Good Science in Plain Language

Wi-Fi in Schools: Should you be worried about your kids?

Header

Wi-Fi in Schools: Should you be worried about your kids?

 

Everywhere you go it’s getting easier and easier to connect to the Internet. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops can all connect via Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi access is common all around us at coffee shops, restaurants and stores. This connected trend is also at schools, with many setting up or expanding Wi-Fi services. But is there anything to worry about? Are kids at risk from being exposed to Wi-Fi?

 

WHAT IS A WI-FI? 

Wi-Fi allows devices to wirelessly connect to the Internet as well as communicate with each other. It uses electromagnetic fields (EMF) to send and receive signals. This is similar to how radios receive their signals from transmission towers, but in this case, the transmitter is in close proximity, is much smaller and has a much weaker signal. These electromagnetic fields are a form of very low energy radiation, like visible light, but at much lower energy.

IS WI-FI DANGEROUS? 

There are concerns that exposure to EMF could increase the risk of developing cancer. Extensive studies have been conducted to determine if this is the case. There has been no conclusive link between EMF exposure and the development of cancer. It is known that exposure to high enough levels of EMF can cause tissues in the body to heat up. Industry Canada has taken measurements to determine how much exposure people receive from the EMF emitted by Wi-Fi. The exposure levels were compared to limits set in Safety Code 6, Health Canada’s guideline for radiofrequency exposure. This guideline has set the public exposure limit 50 times below the level at which any significant tissue heating would occur and there would be no adverse health effects. The maximum exposure level found by Industry Canada at 20 cm from a Wi-Fi access point (transmitter) was 10.59% of the exposure limit set by Health Canada in Safety Code 6. Typically in schools, children will be several meters away from an access point, in which case the exposure would be thousands of times below the Safety Code 6 limits, as exposure decreases rapidly with distance.

STAY CONNECTED WITHOUT WORRY? 

Wi-Fi can allow for the use of a diverse range of tools to enhance the learning environment. The exposure to EMF due to Wi-Fi is minimal and there is no need for parents to worry about sending their children to a Wi-Fi enabled school.

RESOURCES

To learn more, read Industry Canada’s Case Study: Measurements of Radiofrequency Exposure from Wi-Fi Devices: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf10383.html and Health Canada’s Safety Code 6: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/pdf/consult/_2014/safety_code_6-code_securite_6/final-finale-eng.pdf

Share

Feature

New! Study Radiation Safety Online.

Questions about Radiation?

Free Radiation Safety Inquiry Service answering questions about radiation.

1-800-263-5803
info@radiationsafety.ca

News

Radiation and Prevention of Occupational Cancers – Every Effort Counts

What we want to keep in focus are potential risks posed by radiation in a typical Canadian workplace. According to the International Labour Organization an estimated 609,000 work-related cancer deaths occur worldwide each year, it still amounts to one work-related cancer death every 52 seconds.

read more

National Day of Mourning: Avoiding tragedy with a commitment to prevention and passion for action.

April 28th is our opportunity to honour our colleagues who have died or suffered a disabling injury on the job.

read more

The Canadian Light Source to Host RSIC Radiation Safety Officer Courses 2017

Radiation Safety Officer (RSO-1) and Radiation Safety Officer Refresher (RSO-2) courses at the Canadian Light Source.

read more