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This article was published 24/8/2010 (3369 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A British scientist and former naval weapons expert has waded into the debate over the safety of wireless networks in Canadian schools, warning generations could face genetic disorders because of prolonged exposure to low-level microwaves.
Barrie Trower, who specialized in microwave "stealth" warfare during the Cold War, was to lecture at the University of Toronto Tuesday night. His topic: safety concerns surrounding use of Wi-Fi systems in public schools.
While Health Canada maintains it is safe, Trower said there are no scientific studies that categorically state there is no harm from prolonged exposure. He also warns we could be threatening the health of future generations of Canadians who can be affected by microwaves at the DNA level.
"When I realized these same frequencies and powers (as weapons during the Cold War) were being used as Wi-Fi in schools, I decided to come out of retirement and travel around the world free of charge and explain exactly what the problem is going to be in the future," Trower told Postmedia News in an interview Tuesday.
"Children are not small adults, they are underdeveloped adults, so there are different symptoms.
"What you are doing in schools is transmitting at low levels," said Trower, who teaches at Britain's Dartmoor College and holds a degree in physics.
Trower said he's concerned about Wi-Fi in schools because "low-level microwaves can damage the ovaries in girls."
"That girl could have a genetically deformed child, and that could be carried through generations. You are not just risking the current health of your children, you are risking the future generations of your children in your country with genetic disorders."
Health Canada issued a statement last week saying there is no health threat.
"Based on scientific evidence, Health Canada has determined that exposure to low-level radio-frequency energy, such as that from Wi-Fi systems, is not dangerous to the public," said a statement from the federal agency.
Health Canada said Tuesday it based its conclusion on reviews of studies from around the world and is satisfied there is more than enough evidence to support their view that it is safe.
"Using data from these studies, Health Canada set the general public exposure limits significantly lower than the threshold for any potentially adverse health effects," department spokesman Stephane Shank wrote in an email.
"Health Canada's exposure guidelines for RF (radio frequency) energy are similar to, or more restrictive than, similar health-based international exposure standards. As long as exposures respect these guidelines, Health Canada has determined that there is no scientific reason to consider Wi-Fi dangerous to the public."
"The specified limits for public exposure apply to everyone — including the elderly, individuals with health concerns, children and pregnant women and allow for continuous, 24/7 exposure," Shank wrote.
— Postmedia News