Samantha Boutet pulled her daughter, Gabrielle (left), 7, and Amelia, 11,

out of Laity View elementary over concern about the dangers of Wi-Fi internet routers. (photo)

By Robert Mangelsdorf – Maple Ridge News

Published: December 10, 2010 8:00 AM

Parents at a Maple Ridge elementary school have pulled their children out of school over fears radiation from Wi-Fi internet routers may be harming their children.

Samantha Boutet says her daughter began experiencing headaches, dizziness, and anxiety last school year at Laity View elementary. After watching a news report about possible dangers posed by Wi-Fi routers, Boutet, who is a naturopathic doctor, became convinced low-level electromagnetic radiation was the culprit.

“No one could tell us why she was getting sick,” she said. “But the symptoms they described were the same.”

Sure enough, a wireless router was mounted on the wall in her daughter’s classroom.

“She was as physically close to it as possible,” said Boutet.

Since every school in district is equipped with Wi-Fi routers, Boutet pulled her two daughters out of the public school system and now home-schools them.

“Her headaches were a 10 out of 10 while she was at school, and they are down to a five out of 10 now,” said Boutet.

Another parent at Laity View has followed suit and pulled their daughter out of school, as well.

However, a considerable body of scientific evidence suggests radiation from Wi-Fi routers is perfectly safe.

In a 2006 report, the World Health Organization stated there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak radio frequency signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.

Health Canada, meanwhile, has determined “exposure to low-level radio frequency energy, such as that from Wi-Fi equipment, is not dangerous to the public.”

Laity View principal Shelley Linton was disappointed to see the children pulled from the school, but notes that as far as the district is concerned, Wi-Fi is safe.

“Like all other schools, we follow Health Canada and school district protocols when it comes to Wi-Fi,” she said. “As a principal, it’s not something I can control. The district sets up and manages our network.”

In response to concerns about perceived health issues, School District No. 42 reviewed existing research, and found there to be no convincing evidence of a health threat associated with Wi-Fi.

However, as wireless technology has become more widespread in recent years, so too have the calls for scientist to take a closer look at how this increased amount of low-level radiation affects the human body.

The House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Health released a report earlier this month on the potential impacts of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation, from sources such as Wi-Fi, and recommends the Government of Canada fund long-term studies examining the potential health impacts of exposure.

Numerous grass-roots groups around the country have contacted MPs, MLAs, and school boards, asking for a moratorium on Wi-Fi until more comprehensive studies can be completed, and for electromagnetic hypersensitivity to be recognized as a medical ailment.

Boutet believes that until there is concrete evidence Wi-Fi is safe for children, schools should plug their computers back in.

“The science is divided, but until we know for sure, we shouldn’t be putting kids at risk,” she said. “My kid is the canary in coal mine.”

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