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10/12/2014 - NYSUT hosts WiFi risks webinar

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union hosted a webinar on Tuesday the 9th of December entitled "Risks of wireless technologies and how to protect children and staff in schools", featuring an excellent presentation by Dr Magda Havas of Trent University in Canada.

The talk covered the basic background of where radio frequency electromagnetic fields fit in the electromagnetic spectrum and the increase in public exposure over the past 10-15 years. It discussed the number of adverse health effects that are associated with RF exposure, including increased incidence in brain tumours, increased foetal risk, decreased fertility and a wide array of other non-fatal effects such as memory loss, depression and sleeping disorders, with scientific references for each.

Background

Magda HavasThe NYSUT is more than 600,000 people who work in, or are retired from, New York's schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities. We are classroom teachers, college and university faculty and professional staff, school bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, teacher assistants and aides, nurses and healthcare technicians.

NYSUT is a federation of more than 1,200 local unions, each representing its own members. We are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA). They are also part of organized labour - the AFL-CIO - and of Education International, with more than 20 million members world wide.

Magda Havas is Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University where she teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Dr. Havas received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, completed Post-Doctoral research at Cornell University, and taught at the University of Toronto before going to Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.

Magda Havas began research on acid rain and metal pollution in 1975 and worked at the Smoking Hills in the Canadian arctic, in Ontario near the INCO and Falconbridge metal smelters, and at Hubbard Brook in New Hampshire. She was Science Advisor to the Canadian Coalition on Acid Rain and her research (and that of others) helped bring in clean air legislation (Eastern Canadian Acid Rain Program) in 1985 that reduced sulphur dioxide emissions by 30% and lead to improvements in air and water quality and ultimately resulted in the recovery of lakes, which she also studied. Her paper "Red Herrings in Acid Rain Research" confronted the misconceptions that were being perpetrated about acid rain and its effects. Dr. Havas' research since the 1990s is concerned with the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution including radio frequency radiation, electromagnetic fields, dirty electricity, and ground current. She works with diabetics as well as with individuals who have multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and those who are electrically hypersensitive. She also conducts research on sick building syndrome as it relates to power quality in schools.

Links

» Magda Havas' biography
» New York State United Teachers
» PDF of Magda's presentation (large download)


Also in the news

SSITA met with the PHSO to discuss WiFi in schools

The Safe Schools Information Technology Alliance (SSITA) met with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) on the 20th of November to discuss an earlier complaint about the attitude to WiFi from schools and teacher's unions, inappropriately dismissing the wealth of literature pointing towards adverse health effects.

The PHSO agreed to meet with Diana Hanson, Dr Erica Mallory-Blythe and Dr Sarah Starkey (who runs the excellent Wifi In Schools website) for a meeting to investigate the issue in more depth. Both Erica and Sarah presented convincing positions which the PHSO seemed to take seriously, and both have produced some impressive documents which they want to double-check before sending through final copies. PHSO appeared interested in the court cases Erica had referred to and asked her so send further details on them as well. It was agreed that it was both reasonable and do-able for Public Health England to ensure that the information on their website was not misleading.

Links

» Safe Schools Information Technology Alliance
» Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
» Wifi In Schools
» Public Health England


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