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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Israeli ministry of education recommendation regarding Cellphones, WIFI and ELF exposure

The Israeli ministry of education have published a draft position and summary document for public review (original doc -, English translation by Google: ) regarding the exposure of children’s to RF and ELF radiation in the schools. The document was created by a joint cometty of the ministries of education, health and environmental protection.

The document addresses 3 types of sources:
1. Cell phones
2. WIFI wireless networks (routers, tablets and laptops).
3. Electric supply infrastructure

First look, second look
At first read it seams that the document is reasonable, but in a second read it seems that it has gaps and holes in it. The ministry approach regarding cellphone use in schools was changed according to the demeaned of 2 lawyers to follow the European resolution ( Regarding  WiFi, the document presents a loophole, it recommend not to use WiFi but leaves the decision to the headmaster in every school. This loophole actually allows the continue of the the deployment of WiFi routers and wireless laptops and tablets in schools when the responsibility is pushed onto the school it self. Activists and parents in Israel  report that the deployment of WIFI networks and use of wireless computers in schools has already started in several schools in the country. It seem that in 200 schools wireless routers has been installed and wireless laptops were given to the teachers. In 20 schools wireless laptop were introduced into classes in a ratio or 1 laptop for every 5 children. In the future when studnet and teacher will become ill the ministries will refer them to the doc in which the recommendation (no band over  WiFi  ) is not to use  WiFi  and wireless laptops and tablets, while in the field the ministry did nothing to stop it and some people will say the secretly permuted it. Regarding ELF fields, it seem that since the IARC/WHO resolution from 2001 both Israeli ministries of health, environment protection and education have learned and understand the potential danger of exposure to "week" ELF field as shown in the document

Dose not recognize health risk
The document calls for limitation of student exposure according to the precautionary principle, based on the IARC/WHO rolling and the interphone study. In the document there is no recollection and reference to the well known studies that show biological changes and influences of week RF sources. For example I can give the following 5 studies (one of then was done be Repacholi before he changed his mind and switch sides):

Regarding cell phones the main recommendations are:
  1. Create an education program for safe and reasonable use of cell phones.
  2. Deploy land line phone for students to use.
  3. Create “cell phone use areas-rooms” in which cell phones use will be allowed (like smoking areas).
  4. Deploy signs around the school that forbid the use of cell phones.
  5. Teachers will be allowed to use their cell phones only in the teachers’ room.
  6.  Cell phone use will be forbidden in schools’ transport service by the students, teachers, drivers and stuff.
  7.  Active signal gummer should not be used
Bottom line: Cellphone use in schools will be restricted and limited but  not forbidden. This is a nice step forward but not all the way.

Regarding WiFi networks the main recommendations are:

 The education system is directed to prefer wired internet technologies and solutions ( WiFi system are still allowed in schools and the decision is with in every school jurisdiction.
  1.  WiFi radiation levels should be tested before and after the deployment of WiFi systems.
  2.  In old schools cables should be covered in a way that will not cause injuries.
  3.  In new schools, wires should be installed below the floor.
  4.  When wireless devices will be used, special software/hardware should allow to automatically control the radiation levels to they will be as low as possible.
  5. When and where wireless systems and networks will be in used, at least one wireless router should be installed in every room, corridor, and class. For every 150 m2 and 25 users there should be at least one wireless router. If 2 routers are installed in the same room they should be located in different parts of the room in order to allow max coverage of the wireless network.
Bottom line: The document leave a loop hole for WIFI deployment and use in schools. The responsibility is transferred to the school it self. WIFI is not recommended but not forbidden. This is probably done in order to allow schools that already expose their students to WIFI RF radiation to continue doing that,

   Regarding ELF from electrical equipment and networks the main recommendations are:
  1. new electrical systems and old systems that are being maintenance should be handle in a way that will limit to the minimum possible the ELF magnetic and electric field emission.
  2. The environmental protection ministry will share the tests result of ELF in schools with the education ministry.
  3. The ministry of education and the ministry of environmental protection will permute a wide servey of ELF radiation in all schools, kinda gardens where the electrical cabinet is next to classes.  
  4. the ministry of education will act according to the ministry of environmental guidance and recombinations where and when ever a problem will be found, in order to fix it and to coordinate with the bodies that operate the establishment and the Israeli Electric company.
  5. charging of wireless laptops and tablets in side the classes or next to places people stay of pass should be forbidden (3 meters safety distance).
  6. an education program should be created to educate students about reasonable and wise use of radiation emitting devices in the home environment.
Bottom line: In the ELF field I found the recommendations very good. Nice step forward.

General Bottom line:
The document seems to take the danger from RF radiation a bit lightly. It base it self on the "Precautionary Principe" when it does not consider the real science that is already available regarding the health effect of "week" RF radiation. The limitation that it offer might seems like a good step forward but it creates and keeps a "status qua" in which children and teachers will still be exposed to RF radiation in schools from  WiFi routers, laptops and tablets. 
We (a group of EHS people and ELF awareness activist here in israel) are trying to influence the final version of this doc so it will be based on the real science. Our gool is to band the use of WiFi and other wireless devbices in schools in order to reduce the exposure of students and teachers to the minimum. We hope to prevent the use of laptops, tablets, WiFi routers, cellphones and other wireless devices in schools.