Unions and PTA's Advocating for Safe Technology

Healthy Work Environments

Parents For Safe Technology

California State PTA Resolution On Wireless
Equipment/Cellular Phones and Antennas


Fair Use Statement

Submitted to:

The California State Parents and Teachers Association By>

Fletcher Hills Elementary PTA, Unit #1378

Date: January 27, 2001

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. WHEREAS the third objective of the National PTA is to "secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth"; and

2. WHEREAS, the California PTA Convention adopted, on May 6, 1994, a resolution on electromagnetic fields (EMF), pertaining solely to power frequencies from electrical power transmission lines and electrical appliances operating at 60 Hertz and resolved to "seek participation in coalitions to study the effects of electromagnetic fields" and "
to educate and inform its districts, councils and units about the potential hazards of EMF and encourage school districts and schools to develop risk reduction policies and continue to disseminate information on the subject as it becomes available": and

3. WHEREAS the number of cell phone users and services has increased dramatically in California, the United States, and around the world and, to support increasing consumer demand for wireless communications, a rapid increase in wireless facility sites, antennas and base station equipment:

A) "U.S. wireless revenues to exceed local wire line by 2003", Sylvia Dennis, Newsbytes, 11 January 2001. http://www.newsbytes.com/news/01/160360.html

B) As of January 2001, there are over 109,511,338 U.S. cell phone subscribers, Or, 45,924 new wireless subscribers every day according to the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association). http://www.wow-com.com/statsurv/

C) "What is Cellular" from the CELLULAR ONE Library Page http://www.cellularone.com/frameset/library/frame.html

4. WHEREAS the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been interpreted by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) as prohibiting state or local governments from regulating wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with FCC regulations:

A) See FCC publication on RF antenna siting guidelines "A local government official's guide to transmitting antenna RF emission safety: rules, procedures and practical guidance," Federal Communications Commission, Local and State Advisory Commission, June 2, 2000. http://www.fcc.gov/cib

B) "Cell phone towers and communities: the struggle for local control" By B. Blake Levitt. Published in Orion Afield, Autumn 1998. http://www.emrnetwork.org/siting/orion.html?"

5. WHEREAS there has been legislation in the United Kingdom, the United States Congress and the California State Legislature, which addresses the issues of local authority and health concerns as they apply to wireless facility siting and cell phone use:

A) U.K. Research Program. On December 8, 2000, the U.K. Department of Health announced that it would sponsor ?7 million (about $10 million) of research on the possible health effects of mobile phone radiation. http://www.doh.gov.uk/mobilephones/index.htm

A) Letter from U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey, 6th District CA, Dec.15, 2000, re: H.R. 2835, a bill to review the research on radio frequency radiation.

B) Letter from U.S. Senators James Jeffords and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, May 1, 2000, re: Senate Appropriations language for FY 2001 to research long- term, low-level biological effects from exposures to radio frequency radiation.

C) U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2834, introduced by Representative Sanders (I-Vermont), to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify State and local authority to regulate the placement, construction, and modification of broadcast transmission and telecommunications facilities. (106th Congress) http://www.loc.gov (Thomas - Congressional Research Service)

D) United State Senate, S.1538, introduced by Senator Leahy (D-Vermont) to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify State and local authority to regulate the placement, construction, and modification of broadcast transmission and telecommunications facilities. (106th Congress)

E) U.S. House of Representatives, H.R.4610, introduced by Representative Markey, to require the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a study of the health effects of radio frequency emissions from wireless telephones. (106th Congress)

F) U.S. House of Representatives. H.R.2835, introduced by Representative Sanders, to require an assessment of research on effects of radio frequency emissions on human health. (106th Congress)

G) Press release by the Council on Wireless Technology Impacts on California State Bill S.B. 1699, which calls for a review of the research on radio frequency radiation, dated March 2000.

6. WHEREAS some school districts are considering policies to ban outright or limit use of cellular phones and other wireless mobile devices and oppose cellular antennas on or near school properties:

A) Los Angeles Unified School District Resolution banning cellular towers on or near school property.

B) "Utah schools go beepless" Utah News, Tuesday, October 19, 1999, By Jeffrey P. Haney, Deseret News staff writer

C) "How safe is wireless networking?" Mac Opinion, by Charles Moore, December 9, 1999 MacOPINION Charles Moore How Safe Is Wireless Computer Networking.htm

D) Letter to the Broward County Schools from Dr. Bill Curry, September 29, 2000, regarding the potential health hazards to children and youth due to use of wireless laptop computers in the classroom. http://www.emrnetwork.org/schools/schools.htm

E) White paper by Dr. Gary Brown, on the health hazards of wireless local area network technology, October 2000. http://www.flipag.net/nopoles/WLANSreport.html

F) Add SANDBAG paper on Prudent Avoidance

7. WHEREAS there is considerable debate in the scientific and medical community as to the effects on humans of the radiofrequency/microwave energy emitted from cell phones and antennae:

A) Letter of Intent for a proposed collaboration on mobile phone research between the Food and Drug Administration and the Cellular Tele- communications Industry Association, October 20, 1999 - Health Effects of RF Emissions from Wireless Phones: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/

B) "Lieberman study to be done regardless of election", by Heather Forsgren Weaver, RCR News, August 20, 2000.

C) "Interview with Ross Adey: The Future", Fortune Magazine, 10/09/2000, by David Kirkpatrick; and Ross Adey "Wherever we go, we will be immersed in a sea of low-level, pulsed microwave signals."

D) "Cellular Phone Antennas and Human Health," John E. Moulder, Ph.D., Electromagnetic Fields and Human Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, http://www.mcw.edu/gcrc/cop/cell-phone-health-FAQ/toc.html

F) Cellular Towers," National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Alphabetical List of Health Topics http://www.niehs.nih.gov/external/faq/cellular.htm

F) "Do cell phones need warnings?" Time Magazine, October 9, 2000. 
G) "State fails to make cell phone case", by Jamie Stockwell, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, December 7, 2000; 
H) "Legislators Aiming to Disconnect Motorists, by Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post Staff Writer, December 10, 2000. 
I) "Car Talk declares war on cell phones" Media Central, 1/10/99, By Beth Miller

8. WHEREAS, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that radio frequency radiation may be associated with chronic disease and brain dysfunction in a proportion of children who are exposed, as well as slight increases proven in childhood cancers, breast cancers and brain tumors;

A) U.K. Leaflets on health risks of mobile phones for children and base stations and health. On December 8, 2000, the U.K. Department of Health announced it released these leaflets. "Mobile Phones and Health" highlights the uncertainties about health risks of mobile phones and discourages their use by children. The second leaflet addresses base stations and health. The leaflets are available as pdf files at: http://www.doh.gov.uk/mobilephones/index.htm>.

B) "Alternations in Calcium Ion Activity by ELF and RF Electromagnetic Fields" by Carl Blackman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (MD-68) research triangle Park, NC 27711-2055 USA. Published in proceedings of the International Conference on Cell Tower Siting linking Science and Public Health, June 7-8, Salzburg, Austria. http://www.land-sbg.gv.at/celltower/

C) "Physics and Biology of Mobile Telephony" G J Hyland, The Lancet, Vol.356. November 25, 2000

D). "The Biological Effects, Health Consequences and Standards for Pulsed Radiofrequency Field", Dr. Henry Lai, 1999 World Health Organization (WHO) Conference, Italy, November 21-25, 1999.

E) "Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields by Using Cellular Telephones and its Influence on the Brain" Koivisto, et al, Montreal Neurological Institute, October 20,2000.

F) Scientific studies on radio frequency radiation are on a web site regarding a cellular tower proposal for the Ossining High School playing fields (Ossining, New York) http://www.cyburban.com/~lplachta/safeweb2.htm

G) Article "MOBILE TELEPHONES: WILL THE GOLDEN GOOSE BECOME THE MAD COW?" Leif Sodergren, Swedish Association for the Electrosensitive http://www.feb.se/

Therefore, be it

RESOLVED that there is an outstanding need to evaluate radio frequency radiation research and exposure conditions and that these conditions may have a negative impact on the health and well being of children and youth, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the California PTA encourages a public health review be conducted of the research literature on radiofrequency radiation and a determination be made of relative risk based on the precautionary principle in order to give clear and practical guidance to school personnel and parents on preventive and protective strategies to reduce risk, particularly for children, youth and school personnel, many of whom are of childbearing age; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the California PTA supports local municipal zoning setback rules of at 1000 feet or more from an operating wireless transmitter and a school or residential area; and be it further

RESOLVED that the California PTA supports encouraging schools to use cable lines for all communications services on campus and to avoid the endorsement, purchase or use of wireless local area network systems on campus; and be it further

RESOLVED that the California PTA recommend that teachers and students should limit use of cellular phones or other mobile devices on school property to emergencies and that cellular phones, pagers and other mobile phones be turned off and placed out of sight while the individual is on school property, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the California PTA supports legislation that would allow state and local authorities to regulate the placement, construction and modification of telecommunications towers and antennas, as well as, legislation to ban the use of commercial cellular phones or other communications devices while operating motor vehicles.

California PTA Resolution on Cellular Phones and Antennas

Narrative

We are entering a "Wireless Age" and consumers everywhere are jumping on the bandwagon. While there are the obvious benefits of "going wireless", as parents of young children, we are concerned that this technology yet be widely adopted in the school environment. The third objective of the National PTA is to "secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth"; and the California PTA Convention adopted, on May 6, 1994, a resolution on electromagnetic fields (EMF), pertaining solely to power frequencies from electrical power transmission lines and electrical appliances operating at 60 Hertz

Even if we as parents and teachers use cellular phones, we are more cautious about allowing our children to use them. Until basic questions about the health and safety of wireless devices and transmitting antennas are addressed by U.S. public health policymakers, we advise precaution. We all want to provide our children with a bright future. We do not want to later learn we acted without enough information and had neglected our children by treating them like guinea pigs in a giant biological experiment.

Senior Scientist, Norbert Hankin, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Radiation was recently questioned about the health and safety concerns of the wireless computer in the classroom scenario, Mr. Hankin said, "In my personal opinion, I wouldn't do it." He further stated that there are animal studies showing health issues with short-term exposures to non-ionizing microwave. Mr. Hankin expressed concern about children who would be close to transmitting antenna(s) (wireless-laptops, work stations, and base stations) and exposed to prolonged low intensity.

The United Kingdom conducted a review of the scientific literature and recommended precautionary guidelines for children and young people under age sixteen. The U.K.Chief Medical Officer now strongly advises that children "use mobile phones for essential purposes only; and "keep all calls short". The "Stewart Report", upon which the UK based its precautionary policy, is also concerned about cellular base stations on or near schools: "The pattern of radio waves emitted from a base station is generally even, but there is a zone within each cell where the concentration of waves will be slightly higher".

They recommend that concerned schools and parents provide information about the pattern on radio waves" to determine if the main beam crosses school property. In the United States, we have yet to take a position like they have in the U.K. Legislation has been introduced in the California State Legislature and the U.S. Congress to conduct a review of the medical research on radio frequency radiation, and to look at chronic long-term exposure conditions by civilians to cellular antennas but no legislation has yet been successfully enacted.

The wireless communication industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. The number of cell phone users and thus cell phone transmitters (towers or antennas) has increased dramatically over the last decade. Consumer demand for cell phones and uninterrupted cell phone service has prompted the telecommunications industry to look for property to lease or buy from which they are able to mount cell phone transmitters to send and receive signals over a two to ten mile radius. In response to this growing industry, the United States Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While its stated purpose was to encourage competition and limit local regulations on cell tower placement, the Act essentially preempts state and local government authority from discriminating among providers and also from objecting to service providers on the basis of the environmental effects of radio-frequency emissions (Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, section 704).

Telecommunications companies are now actively seeking properties to locate antennas on a lease or sales basis. Communities are increasingly objecting to placement of antennas, particularly lose to schools or homes. Some objections are based on aesthetics, but others are based on the scientific literature that demonstrates that the cellular phone frequencies may be unsafe. This issue has divided many communities in California and around the country. There is an obvious need for remedial legislation to address the state preemption issue and independent research on the human health effects of microwave radiation.

Meanwhile, for precautionary reasons, chronic or excessive exposure to this type of radiation or unsafe use of wireless devices while driving, especially where there are children and youth involved, should be limited.

Resolution on Cellular Phones and Antennas

1. WHEREAS the third objective of the National PTA is to "secure adequate laws for the care and protection of children and youth"; and

2. WHEREAS, the California PTA Convention adopted, on May 6, 1994, a resolution on electromagnetic fields (EMF), pertaining solely to power frequencies from electrical power transmission lines and electrical appliances operating at 60 Hertz and resolved to "seek participation in coalitions to study the effects of electromagnetic fields" and " to educate and inform its districts, councils and units about the potential hazards of EMF and encourage school districts and schools to develop risk reduction policies and continue to disseminate information on the subject as it becomes available"; and

3. WHEREAS the number of cell phone users and services has increased dramatically in California, the United States, and around the world and to. support increasing consumer demand for wireless communications there is a rapid increase in the number of wireless facility sites, antennas and base station equipment, and.

4. WHEREAS the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been interpreted by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) as prohibiting state or local governments from regulating wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with FCC regulations, and

5. WHEREAS there has been legislation in the United Kingdom, the United States Congress and the California State Legislature which addresses the issues of local authority and health concerns as they apply to wireless facility siting and cell phone use, and

6. WHEREAS some schools are considering policies to ban outright or limit use of cellular phones and other wireless mobile devices and are opposing cellular antennas on or near school properties.

7, WHEREAS there is considerable debate in the scientific and medical community regarding the potential effects on humans of the radiofrequency/microwave energy emitted from wireless devices, cellular phones and antennas.

8. WHEREAS, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that radio frequency radiation may be associated with chronic disease and brain dysfunction in a proportion of children who are exposed, as well as slight increases proven in childhood cancers, breast cancers and brain tumors;

Therefore, be it

RESOLVED that there is an outstanding need to evaluate radio frequency radiation research and exposure conditions and that the principle of precaution be followed until this is done as RF exposure conditions at school may have a negative impact on the health and well being of children and youth, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the California PTA encourages a public health review be conducted of the research literature on radio frequency radiation and a determination be made of relative risk based on the precautionary principle in order to give clear and practical guidance to school personnel and parents on preventive and protective strategies to reduce risk, particularly on children, youth and school personnel, many of whom are of childbearing age; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the California PTA supports local municipal zoning setback rules of 1000 feet or more from an operating wireless transmitter and a school or residential area; and be it further

RESOLVED that the California PTA supports encouraging schools to use cable lines for all communications services on campus and to avoid the endorsement, purchase or use of wireless local area network systems on campus; and be it further

RESOLVED that the California PTA recommend that teachers and students should limit use of cellular phones or other mobile devices on school property to emergencies and that cellular phones, pagers and other mobile phones be turned off and placed out of sight while the individual is on school property; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the California PTA supports legislation that would allow state and local authorities to regulate the placement, construction and modification of telecommunications towers and antennas, as well as, legislation to ban the use of commercial cellular phones or other communications devices while operating motor vehicles.

Watch the La School Board Stop Cell Towers. 




"All teachers have the right to work in a safe environment, including the right to work in a Wi-Fi/ wireless-free environment.”

-BC Teacher's Federation



“ We now know that wireless radiation can cause non-thermal biological effects as well, including damage to cells and DNA, even at low levels"

-United Federation of Teachers, New York USA


A healthy work environment is non negotiable for the teachers and staff who care for our children. Several Teacher Unions have passed resolutions and called for the minimization of wireless exposures in their schools. 



 








The United Federation of Teachers (New York) 

"Taking certain precautions around wireless radiation is appropriate for our most vulnerable populations, including pregnant women.”

UFT's New Wireless Radiation Webpage states,  “Wireless radiation is emitted by the myriad of wireless devices we encounter every day. It was once thought to be relatively harmless. However, we now know that wireless radiation can cause non-thermal biological effects as well, including damage to cells and DNA, even at low levels."

Resources Posted:

How to Reduce Exposure by Dr. Moskowitz

Wireless Radiation and Your Baby by the BabySafeProject  


New York State Teacher’s Union  (NYSUT)


"We have enough evidence to justify taking action and we are not willing to wait until our members, their children and the students suffer health consequences from not doing anything,"
 
-Paul Pecorale, Vice President of the New York State United Teachers Union.
Read the Press Release on Best Practices For Schools prepared for NYSUT


Download the Guidelines for Safer Use of Wireless Technology in Classrooms Published for NYSUT

NYSUT hosted a  Webinar: Risks of wireless technologies and protecting children and staff in schools. The Webinar featured Dr. Magda Havas and was hosted by Patti Wood, Executive Director of  Grassroots Environmental Education. Watch it to the left. 




New York:  Wireless Router Labeling All Suffolk Public Buildings/Schools.

12/2014 The Suffolk County Legislature passed legislation to require all county buildings- including Schools-  to post notices that wireless routers are in use such as, "Notice: Wireless technology in use."

The resolution, sponsored by Legis. William Spencer (a physician), warns that every wireless device emits radio frequency radiation or microwave radiation."



Canadian Teacher Federation

2014 The Federation issued The Use of Wi-Fi in Schools - Briefing Document


  • “CTF is concerned about the lack of definitive research regarding the adverse health effects of Wi-Fi...We propose a prudent approach to the use of Wi-Fi, especially where children are present.”


  • “We recommend an education program regarding the relative safety of Wi-Fi exposure and that appropriate resources be developed to educate the public regarding ways to avoid potential exposure risks of Wi-Fi access points and devices.”


2015: Canadian Teacher's Magazine published CTF Sounds the Alarm on Wi-Fi




National Education Association


The National Education Association believes that all educational facilities must have healthy indoor air quality, be smoke-free, be safe from environmental and chemical hazards, and be safe from hazardous electromagnetic fields.”  Section C-19 of the NEA 2013-2014 Resolutions






United Teachers of Los Angeles


March 2013 Resolution passed: “I move that UTLA will abide by current National NEA Policy for Environmentally Safe Schools which states that all employees and stakeholders should be informed when there are changes in their exposure to environmental hazards including electromagnetic radiation and that all stakeholders and the public should be notified of any actual and potential hazards.”


Teacher Accomodation for WiFi: On September 18, 2014 the Los Angeles Unified School District Accommodated a Teacher Who Fell Ill After Wireless Installation. Read the Press Release and watch the video of her testimony to the LAUSD School District.


Other Notable LA Actions

2009 LA School Board Resolution Banning Cell Towers from schools and recommending against WiFi. 

  • "The Board supports responsible deployment of fiberoptic broadband technology which is superior to wireless in speed, reliability, security, durability and protections it affords people and the environment from the potential hazards of exposure to radio frequency radiation."
  • Read the adopted resolution HERE. 


2009 December Resolution Condemning Cell towers NEAR Schools as was this T-Mobile Cell Tower across the street from an elementary school.

Read more  Here 

 

As long as questions exist as to the adequacy of these federal regulations, local governments should have the ability to include consideration of health and environmental effects of these facilities. (referring to cell towers)

Read the motion by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich


2000 Resolution Opposing Cell Tower Placement  on Schools and calling for precautions with wireless. 

  • 'Whereas, Recent studies suggest there is evidence that radio-frequency radiation may produce “health effects” at “very low field” intensities'


Many LA Teachers and Parents are raising concerns that the Wifi IPad program violates California EDUCATION CODE. Read it HERE. 

  • The code states "potential human carcinogens pose a significant danger to the health and safety of school children" and schools should put warning labels on them, dispose of them and use the least toxic alternative . 




The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association

OECTA issued A position statement regarding the use of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation, including WiFi, in the workplace.

  • Recommends a wired infrastructure as WIFI “may present a potential Health and Safety risk or hazard in the workplace...The safety of this technology has not thoroughly been researched and therefore the precautionary principle and prudent avoidance of exposure should be practiced.”

Read the National Post News Story:Ontario Catholic teachers' union recommends pulling plug on W-Fi






Elementary Teacher's Federation of Ontario

"There is cause for concern for members' health and safety, especially women," said Sandra Wash, a teacher representing the Peel district.


ETFO voted to:

  • Turn cell phones off in classrooms
  • Label the location Of Wi-Fi access points.
  • Research Radio Frequency radiation.
  • Develop a hazard control program related to wireless microwave radiation through JHSC.

2014: The Federation issued a position statement supporting  an Expert Panel recommendation that Health Canada provide the public with more information about radiofrequency energy, and the safe use of wireless technology.




BC Teachers Federation

The Federation Adopted Wireless Resolutions and Proposed Resolutions

  • “The BCTF supports members who are suffering from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity by ensuring their medical needs are accommodated in the workplace.”
  • Proposed Resolutions  “the World Health Organization's classification of radiofrequency/electromagnetic fields emitted by wireless devices as a 2B possible cancer risk to humans; that the BCTF ensures all teachers have the right to work in a safe environment, including the right to work in a Wi-Fi/ wireless-free environment.”
  • Recommendation to the Ministry of Education that school boards “begin immediate installation of on/off switches for Wi-Fi routers in schools, thereby reducing microwave radiation exposure and reducing health
  • risks to members, and/or provide safer Ethernet cables or fibre optics”.


Read  Daily News Coverage:Merritt teachers demand protection from wi-fi radiation 'Evidence is piling up that wi-fi radiation may in fact be harmful'


Read the Vancouver Sun News Report Here.



The BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) of 821 Advisory Councils representing over 500,000 parents in British Columbia passed two resolutions.

  • Resolution 17 "calls on each Board of Education to have one public school at each education level that is free of Wi-Fi, cordless phones and cell phones. This school will only be equipped with wired computers and wired telephones for personal, educational and administrative purposes."
  • Resolution 18 calls on Boards of Education to "cease to install Wi-Fi and other wireless networks in schools where other networking technology is feasible." passed with a clear majority.






UK VOICE The Union for Education Professionals

Position Statement
"Voice has advocated that new Wi-Fi systems should not be installed in schools, that existing systems should be turned off when not required and that schools should consider whether they really need to use Wi-Fi, which was developed to facilitate Internet access on the move rather than to be used as a convenient alternative to cables in dedicated IT facilities.”


Read theirBlog post.





Greater Victoria Teachers' Association


"The GVTA recommends a precautionary approach to the School District with regard to provision of wireless internet in schools.

The precautionary approach comes from the environmental movement and has been adopted as common practice in areas regarding potential environmental, ecological or biodiversity damage. It suggests that the lack of significant evidence is not enough of a reason to be unconcerned. The fact that many other countries have instituted regulations to protect children, seniors, pregnant women and other susceptible populations should be the guide for a District policy on WiFi installation and use in the worksites.
"


GVTA Wireless in Schools Webpage states that:

  • Wi-Fi free zones should be available.
  • On/Off routers recommended and  record any adverse Wi-Fi health effects.
  • Minimal or non-use within elementary schools.