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Manawatu school removes wi-fi over cancer fear

Two Manawatu fathers have won a major battle in their fight to have wi-fi removed from their local school, TVNZ reports.

Fathers Damon Wyman and David Bird have been leading a campaign to remove the wireless networking from Te Horo School and replace it with cable-based internet due to concerns it could cause cancer and other health problems.

Science Media Centre manager Peter Griffin says the death of Te Horo pupil Ethan Wyman from a brain tumour was a tragedy for his family, friends and school mates, but that to blame it on wi-fi is wrong.

Mr Griffin notes there is no evidence anywhere in peer-reviewed literature to suggest wi-fi signals pose an elevated risk of developing brain cancers.

The fathers say they are getting a broad range of support, however. "We've been inundated from health professionals from all around the world, and so have the board, all expressing their concern with wi-fi, and advocated for it to be removed from our school," Mr Wyman, told the TVNZ.

In a statement, the Te Horo School board said it would take wi-fi out of junior classes and replace it with ethernet cable. However, wi-fi will not be removed from the senior school due to the wishes of parents who were surveyed on the issue.

The board says it shares the government's view that wi-fi is safe.

"We have sourced information from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and other submissions," the board's statement says.

"Based on this information the board believes that Wi-Fi does not pose a health risk to staff or students."

My Wyman and Mr Bird continue to advocate for the total removal of the system at Te Horo School.

Comments and questions

What is the world coming to? Another lot of do-gooders with no brains. Good on the school for giving the older kids the choice.

You know how everyone laughs at the dumb creationists in America? We'll now this story has been picked up internationally. New Zealand's reputation will be damaged if ignorant fools are allowed to make decisions like this one. Doesn't the school have a science teacher?

Unusually,there are no moths at night when I leave my outdoor lights on, there are very few flies and I don't see many bees, hmmm seems strange doesn't it? Do you think perhaps the wifi towers have anything to do with it which have exploded in the Greenlane/Ellerslie area in the last year?

You don't need to be a scientist to work it out, some people have lost that special sense called "AWARENESS"

The health risk of WiFi may be questionable. Children (for that matter Adults) need exercise also, and wifi is hardly going to encourage this.

As a parent, my main concern is children spending too much time on the internet. While the children are not aware of the social consequences, I believe alot of parents are.

A balanced approach would be having access to the internet via a desk top computer. At least that way you can monitor usage.

I am of the opinion Mr Wyman & Mr Bird intentions are good, however may only be half right.

Wifi doesn't necessarily mean internet, it can be used for the local area network as well, and it may be there for the teachers rather than the students, to for example record attendances or access teaching materials. The main reason for choosing wifi rather than cable is that it is cheaper to set up than getting someone to drill holes in the walls for cable.

We should ban chairs too then, because they don't encourage exercise.

Every time I read or hear "as a parent..." I actually read: "as someone who is about to talk out of their #%^*.."

Once again, I'm correct in that assumption. We should ban wifi because kids aren't exercising? Ban futons and la-z-boys! Our kids are unfit fattys!

Its not my kids or me that you have to be concerned about, its the masses. I've already picked up 100+ plums and cleaned the pool this morning.

Society is sitting down in front of some form of computer for way too long.

Maybe you're right, let the masses do what is easy. I suspect you dont give a bugger about the wider effects it has on society.

I hope they are now campaigning to switch off the sun due to all the electromagnetic energy coming from it. And I am sure they have already thrown away their cellphones and are petitioning for all cell phone towers to be removed.

> are petitioning for all cell phone towers to be removed.

No they only petition for cell phone towers within half a mile of their house to be removed. Others need to stay so they can use their phones.

I trust these parents will not allow the children to use mobile phones or sit in front of the TV?

Or worse still, to get into a bed with an electric blanket on.

Or stand near power lines. Or use the microwave. Or listen to the radio. Or wear earphones. Or ride on an electric train.

The Luddites are multiplying, whether they be vaccines are evil, fluoride will poison us, or electromagnetic waves will fry our brains and give us cancer varieties. Compromising to facilitate idiocy is something that no school or Government department should do.

I was going to respond but have just heard that there is a witch-burning in Te Horo later today, so I'm going to that instead.

Time for Messrs Wyman and Bird to don their tin foil hats!

A face palm, but yet what if they stumble onto some science we didn't know about before? Maybe Wi-Fi is really bad for our health? Ha ha, just kidding.

Let me guess, they don't teach Science there.

Maybe instead of removing the wifi, the school should make available a nice conical tin-foil hat, free of charge, to the children of those parents who request it.

A recent science experiment from some 9th grade girls from Denmark has shown that plants die/will not grow next to Wi-fi routers. Simply search for "Plants die next to Wi-fi" and there it is along with many other examples of this. This technology has not been proven to be safe in any studies to humans. And when it is claimed to be perfectly safe, ask for studies which prove these statements. There are none. Someone simply saying it is safe is not enough. We live in a Wi-fi soup and at the very least we must ask questions and EXPECT studies to back up claims of safety. Myself and many others I know experience sensitivity to such technology including headaches, fatigue and tingling in the face, heating up of face, among just a few examples. Many experience symptoms but have yet to connect the dots. As with so many other things claimed as "safe" we will find out the hard way. We are the guinea pigs for these technologies. With diseases such as cancer, ADHD, Autism to name but a few, on the rise significantly in recent years, we have every right to question these technologies thrust upon us which we are told are safe. I do not for one second feel any of this is going to have a happy ending. Until I can clearly see with certain proof that wireless tech is safe to humans long term, I will not subject myself or my family to it in our home and will not have my children attending schools with Wi-fi. It's bad enough that we are exposed to it everywhere else.

Yes, do read that "Plants die next to Wi-fi" "study". This was a pair of 9th graders who put some weeds in a room with Wi-Fi and some more weeds in a room without Wi-Fi. They stated that hte lighting in both rooms was the same and that both groups of plants received the same water. There was no mention of control for air movement, air temperature, security around the test plants to prevent tampering, control for other forms of RF energy, etc.

Perhaps most importantly, there has been no repeatability. If the conclusions drawn from this study are correct. Anyone should be able to put the same plant in a room with Wi-Fi and watch it die within a week. I live in an apartment complex with no less than 20 Wi-Fi networks in range of several plants that are doing just fine. Note, this is not scientifically valid evidence that Wi-Fi is harmless to plants, but it sure is contradictory evidence to the original study conclusion that Wi-Fi is harmful.

Also of interest to you: the symptoms you experience around Wi-Fi are real. You are not crazy. But they are not caused by Wi-Fi, they are caused by you believing they are caused by Wi-Fi. It's called the "nocebo effect." And in contrast to the study performed by 9th graders you cited, this has actually been extensively studied/documented by the scientific community.

What a load of hog wash.
There are 5 WiFi routers detectable in my lounge ... Including the one in my lounge which has a pot plant growing prefusly right next to it..
Also all the plants in my garden are growing like mad....

The death is a tragedy but they too guys are confusing correlation with causation....

Why deny a whole school a very useful tool over dodgy Pseudo science ....

Yes, Remove wifi and dont vaccinate your kids!!!!!!! the government control people with a chip inserted on the vaccinated using wifi waves!!!!

Have they heard of the term "Non-Ionizing" ?

Even a marginally educated person would understand that radio ER has as much chance of ionizing (causing change) in non-metallic matter is akin to knocking a concrete wall down with a ping pong ball. Just not enough energy

Nice to know the US doesn't have monopoly on folks who think their opinions should have the same weight as facts in public discussion. For the school to accede to the wishes of these fathers who haven't offered any evidence that this child's cancer wasn't caused by some other environmental factor, not only inconveniences lots of other people for no purpose, it also diminishes the whole idea of "truth'. Far an educational institution to do this tells kids that everything they're being taught is just the version that makes the most people feel good and might or might not have anything to do with reality. Good way to reduce educators to babysitters.

So NZ has it's share of morons, just like the rest of the world.

Do these cretins know that coffee emits microwaves ?
By Kirchoff's law (basic physics, you know the stuff they sat at the back of the class giggling and ignoring) , any object above absolute zero emits microwaves.

...and GAMMA rays, yes the things that created THE INCREDIBLE HULK are emitted by cups of coffee.

Do these twats want all objects above absolute zero banned from the school ?

The flux from the transmitters on Mount Kaukau put 1000 times the RF energy across the classroom. I don't hear a cry to shut them down.

Research Neil Cherry and Ouruhia if you wish to learn about what happens to people who live beside Radio masts.

People in the Ouruhia area became very ill for no apparent reason. It was later discovered that the nearby AM radio mast had FM transmitters attached. The residents took on the Canterbury Regional Council and the Radio Network to try and have the FM transmitters removed. They lost, many people had to leave the area as they were so sickened by the FM transmitters and some died of unusual illnesses. This was well documented by Canterbury Scientist Neil Cherry.

No one is suggesting abolishing the technology, only that NZ have at least the same levels of protection as many other countries.
The scientists of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP), who unlike their western counterparts ICNIRP, are NOT covertly funded, say "(they), recommend the usage of wired networks in schools and educational institutions rather than a network using wireless broadband systems, including Wi-Fi."
The Bio Intiative Report contains over 3,000 peer-reviewed studies showing change/harm to plants, insects and humans from the low-level non-ionising radiation and was compiled by 29 highly qualified scientists.
For the first time ever, brain cancer is the leading cancer killer of children. The Cancer Council of NSW has this to say, "Brain cancer is the leading cause of death in young people and accounts for more than one thrid of cancer deaths in children aged under 10."
Across the world, since man-made EMFs began to proliferate many diseases and conditions have increased dramatically (for a comprehensive list, refer to the Freiburger Appeal, signed by 100s of health professionals). For example, since 1998, when phonemasts began to proliferate, Lymphoma (a cancer of the blood) has increased by a whopping 30% in NZ. Disturbingly, the telcos have refused a sign guarantee (Titahi Bay and Waiheke Island), that there will be no health effects for people living in proximity to masts and insurance companies refuse to insure against effects.
If the person writing about the sun's radiation had bothered to do the research first they would have discovered that the beam of greatest intensity from a mast is over one million, million times stronger than natural radiation. It was calculated (on a BBC panorama programme), that a fully wi-fi classroom is radiated at three times the level of the beam of highest intensity from a mast.

That's simply not correct.

The US National Cancer Institute finds no increase in incidents of childhood brain cancer since the mid-80s:

"Long-term trends in incidence for leukemias and brain tumors, the most common childhood cancers, show patterns that are somewhat different from the others. Incidence of childhood leukemias appeared to rise in the early 1980s, with rates increasing from 3.3 cases per 100,000 in 1975 to 4.6 cases per 100,000 in 1985. Rates in the succeeding years have shown no consistent upward or downward trend and have ranged from 3.7 to 4.9 cases per 100,000 (2).

For childhood brain tumors, the overall incidence rose from 1975 through 2004, from 2.3 to 3.2 cases per 100,000 (2), with the greatest increase occurring from 1983 through 1986. An article in the September 2, 1998, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that the rise in incidence from 1983 through 1986 may not have represented a true increase in the number of cases, but may have reflected new forms of imaging equipment (magnetic resonance imaging or MRI) that enabled visualization of brain tumors that could not be easily visualized with older equipment (3). Other important developments during this time period included the changing classification of brain tumors, which resulted in tumors previously designated as “benign” being reclassified as “malignant,” and improvements in neurosurgical techniques for biopsying brain tumors. Regardless of the explanation for the increase in incidence that occurred from 1983 to 1986, childhood brain tumor incidence has been essentially stable since the mid-1980s."

In terms of the sun's radiation, perhaps they did do the research first. The facts speak for themselves:

"The ground-level power densities near typical cellular towers are on the order of 10 mW per sq meter or less while the sun radiates about 250,000 mW per sq meter average per 24 hour day which means, that during the day it's even much more. The radiation from the sun on the earth is about 25,000 times more than the radiation under a cell-site (cell phone tower) per sq meter.

The total power output of a Wi-Fi is about 100mW. if it would have been in the frequency range of visible light it would be equal to 0.0117 lux, that about the amount of electromagnetic energy a quarter moon at night would produce."

(Source: - not the best source, but explains it well)

For a roundup of some other science on the issue, see "Wifi and tinfoil hats: an evidential approach"

Not too sure about the sunlight analogy as the ionising UV in sunlight causes cancer and looking directly at the sun causes blindness. Not too sure about the moonlight analogy as well as that is just reflected sunlight.

The below from the US National Cancer Institute shows increasing cancer rates in children.
"Over the past 20 years, there has been some increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 per 100,000 children in 2004."

I suggest you lookup the 2012 Bioiniative report if you are eager to learn.

i would like someone to explain to me how non-ionizing radiation can affect living cells. from a scientific/physics point of view. science is about explaining cause and effect, not about the compilation of a bunch of studies.

Not too sure who defined that "science is about explaining cause and effect".

The cause of gravity remains illusive yet the effect of gravity is known and measured.

Therefore just because we do not know the mechanism of how non-ionizing radiation may cause cancer does not mean that we cannot measure the effects.

Exactly Stephanie. A great and well informed comment. In most other parts of the world the people are now well aware of the dangers of constant exposure to such technology. There are now hundreds and thousands of studies clearly showing detrimental effects on plants, animals and humans. The insinuation that anyone who dares question such technology should wear a tin foil hat is absurd and makes little sense in regard to such important information. Erring on the side of caution by wiring in as opposed to wirelessly transmitting is sensible in the absence of any long term studies proving safety. These are our children! And with cancers and other health issues on an enormous and steady increase it would be ignorant of all of us to not ask questions and do some research into the safety of these EMF's being pumped out at us daily literally everywhere. Because this onslaught is newly introduced technology in the scheme of things, there are NO long term results or studies available. The only place one can find anything claiming that this is safe, is by those who seek to profit from it. Yet they can only make statements and offer no long term science to back up their claims. How do I know this? Because I have asked on countless occasions for links and copies of the studies they are claiming exist. I have yet to be able to find anything and no one is able to provide me with these studies. What I can find, however, are literally thousands of documents, studies, experiments showing adverse effects to exposure. When these people touting safety are presented with these documents they do not even know how to respond as it doesn't fit into the script they read from. We are the long term study folks. Us and our children.

Please explain to me how microwaves cause cancer. Please.

Non-ionzing radiation can only cause harm to cells by heating them up, which is not a concern with WiFi routers as they do not have any appreciable power.

You are talking out of your ass and promoting hysteria instead of reason.

There is no need to be insulting. The bioinitiative report contains the most thorough review on RF EMF available.

This report?

"In December 2008 the Australian Centre for Radiofrequency Bioeffects Research (ACRBR) reviewed the BioInitiative Report and concluded:

Overall we think that the BioInitiative Report does not progress science, and would agree with the Health Council of the Netherlands that the BioInitiative Report is “not an objective and balanced reflection of the current state of scientific knowledge”. As it stands it merely provides a set of views that are not consistent with the consensus of science, and it does not provide an analysis that is rigorous-enough to raise doubts about the scientific consensus."

I feel sorry for the father that lost his child to cancer.

He's now embarked upon a mission to save the world from the dangers of cellular technology, and there will be no amount of evidence, or absence of evidence that will be able to convince him that his mission is misguided.

But wi-fi is NOT ionizing radiation (ultra-violet, gamma rays and x-rays) so the only way it will affect your body is by heating it up like a microwave does to food.

However, wi-fi is very low powered, about 0.1 watts for a wi-fi router (600 times less than a 60 watt lightbulb) which is why wi-fi signals fall off rapidly over small distances, and about 5,000 to 10,000 times less than the sun.

The facts are that there is significantly more radiation produced by the sun, lightbulbs, tv screens, microwaves, cordless phones and cellphones and just about every electrical device emits something.

On the scale of 1 to ANYTHING ... localised wi-fi is at the 1 end of radiation emitting devices. Removing wi-fi from a school simply removes a technology and stunts a child's educational growth.

But as I said at the start - it's an emotive issue for this Dad and his heartfelt belief and pleas will attract some sympathy and possible uncertainty from the technically uncertain.

Maybe long term exposure of children to electromagnetic radiation does have some non-thermal effect on cells. Perhaps the DNA repair mechanisms within some cells cannot keep up with the rate of damage to the DNA.

It took about 40 years to establish the causal link between cigarette smoking and cancer long after strong statistical evidence suggested there was a link. We may have a similar problem with long term exposure to electromagnetic radiation and childhood leukemia as suggested by the references below:

Adult and Childhood Leukemia near a High-Power Radio Station in Rome, Italy
Paola Michelozzi, Alessandra Capon, Ursula Kirchmayer, Francesco Forastiere, Annibale Biggeri,
Alessandra Barca, and Carlo A. Perucci, 2002, American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol.155, No. 12

Vatican Radio is Told to Pay Out Over Transmitter Cancer Risk, March 17, 2011

I read that report about Rome, and what is striking about it is the number of times the authors insist that THERE IS NO CAUSATION to be inferred from the results, and the other studies they quote are also preceded by the same warning: NO CAUSATION CAN BE INFERRED.

>>For the first time ever, brain cancer is the leading cancer killer of children.

1. Citation please.
2. If so, does that mean there is a higher incidence of brain cancer, or that other cancers are treated more successfully?

I'm not going to weigh in on the arguments for or against, however, one point which has been missed is that it is probably not the WiFi access point which is the root cause but rather the equipment (computer, phone etc.) which is using the WiFi and is in close proximity to the user which is far more likely to be the cause of the problem as it is probably much less than a metre from the user compared to the many metres or even tens of metres that the access point is from them. If, for instance, the access point is 5 metres from the user and the device being used is half a metre from them, then the effective radiation from the local device (assuming that each can emit the same power) would be 100 times as much (inverse square law). If there is a second device also about half a metre away, this doubles the difference. So,, it is probably the devices being used with the WiFi system which are the problem, not the access point itself.

I think that the mobile phones that so many of us carry are far more of a problem than a WiFi access point, considering that we place them right next to our heads when using them and that they put out far more power than any WiFi device.

Proximity is irrelevant. It's the cumulative effect of being constantly bombarded by the radiation.

Why not home school your kids and let the majority utilise technology to aid their learning. But unplug the toaster first

WHO/IARC categorised RF EMF as a class 2B Carcinogen: “Possibly carcinogenic to humans” There is some evidence that it can cause cancer in humans but at present it is far from conclusive.

NZ should be adopting a precautionary standard and cabling in WIFI until such time as WHO/IARC advises that RF EMF is 100% safe. Many countries like Italy, Sweden , Russia, China have much safer RF EMF standards to NZ.

It is proven to be dangerous to health. What kind of a parent would risk exposing their kids to radiation?