Schools and school districts should urge the Federal Communications Commission to require a setback of 1,500 feet for all wireless infrastructure and cellphone antennas near schools, says a new report presented by a group of researchers and safety organizations.
The report asserts that symptoms of electrohypersensitivity, such as fatigue, headaches, difficulty with concentration, and memory loss, can occur at much lower distances than the federal exposure guidelines stipulate. To ensure the safety of students and teachers, radio frequency radiation should be continually monitored at schools, and complaints about electrohypersensitivity should be taken seriously by school nurses and documented for future reference so the problem can be addressed, says the report.
The document provides grades for schools in the capital city of each state, as well as the District of Columbia, on schoolchildren’s potential exposure to cellphone antennas. The “BRAG” acronym refers to the colors used to rank each city—black, red, amber, and green. Cities with black rankings are considered the most potentially harmful, while cities with green rankings are considered the least hazardous.
Cities that received green rankings included: Richmond, Va., Little Rock, Ark.; Nashville, Tenn., Columbia, S.C. Some of those rated black were Carson City, Nev., Hartford, Conn.; Boston; and Washington.
A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 2010 edition of Education Week as Wireless Safety