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Transcript - Wi-Fi

Students in classroom using laptops.

Recent headlines of articles on topic of Wi-Fi.

Narrator -There's a natural tendency to be worried about something you cannot taste, feel or see. And concern is growing from some over Wi-Fi in schools.

Dr. Daniel Krewski walking into his office and sitting at his desk.

Dr. Daniel Krewski is the Scientific Director of the McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, and he says some may be jumping to conclusions.

Dr. Daniel Krewski - Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa - "I'm not sure that we've done everything we can to rule out other possibilities of the types of symptoms that we see. Have we looked at indoor air quality - have we looked at other factors that could influence children's health? And what a scientist wants is a carefully controlled scientific study to make sure that we haven't ruled out all other possibilities."

Scientists and researchers working in laboratory.

Narrator - According to the research, the energy coming from Wi-Fi technology is so low, it doesn't cause cell damage.

Graphic showing ranges of radio frequency for different devices.

Dr. Daniel Krewski - Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa - "Radio frequency fields associated with Wi-Fi devices are very similar to the fields that we use to communicate with mobile phones, but they're quite different from other sources of radiation such as x-rays. X-rays are much stronger; have the energy to break chemical bonds and hence are a much greater concern from the public health point of view. Radio frequency fields on the other hand, are a very weak energy and do not have the ability to damage cellular DNA. And hence, are much less concern from the point of view of population health."

Students and teacher in a classroom.

Narrator - While there aren't many studies on the effects of Wi-Fi specific to children, safe exposure limits set by Health Canada through Safety Code 6, do apply to everyone.

Student using laptop in classroom.

Pregnant mother.

Dr. Anthony Muc - Environmental Health Professor - University of Toronto - "If you go back historically, and look at how the standards and guidelines, SC6 - how they evolved; it was taken into account, the size of the individual. There were models done for children, for fetuses, for fetuses imbedded in the womb. That has been taken into account; it hasn't been ignored."

Scientists and researchers working in laboratory.

Dr. Frank Prato - Lawson Health Research Institute - "Safety Code 6 is an excellent situation in Canada where government, Health Canada has got the Royal Society reviewing the literature every three or four years and Safety Code 6 looks at what recommendations are coming from the research."

Wi-Fi sign in the University of Ottawa building.

Scientists and researchers working in laboratory.

Narrator - However; some parents still worry about the few isolated studies that link wireless technology to their kid's symptoms. But before blaming Wi-Fi, Dr. Krewski says it's important to get the big picture.

Dr. Daniel Krewski - Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa - "Of the literally thousands of papers that have been written on this topic, very few have suggested health concerns and all of that information needs to be taken into account when reaching an overall conclusion."

Wi-Fi modem in the University of Ottawa building.

Wi-Fi sign in the University of Ottawa building.

Narrator - So, is Wi-Fi safe?

Dr. Anthony Muc - Environmental Health Professor - University of Toronto - "It's established as a safe technology. It does not exceed the standards and guidelines that are currently in place - basically Canada's SC6. Which corresponds to the standards and guidelines across the rest of the Western world."

Students and teacher in a classroom.

Narrator - Parents can also take solace in knowing that Health Canada conducts and reviews research on Wi-Fi on an ongoing basis. Also, all Wi-Fi equipment sold in Canada must meet Health Canada's safety guidelines. And finally, based on current science, Canadians can be assured that Wi-Fi is safe.

Graphic will appear as follows:

  • Regularly reviews research
  • Must meet safety guidelines
  • WiFi is safe

More information on Wi-Fi safety and radio frequency exposure guidelines can be found on Health Canada's web site at healthcanada.gc.ca.