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Letter: ‘Electrosmog’ in Our Schools

To the Editor:

Upper Valley schools are increasingly picking from the Apple tree in an attempt to prepare students for the future. It’s now common for grade schools to be issued iPads, as teachers and administrators fear that without these devices, their students will not receive a first-class education and be poorly equipped to enter the work force.

The problem with this logic is that iPads only connect to the Internet using radio frequencies, or WiFi. After a half-dozen updates to the tablet, it’s still impossible to write an email, browse the web or stream video without exposing oneself and those nearby to an electromagnetic field classified as a “Group 2B carcinogen” by the World Health Organization. For decades, the U.S. government has known of dozens of nonthermal biological effects caused by this kind of radiation, but the federal safety “guidelines” protect us only from burns, making the assumption that our children are no different from microwavable TV dinners.

To make matters worse, by default, these tablets emit pulsed radio frequencies when not in use and even when no wireless network is in range. Setting the device to “airplane mode” can solve this problem, but it is doubtful that this precautionary measure is taught to students who will likely remain within a few yards of their iPad for most of the day. With 20 of these devices, along with a router and a handful of cell phones all in the same classroom, students (and teachers) today are exposed to thousands of times more electrosmog at school than just a decade ago.

It’s unfortunate that so many educators now associate wireless technology with learning and promoting childhood development. Based on the established risks of radio transmitters, it’s inappropriate to expose our children to these high-frequency electromagnetic fields at school and require them to bring these exposures home with them at the end of the day. The unbiased research and increasing health problems many now experience from wireless technology indicate that these devices are setting our kids up for a very difficult future.

Matt Fisken

White River Junction