Montgomery Co. parents concerned about wireless routers in school

Montgomery County parents worry about health risks that can come from WiFi used in school.

POTOMAC, Md. (WUSA9) -- Some Montgomery County parents are worried about their children and exposure to radiation from wireless internet routers in schools.

At certain doses, microwave radiation, the type emitted from wireless technology, can be harmful. 

Wireless routers are installed in ceilings of Montgomery County Public Schools classrooms. The numbers of routers in a given school can vary, but they range from a couple dozen routers to 100.

"These are not transmitters that would be in your home. It's much stronger. it can handle up to 200 laptops," Laura Simon, a parent said.

Several parents meet Tuesday night at Bells Mills Elementary to discuss their concerns about the routers. Some parents want to go back to hardwired systems.

"You have so many streams of radiation going on at the same time. So, it's this classroom and the next one and the next one and sometimes they're in the hallways and the cafeteria and the media centers, Simon said.

Montgomery County Public Schools told WUSA9 the parents are showing a "lack of understanding of how cell towers and WiFi hotspots work" and the school system "will continue to monitor and follow the credible findings and recommendations of the FCC, the World Health Organization."

The WHO classifies 287 items as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." That list includes everything from diesel fuel and lead to coffee and pickled vegetables.

"The FCC guidelines that they refer to are outdated, they are from 1996 was the last time they were reviewed," Simon said.

More than 20 countries and some U.S. cities have started limiting WiFi exposure in classrooms.

"When in doubt, throw it out," Theodora Scarato, a parent said.

And when it comes to their kids, these parents say they don't want to take chances.

"We don't know what years of exposure will mean and our kids will have a lifetime of exposure so it seems like it would make sense to reduce it whenever we can," Scarato said.  

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