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Educators refusing work, aside powerful cell tower in North York

November 3, 2023

Prevent Cancer Now, Canadian Educators for Safe Technology, Canadians for Safe Technology, and Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation, applaud job action at William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in Toronto suburb, North York. Educators are exercising a refusal to work, due to health concerns over emissions from numerous network antennas on a nearby cell tower.

Cell tower adjacent to William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in North York, Toronto.

Photo credit: Global News

“When 18 educators take job action because of workplace safety, they are also standing up for our students, who are more vulnerable,” stated Shelley Wright, Director of Canadian Educators for Safe Technology (CE4ST). “Teachers may recognize the cause when they themselves develop symptoms with exposure to ‘wireless’ radiation; however, unwell children might not grasp the situation nor communicate about how they feel. Falling behind in early learning  due to ill health and absences can unfortunately ripple throughout a student’s education. Illness, impairment and serious injuries induced or exacerbated by exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) can have lifelong impacts.”

Barbara Payne, President of Electromagnetic Pollution Illnesses Canada Foundation (EPIC) envisions better. “Imagine the beneficial ripple effect on individual, workplace and environmental wellbeing if each school modernized its curriculum and policies to include the why-to, how-to and kindnesses of our core message ‘Practice safe tech & e-hygiene. A conscious choice.’”

RFR generated to carry data for wireless communications is highly pulsed and bioactive, so it affects living tissues. A problem at workplaces and elsewhere is that RFR causes these effects at exposure levels far lower than Canada’s maximum limits. Prevent Cancer Now scientist Meg Sears explains, “Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 (SC6) prevents what it calls ‘established’ effects, including shocks and overheating like in a microwave oven. SC6 does not protect against genetic damage, inflammation or interference with signalling such as nerve function. Thus, RFR can affect all major organ systems—nerves and brain; heart and circulatory system; and hormone systems. It damages sperm, eyes and any tissue that is repeatedly exposed. Additionally, RFR can cause cancer. The international classification is expected to shift from ‘possible’ carcinogen to ‘probable’ or ‘known’ human carcinogen when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) updates its hazard assessment.

Individuals’ wide-ranging susceptibilities and symptoms when exposed to wireless radiation from cell towers, and from the many phones and other devices that the towers feed, were noted by the Human Rights Commission back in 2007 (Medical Aspects of Environmental Sensitivities). Frank Clegg, former President of Microsoft Canada, now CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST), has been working since 2012 for Parliamentarians and regulators to improve laws and regulations, with an updated SC6. “Human and environmental health are suffering as a result of RFR used for telecommunications. Instead, we can use safer, more resilient, faster, higher bandwidth wireline connectivity, such as fibre optics, to provide data and communication services for schools, communities and businesses. Best practices call for intentional prevention and reduction of radiation exposures. We’re not waiting for the technology—we’re waiting for the vision, imagination and leadership.”

Across Canada, health, environment and educational groups applaud the North York teachers for their wise, brave action, for the health and well-being of all school-goers and their community.


TechSafeSchools works to protect kids from harmful radiation. It is something every school can do at no cost and without affecting any tech-based learning or system performance.  Why not do it?

Physicians for Safe Technology shares recommendations for Best Practices for Safe Technology in Schools

Environmental Health Trust compiled science about health effects from cell towers close to homes and schools.

Wireless technologies, non-ionizing electromagnetic fields and children: Identifying and reducing health risks (2023) is a go-to peer-reviewed resource, ranging from basic science, to medicine and policy.