The French State decreed, as of February 2015, the termination of WiFi networks in daycare/nurseries and also restricted their use in primary schools only for the period of digital education. This is the result of an unprecedented movement that has raised awareness of protecting children from potential radiation damage, despite the scientific controversy that exists.
Italy, Switzerland, and Israel also have set lower exposure limits in schools, as have some schools in Canada and England. The fact is that many studies consider that during pregnancy or in children up to seven years of age there is greater exposure to the possible harmful effects of radiation on the brain and bone marrow because the tissues that surround these organs (skin and bone) are more permeable.
For the various anti-radiation associations, this type of legislation is only a first step towards legal recognition of the need to regulate the development of mobile communications and all wireless technologies.
Portugal is still studying the file
The Portuguese authorities, Anacom, the Ministry of Health and the Government, just limit themselves to carrying out studies on the subject and only comply with international standards. In the European Union, the limits adopted for Electromagnetic Radiation of Telecommunications Networks (ERTN) are recommended by the International Commission for the Protection of Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP), an independent organism recognized by the WHO, based on the thermal effect of radiation. These limits have, according to many Portuguese experts, a margin of safety 50 times lower than the limit from which health effects can be detected.
Luís Correia, Power Engineering Professor, since 3 decades in the Instituto Superior Técnico and Researcher of the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering has been studying the issues related to telecommunications for more than 16 years, devalues the controversy.
For the engineer, in statements to the Expresso (edition 10/10/2015), “what is at issue is not the number of sources we have around us, but the intensity of the radiation. This intensity is regulated by a recommendation of ICNIRP, an organization of the World Health Organization, which has set a maximum value of 28 volts/meter as a limit to which people can be exposed without risk continuously.” Luís Correia argues that there is no problem with electromagnetic emissions – as long as the minimum limits allowed by law are met. In his opinion, “the ban approved in France has no technical-scientific support, even because WiFi emits very low powers (0.1 watts).”
Luís Correia also leads a team that developed the FAQtos program, funded by telecommunications companies, which aims to provide relevant information on electromagnetic radiation in mobile communications (See here).
On the other hand, the pediatrician Mário Cordeiro, quoted by the magazine Visão (05/05/2016), is more cautious: “Children have a finer bone wall [in the head] than an adult, and the so-called resonance effect makes that the microwaves penetrate in a deeper way, making the higher radiation level reaching the brain.” As such, the doctor recommends caution, even if there is no evidence and advises parents not to let children under 12 years of age talk more than “two or three minutes at a time on the mobile phone”.
This warning joins many other voices, including scientists who call for current legal limits to be revised downwards as they believe we are playing with fire.
Europe bets on free internet access
By 2020, the main public spaces of European cities will now have free wireless internet access. The WiFi4EU project will be funded by the European Union after the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament have reached a political agreement in early June 2017. By 2020, 120 million euros will be invested to buy the necessary equipment to install a free WiFi network, in six to eight thousand municipalities in the Member States.
However, it is still necessary to create the system from which the municipalities will be able to apply for this project. The European Commission promises that this will be “a simple, non-bureaucratic process” and provides for a total reach of 40 to 50 million connections per day.
The aim will be to “respond to the increasing connectivity needs of European citizens and increase Europe’s competitiveness”.
The vice president responsible for the Digital Single Market said he wants to “build a fully-fledged Europe where all people have access to high-quality digital networks.” Andrus Ansip says there are still challenges ahead, notably with a view to “improving spectrum coordination at European level and stimulating investments in high-capacity networks that Europe needs.”
However, consumers are already beginning to demand neutral spaces without communication, that is, free of electromagnetic waves.
Tips on how to protect yourself from radiation
- Turn off the WiFi network when you sleep and all devices that use this technology.
- Keep electrical appliances that emit electromagnetic waves away from our body to avoid as much exposure as possible.
- In the case of mobile phones use the loudspeaker system or headset.
- When working with a tablet or laptop, be careful that it should not be supported on the body, as the microwave can affect, for example, the reproductive organs.
- Prevent children from talking on the phone.
- Pregnant women should avoid large exposures to electromagnetic waves as it affects their bodies and their baby’s.
- Special attention should be paid to the side and back areas of televisions and computers, as this is where electromagnetic waves reach higher levels.
- There are special fabric curtains with copper and silver wires that block the radiation.
- Walls can be painted with special carbon-based inks, which cut more than 99% of the radiation coming in from the outside.
- There are special filters to put in the power outlets, which clean and block dirty electricity.
- In the kitchen eliminate the microwave and opt for the gas.
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