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Occupational Exposures to Electromagnetic fields

Cell phones, and wireless networks are common in today’s workplace -In hospitals, schools, retail, transportation and numerous industries.  There is a critical need to gather health data on these  exposures (Stam, 2021). For example, many delivery drivers use cell phones and tablets to track packages and hospital workers often have a cell phone in their pocket, a walkie talkie clipped to their chest, and use numerous wireless devices over the course of one day. 

Cell tower/antenna maintenance workers, physiotherapists and operators of dielectric welders have elevated EMF exposures (Aniołczyk et al 2015).

Overexposure has been documented to induced central nervous system demyelinating disease mimicking Multiple Sclerosis (Raefsky et al 2020).

  • “Our patient is a 46-year-old Caucasian engineer with no significant past medical history. In 2011, he was exposed to prolonged high levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) radiation during a technical malfunction at a cell phone tower…
  • “Compared to the 2011 MRI brain which had been unremarkable, the T2 fluid attenuated inversion recovery se- quence (T2 FLAIR) on this 2017 MRI brain showed multiple oval- shaped hyperintense lesions involving the juxtacortical, periventricular and deep white matter regions without restricted diffusion or enhancement.”

Although U.S. NIOSH scientists developed recommendations to reduce EMF, protective policies were never implemented by the U. S. government. See Precautionary Strategies to Reduce Worker Exposures to Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Magnetic Fields, a Possible Carcinogen” by Joseph D. Bowman, PhD, of the Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch at the National Institute for Occupational Safety (NIOSH) Slide presentation to the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (Bowman 2016). 

Although the US is not evaluating occupational EMF exposures, other countries are addressing occupational exposures. For example in  Austria a 2016 law (Electromagnetic Fields Ordinance, 2016) stated that employers must identify and assess occupational EMF exposure with professional assessment and measurements taking into account multiple sources of electromagnetic fields with multiple frequencies.  

W-Fi networks in schools are escalating radio-frequency radiation exposures in schools. Teachers are taking action and have been injured.

  • In 2018, United Educators of San Francisco passed a Resolution on Safer Technology that calls for the California cell phone guidance to be disseminated to students and staff. They also hosted webinars on Safe Technology in schools. 
  • In 2013,  Canadian Teacher Federation issued a briefing document, “The Use of Wi-Fi in Schools,” recommending an education program to educate the public regarding ways to avoid potential exposure risks of Wi-Fi access points and devices.”They also briefed the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Teacher’s Magazine published CTF Sounds the Alarm on Wi-Fi
  • In 2012, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association released a Position Statement recommending wired classroom infrastructure as WIFI “may present a potential Health and Safety risk or hazard in the workplace.” 
  • In 2010, the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association recommended a precautionary approach and their Webpage states Wi-Fi free zones should be available, On/Off routers recommended to turn the Wi-Fi PFF and the minimal or non-use within elementary schools.

2014; Los Angeles Unified School District Accommodated a Teacher Who Fell Ill After Wireless Installation.

On September 18, 2014, LAUSD, the second largest public school district in the US, officially accommodated teacher Ms. Anura Lawson by approving her request to have the Wi-Fi turned off in her classroom during the 2014-2015 school year and alternatively approving a reassignment to a different school site where Wi-Fi has yet to be installed.

Watch the video of her testimony to the LAUSD School District Here. Read her letter of accommodation here.

Peterborough, Canada

The City has an information sheet to help organizations accommodate individuals who have electromagnetic hypersensitivity. They recommend – among other things:

  • Temporarily disable City owned WAP devices.
  • Turn off or minimize fluorescent and LED.
  • Notify attendees to set mobile phones to airplane mode.

Brown v. LAUSD establishes that symptoms of ‘electromagnetic hypersensitivity’ a.k.a. ‘Microwave Sickness’ could be deemed a ‘physical disability’ under the FEHA

JML Law represents Brown, a former middle school teacher who had worked for LAUSD for decades and had hoped to continue teaching there for years to come. However, that was made impossible because LAUSD allegedly refused to accommodate her in returning to the classroom. As a result of not being accommodated, her employment with LAUSD ended.

In 2015, LAUSD installed and began operating a new Wi-Fi system at Millikan Middle School, where Brown worked, despite several medical personnel who allegedly indicated during public school board hearings that they were uncertain about the long-term effects the Wi-Fi system would have on students and staff. Shortly after the new commercial-grade Wi-Fi was installed, Brown allegedly began to experience chronic pain, headaches, nausea, itching, burning sensations on her skin, ear issues, shortness of breath, inflammation, heart palpitations, respiratory complications, foggy headedness, and fatigue.

Read more at the online link to this press release

Major Legal Decision: Los Angeles School District Teacher Can Move Forward With Wi-Fi Effects Lawsuit

The complete published opinion by the Court of Appeal can be accessed at https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B294240.PDF.

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https://ehtrust.org/occupational-exposures-to-wireless-radiation-and-electromagnetic-fields/ Source: Environmental Health Trust