Wi-Fi in schools: Alberta parents debate its safety

A group of parents have proposed a list of recommendations to limit the use of Wi-Fi in the classroom.

Concerns that radiation emitted from routers could harm children

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified the radiation emitted from Wi-Fi as 'possibly carcinogenic to humans.' (CBC)

Some Alberta parents are concerned about Wi-Fi in schools and the effect it could have on their children's health.

"I started investigating into this issue a few years ago and I quickly learned that many many medical organizations have put out warning and cautions about this issue," said Edmonton parent and teacher Marcey Kliparchuk.

Wi-Fi uses radio frequency (RF) signals to relay information wirelessly.

Kliparchuk says there is a growing public concern that radiation emitted from RF signals can cause cancer, leukemia and autism.

"I'm not a scientist, however I am looking at the science," said Kliparchuk.

She quotes a 2011 study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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The study classified RF electromagnetic fields among 284 other agents that are "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

Falling in the same category is lead, DDT, pickles and coffee.

"Even if these frequencies are in the same category as coffee we wouldn't force-feed children coffee eight hours day," said Kliparchuk.

She is part of a concerned parent group have proposed a list of recommendations to limit the use of Wi-Fi in the classroom.

  • Install switches in classrooms to allow routers to be turned off when they're not in use. 
  • Setting Wi-Fi systems so radiation levels are as low as possible.
  • Alberta school boards, parent and teacher associations work together to support a provincial symposium regarding the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools

Kliparchuk says these suggestions will be put forward in a resolution that will be debated at the Alberta School Councils' Association's annual meeting in Edmonton from April 24-26. The organization is partners with the Alberta School Boards Association and the Alberta Teachers' Association.

If supported, the parents' association will lobby the province to implement the changes.