By Christine Galeone, Contributing Writer
Region – Did you know that there are scientific studies that link radiofrequency radiation (RFR) with certain diseases and medical conditions? When Cecelia Doucette became aware of them, the discovery opened her eyes to the dangers of cell phones and other wireless devices.
“I worked with my own school district first, Ashland Public Schools, after I discovered wireless technology is linked – in the peer-reviewed published scientific literature – to our skyrocketing rates of child and adult cancers, autism, Alzheimer’s, infertility…irregular heartbeats, anxiety, depression, behavior issues…and more,” Doucette said. “Ashland became the first in the nation to begin reducing exposure by posting Best Practices for Mobile Devices in all of its classrooms.”
Through Wireless Education, www.wirelesseducation.org, the nonprofit she created, she provides schools and organizations with ways to reduce levels of microwave radiation exposure. The Grafton Planning Board, Southborough Board of Health, Worcester Public Schools and the Shrewsbury Library are among the local entities that have invited her to give presentations.
At the Shrewsbury Library presentation, “Questioning the Safety of Our Children’s Exposure to Radiation in School,” Doucette was joined by Ronald Melnick, PhD, the designer of a U.S. National Institutes of Health National Toxicology Program (NTP) RFR study; Harvard pediatric neurologist Dr. Martha Herbert, executive director of the Environmental Health Trust; Theodora Scarato; Dr. David Carpenter, a World Health Organization advisor; and Frank Clegg, the retired president of Microsoft Canada. From these experts and others, Doucette has learned what people and schools, in particular, can do to decrease RFR exposure.
She shared the following recommendations:
- Never use a device on your body: Doucette said, “I think one of the greatest surprises to all of us is that even the manufacturers, in their fine print, tell us to keep transmitting devices away from our bodies or risk exceeding the FCC’s limits for public radiation exposure.”
- Turn off the Wi-Fi and wireless devices when not in use: If you need to use your device but don’t need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, you can put your device in airplane mode and turn off its wireless antennas. “The NTP study was done on cell phones, and another large study at Italy’s Ramazzini Institute was done on cell towers; both found RFR causes cancer and other harm,” Doucette said. “So, that means that every device that emits RFR causes cancer and other harm.”
- See or hold a screening of the documentary film “Generation Zapped”: “’Generation Zapped’explores the biological harm from today’s wireless technology and features leading world scientists, doctors…industry insiders and those who’ve already discovered their illnesses stem from RFR exposure,” said Doucette.
- Schools should hold off on wireless purchases: Doucette advised schools to “put a moratorium on wireless technology purchases, unless safe technology training is provided before deployment to disable the RFR antennas and set limits on screen time.”
- Schools should create task forces: “Assign a task force to start developing plans…to remove the wireless transmissions and scale back on screen time,” Doucette suggested. “Purchase an RF meter to ensure no invisible transmissions are left on.”
- Schools should assess how much screen time (for schoolwork and homework) their technology requires: Doucette noted, “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under age 3 and no more than one to two hours per day for older children.”
- Schools should ban personal electronic devices: “Adopt a ‘no personal electronics in school’ policy, as France has done, except in emergencies,” Doucette said.
- Schools should join the discussion with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: “Assign school administrators to join the discussion with the DESE Board and, together, come up with technology policies that ensure, if and where technology is used in school, it aligns with scientific studies showing how children’s brains and social/emotional skills best develop,” Doucette suggested.
- Schools should conduct a before and after survey: “Ask the staff and children how often they experience symptoms of electrical sensitivity,” Doucette advised. “You may be pleasantly surprised to see headaches, nosebleeds…anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and more come way down in a short period of time after implementing safe technology practices.”
Ultimately, Doucette said that “schools should only be using hard-wired technology through Ethernet cables and adapters to devices, with the wireless antennas turned off.”
“The message is not no technology, but rather safe technology,” she said. “It’s up to us as parents and educators to do what we can…to ensure our children are in a safe environment.”