WiFi in schools safe – report

Wifi radiofrequency fields in schools do not pose a health risk to children or staff, with exposures many thousands of times lower than the relevant standard, according to a new report from the Ministry of Health.

LappyThe report, Snapshot Study: WiFi in Schools, was released by the Ministry on Thursday, and presents the results of measurements of exposures to radiofrequency (RF) fields from WiFi in two New Zealand schools, both from the access points and devices themselves.

“Exposures to WiFi signals in New Zealand schools, both from the access points and devices, are very low,” the report states. “On this basis WiFi in schools does not pose a health risk to children or staff.”

The results were compared to the current New Zealand Standards for exposure to radiofrequency fields and international research.

“Generally, exposures were 10,000 times lower than the level specified for the public by the Standard,” said Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew on releasing the report. “At their maximum, exposures were approximately 4,000 times lower than the standard.”

“These levels are similar to what a person would be exposed to when walking down a main city street. These results are consistent with data published by the British Health Protection Agency and Industry Canada. These also measured exposures and concluded they were so low, they do not pose a health risk.”

The issue of Wifi safety in schools was raised last year following media reports of a school removing wifi from its classrooms and publicity from New Zealand-based lobby group Safer Wireless Technology New Zealand Incorporated. SMC-collected commentary on the issue can be found here.

The report has revived national media coverage. Examples include:

3 News: WiFi in schools safe for kids – MOH
Radio New Zealand: Father not reassured by WiFi report
NZ City News: WiFi in schools safe, ministry says
Radio New Zealand: Ministry report confirms WiFi is safe
Dominion Post: Wi-Fi safe for schools – report