The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg, is calling for a ban on mobile phones and WiFi in schools after examining evidence that wireless technologies had ‘potentially harmful’ effects on humans. A major study found that the electromagnetic radiation generated may be harmful for children’s developing brains. The evidence found that immediate action was required to protect children and it calls for measures to reduce exposure to ‘potentially harmful’ electromagnetic fields.
A draft resolution from the EU’s Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs said: ‘Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.’
To put this in balance, the World Health Organisation had previously stated that such exposure to electromagnetic fields posed little or no risk to human health. So an immediate ban is, of course, unlikely but the debate will no doubt gather pace and this may increase pressures on schools and education authorities to take unilateral action.
Banning mobile phone use within schools may not be too difficult to implement (perhaps more difficult to police). However, a ban or reduction on WiFi could be a greater issue due to the growing number of wireless devices and laptops within schools. We have seen in a previous blog how VLC compares with WiFi and have seen that is can be a low cost, secure and green alternative.
If a school is considering new energy efficient lighting to save on energy bills, they might also seriously consider the use of visible light communications to reduce radio frequency electromagnetic radiation within the building.