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5G ‘is wifi on steroids' and very worrying, says UCC academic

September 28th, 2019 8:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

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A LEADING expert on the health effects of wireless technology and microwave radiation has said he is very concerned about the fact that wi-fi is installed in Irish primary schools.

Professor Tom Butler from UCC made the comment while addressing a well-attended meeting entitled ‘What is 5G?’ recently held in O’Donovan’s Hotel in Clonakilty.

Speaking to The Southern Star afterwards, Professor Butler said that given his extensive review of the scientific literature and practice in other countries, it is one of concern for him.

‘Wi-fi should not be in Irish schools and on the teaching side of things, it serves very little purpose in a child’s education. Wired technologies are available and are just as effective as wireless technology,’ said Prof Butler.

‘Given the risks that many studies have identified and given the fact that Ireland is supposed to have entered the Precautionary Principle under EU Law, one of the areas is that you minimise the risk to children,’ he said.

‘Two recent studies evaluated the educational performance of children in class in Saudi Arabia with two schools used, one was exposed to wi-fi and the other wasn’t. In the school that was most exposed the students, all things being equal, had difficulties in terms of learning and in achieving their learning objectives and in simple acts of
comprehension.’

Prof Butler said that given this evidence and given the Precautionary Principle, it makes sense to him that school principals should be outlawing it on their premises.

‘However, there are schools, particularly primary schools, which have resisted the imposition of wi-fi upon them, but there other schools where there are principals who are enthusiastic about technology. 

‘There’s nothing wrong with that, but they’re totally unaware of the risks that they’re exposing children to and even staff, especially those who are pregnant.’

Prof Butler also said he has heard that some of the early promoters of using ipads in schools are taking them out of the schools, because they have found that they are not useful for teaching.

‘I teach IT and I actually ban all IT technology during my class,’ he added.

Prof Butler, a former satellite and microwave communication engineer, also outlined his fears about 5G – which promises superfast internet with endless wireless applications – and believes its effect will be wide-ranging.

‘5G is like wi-fi on steroids, and the genie is out of the bottle now. We can’t put it back in. 

‘But what we have to do here is recognise the risks that exist and get the powers that be to recognise those risks and do something about it, where children are concerned,’ he added.

‘We need to have the conversations about 5G and the cancer risks associated with it, and taking steps to avoid it as the mortality risks are very high.’

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