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Wednesday, 25 May 2011 17:23

Europe wants to ban wifi and mobiles from schools


While scientists still argue the toss over whether mobile phones and wireless networks can damage people's health the European Parliament has been presented with a report recommending that wireless networks and mobile phones be totally banned from schools on health grounds.

Called The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment the report has been prepared by the European Assembly's Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs. While acknowledging no conclusive links between health problems and mobile network usage have been determined it suggests it would be folly to wait for conclusive evidence lest another asbestos or cigarette style health problem is eventually uncovered.

The report recommends authorities 'take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours.'

It also called on education and health authorities to develop information 'aimed at teachers, parents and children to alert them to the specific risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves.' Also that Governments 'ban all mobile phones, DECT phones or WiFi or WLAN systems from classrooms and schools, as advocated by some regional authorities, medical associations and civil society organisations.'

If the idea gains traction in Europe it will almost certainly have a trickle down effect in Australia. According to Sweeney Research 87 per cent of Australian children aged four to 16 now either own or have access to a mobile phone - and wifi networks are increasingly commonplace in government and independent schools in part thanks to the Federal Government's $2.4 billion Digital Education Revolution.

Any attempts to rip out wireless networks and ban mobile phones from Australian schools would likely meet with stiff resistance.

However according to the report which was released this month; 'The potential health effects of the very low frequency of electromagnetic fields surrounding power lines and electrical devices are the subject of ongoing research and a significant amount of public debate.

Why the rush? read on

'While electrical and electromagnetic fields in certain frequency bands have fully beneficial effects which are applied
in medicine, other non-ionising frequencies, be they sourced from extremely low frequencies, power lines or certain high frequency waves used in the fields of radar, telecommunications and mobile telephony, appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals, as well as the human body when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.

'One must respect the precautionary principle and revise the current threshold values; waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case in the past with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.'

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