimentation on children and could have grave consequences.  Watch the video of the talk here. See my question about wifi in school and Dr Carlo’s answer at 1:29:30. Why have you not included any of that expert information?

I contacted MCPS about insurance coverage for long term health effects and was told that MCPS is self insured and does not have insurance coverage for this issue. If children get sick as scientists state is quite possible, then there will be lawsuits.

  1. Exclusion of Coverage for Illness from Long Term Exposure: Lloyd’s of London is one of the largest insurers in the world and it’s  recent renewal policy -as of Feb. 7, 2015- excludes any coverage associated with exposure to non-ionizing radiation. In response to a parent's request for clarification, this response was received on Feb. 18, 2015 from CFC Underwriting LTD, London, UK agent for Lloyd’s:

“The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard. The purpose of the exclusion is to exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionizing radiation exposure....”  They also state they will exclude coverage related to an entity's omission to warn about these potential long term effects. Read the it here.

Why is MCPS setting itself up for lawsuits from damages from harm from these devices plus from not informing and warning families about the potential harm?

2. Swiss Re Insurance company stated in 2013 that “Over the last decade, the spread of wireless devices has accelerated enormously. … This development has increased exposure … If a direct link [to health effects] … were established, it would open doors for new claims and could ultimately lead to large losses ...” Swiss Re rates the “Unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields “ as having an “Overall potential Impact of High”. Read the 2013 Report HERE.

With the inevitable lawsuits MCPS will have, this will translate to taxpayer money being spent on lawsuits. Why are you risking not only our children’s health but also our taxpayer money?

3. Are teachers and administrators aware they could be liable? Will the fact that School Officials refuse to inform parents, teachers and students about the warnings in Safety Manuals and Disclaimers that come with cell phones and other wireless devices make them liable? The fine print warnings correspond to federal law and MCPS is failing to inform their students and staff of the instructions.

As school officials have now been fully notified of this risk, they could be personally held legally responsible for the injuries to our children caused by continuous long-term non-ionizing radiation exposure because they did not act to minimize risk. Are School Principals, Board of Education members and administrators aware they could be personally held liable?

4. The Los Angeles Unified School District Accommodated a Teacher Who Fell Ill After Wireless Installation  Read it here Letter of Accommodation from Los Angeles Unified School District  The letter states that,  “After reviewing and taking into consideration all of the documentation you submitted as part of your request, the information you presented during the meeting, and reviewing alternate accommodations, the Committee approved your request to have the Wi-Fi turned off in your classroom during the 2014-2015 school year. As an alternate accommodation the Committee also approved a reassignment to a different school site where Wi-Fi has yet to be installed.“

What about teachers who fall ill from the radiation? How will they be accommodated?

5. Many scientists and medical doctors are pointing to the real possibility of children being injured from long term exposure to this radiation. Teachers and school administrators  are obligated to anticipate that certain situations may prove harmful to students. Steps should be taken  to prevent avoidable injuries. If you do not take our concerns seriously, and injury occurs, you could be liable because the injury was foreseeable.

How will MCPS deal with the financial liability for the thousands of students entrusted to its care?

In conclusion, MCPS is choosing to risk our children’s health and our taxpayer money and we parents deserve to know why and how.

MCPS could meet the goals of their strategic plan with a safe wired infrastructure and follow the Best Practices recommended by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools. Download the Criteria HERE. Such simple solutions will mitigate this serious risk and protect the health and financial stability of the county.

I look forward to your response to these important questions. We all agree the safety of our children is our first priority.

Theodora Scarato LCSW-C