Wireless Radiation In Schools Debacle – the Case of LAUSD

LAUSD’s Big Mistake Updated
In case you missed it, below are relevant video excerpts from the L.A. Unified School District meeting when the use wireless technologies in schools was discussed and voted on. First, some background.

The LAUSD is the largest school district in California and one of the largest in the world. During the 2011-2012 school year, LAUSD served 662,140 students, and had 45,473 teachers and 38,494 other employees and is the second largest employer in Los Angeles county. The wireless industries were watching what was decided.

The issue was whether or not to spend 50 million dollars to begin a $500 million project on wi-fi and computer tablets that only operate wirelessly.

This is part of the ‘common core technology plan’ that purports to eradicate the ‘digital divide’ and bring schools up to date.

The Board, in its wisdom, voted in favor of irradiating students, staff and employees in the interest of better education.

Southern California activists made an heroic effort to solicit letters from experts warning of the dangers to the children and staff.

It doesn’t appear that the letters, from scientists and experts and concerned citizens were ever read.

Cindy Sage’s excellent letter summarizes the situation well. Joel Moskowitz’s letter also. [See below.]

What was used by the LAUSD board was a report by an outfit called URS who told them that the radiation was okay.

URS has contracts with BP, Dow, DuPont, Monsanto, PG&E (Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant), Lawrence Livermore Lab, and lots with the military. [Thanks to Isis Feral for this research.]

They are involved in engineering and construction (like dams and pipelines – ‘infrastructure’, ‘development’), and their ‘technical services’ apparently include ‘studies’ – producing documentation that government agencies can use to justify spending obscene amounts of money on really damaging activities. For example, they authored the Environmental Impact Statement for the USDA Forest Service which resulted in a power line encroaching on sensitive habitat in Appalachia.

They are also involved in military training, such as the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative, which has conducted a number of ‘Urban Shield’ exercises around Oakland, where cops and soldiers play war around town. Urban Shield even uses volunteer mock protesters to practice on.

They also build hospitals and schools. The latter may be why they’re particularly interested in what happens in LA. They were also involved in building a wireless facility at a community college in Ohio.

[See also: LAUSD approves $50M for computer tablets
By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer – Daily News ]

Cindy Sage, editor of the BioInitiative Report, had this to say in her letter to the Board:

It is my professional opinion the LAUSD should implement Common Core Technology goals to ‘reduce the Digital Divide’ and to provide all LAUSD students with 21st century learning tools and environments by choosing wired (cable, fiber optic) methods rather than wireless technology systems. The LAUSD will place hundreds of thousands of school children at risk for illness, learning impairments and other health problems by choosing a delivery technology that produces a toxic emission (radiofrequency and microwave radiation) that has recently been classified as a Possible Human Carcinogen. It is in the best interest of the District, its Board, and the children, teachers and staff the District protects to provide healthy and safe school environments. These interests are best served if the District takes account of clear evidence of possible wireless health risks, and rejects the proposed program for wireless classrooms within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Failing to select wired over wireless technologies will needlessly expose hundreds of thousands of school children, as well as faculty and staff of LAUSD to massive new and unnecessary RFR exposures that are already designated as a Possible Human Carcinogen. The LAUSD should halt its current plan to provide wireless learning environments (wireless devices and WI-FI coverage). Instead, the Board should adopt programs to expand wired internet infrastructure and “EMF/RFR best practices” including the use of wired (CAT-6 or other), cable modem internet, or fiber optic connections instead that do not produce toxic exposures. [ Full letter in PDF ]

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, in his letter, warned the Board,

Based upon my review of the research of the health effects associated with exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR), especially microwave radiation, I feel compelled to register my concern that adoption of Wi-Fi in LAUSD classrooms is likely to put at risk the health of many students and employees in the District.

The precautionary principle should be applied to this critical policy decision. This principle, developed at a U.N. environmental conference in 1992, states that in the absence of scientific consensus if an action has a suspected risk of causing harm, the burden of proof it is not harmful falls on those taking the action, and all reasonable measures to reduce the risk must be taken.

Internet access can be provided to students through wires or optical fiber without installing Wi-Fi in the classrooms.

EON’s Mary Beth Brangan’s letter said in part:

Many children in each classroom all downloading wirelessly will exponentially increase the exposure to harmful radiation to each child from the RF emitted in transmission to each wireless device. The URS report’s recommended level is already many hundreds of times higher than what is promoted in the BioInitiative Report 2012 as a standard. Additionally, the report refers to the levels emitted by the WLANs, not from each child’s device. [ Full letter in PDF here. ]

Toni Stein,Ph.D., West Coast Program Director of Environmental Health Trust, wrote:
“…And The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in on this issue. Chairman Robert Block M.D. wrote to the FCC urging reconsideration and review of standards specifically noting that:

‘Children, however, are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation. In fact, according to [the International Agency for Research on Cancer], when used by children, the average RF energy deposition is two times higher in the brain and 10 times higher in the bone marrow of the skull, compared with mobile phone use by adults.'”

LAUSD Excerpts Pt. 1 – Staff Comments on Wireless
This Staff Comments on wireless technology segment of the Feb. 12, 2013 LA Unified School District Board meeting is re-posted as a public service.

LAUSD Excerpts Pt. 2 – Public Comments on Wireless
This Public Comments on wireless technology segment of the Feb. 12, 2013 LA Unified School District Board meeting is re-posted as a public service.

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