From the newsletter of the Shearwater Mullumbimby Steiner School, located in New South Wales, Australia.
WIRELESS RADIATION EXPERT and health researcher Priyanka Bandara, Advisor to the Environmental Health Trust USA and Doctors for Safer Schools, visited Shearwater last week for a series of presentations, to High School students, staff and the wider community, on the documented health effects associated with prolonged exposure to wireless radiation, emitted by devices such as mobile phones, Wi-Fi enabled computers and wireless routers.
This issue is of crucial importance to this generation of children, who will be exposed to unprecedented levels of EMR across their lifetime. Shearwater’s decision last year to switch off Wi-Fi across the School campus, replacing access with wired technologies, followed an extensive analysis of this research.
Dr Bandara introduced our students (see image below) to wireless radiation, or radiofrequency/microwave electromagnetic radiation, and looked at how exposure levels and regulations have changed over the last few decades, in particular the last 10 years.
Students asked questions and participated in hands-on activities measuring the EMR emissions of common everyday transmitting devices, including their mobile phones.
The public presentation ‘Education, Health & Wellbeing in the Wireless Age’ (pictured above) drew more than 100 concerned residents from around the Shire. Dr Bandara was joined on stage by Victor Leach, who has worked as a radiation health physicist and atmospheric scientist for the past 40 years in both the private sector and public sector, including for the Australian Radiation Laboratory, now ARPANSA.
Victor opened the talk with a fascinating overview of how non-ionising radiation levels (used by wireless communication devices) are regulated in Australia by the Australian Communications and Media Authority — the same body who also licenses the technology — and how Australia’s legal limit for exposure to Radio Frequency Electro-Magnetic Radiation (RF EMR) is significantly greater than countries like Russia, China, or Switzerland.
Dr Bandara then introduced the audience to the documented health effects of RF-EMR (radio frequency electro-magnetic radiation) drawing on a wide range of credible peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate a link between radiation exposure and many common health complaints such as low fertility, cancer promotion, ADHD and neurological symptoms ranging from headaches to memory loss. Special emphasis was placed on why children are the most vulnerable group due to their increased absorption of radiation.
Dr Bandara also discussed the results of the OECD 2015 PISA study ‘Students, Computers and Learning’ that, contrary to expectations, showed that the countries with the highest level of internet use in schools, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden, also had the most “significant declines” in reading performance, and that those students who used computers “very frequently” did worst in most learning outcomes, after the data were adjusted for differences in demographics.
The night ended with a fascinating Q&A that dealt with a wide range of questions and concerns around wireless technology and how one can take proactive steps to limit exposure.
We wish to thank Dr Bandara and Victor Leach and their families for coming to Shearwater and providing our community with much food for thought.
Eliot Baring, ICT Coordinator
Praba Manning, Science Teacher
Read the full newsletter here