Lakehead University cans wireless Internet over health concerns

That’s because president Fred Gilbert won’t allow it until he’s satisfied EMF (electric and magnetic fields) exposure doesn’t pose a health risk, particularly to young people. Gilbert cited studies done by scientists for the California Public Utilities Commission, whose findings boil down to the fact that while there is no proven link between EMFs exposure and diseases such as leukemia and brain tumours, the possible risk warrants further investigation.He also said Canadian regulation allows for a higher minimum degree of exposure to EMFs than do some other countries.
“All I’m saying is while the jury’s out on this one, I’m not going to put in place what is potential chronic exposure for our students,” he said.
Lakehead, which is located at the head of Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, Ont., has some wireless access, but only where the university’s fibre optic network doesn’t reach. There are plenty of computers around campus where students can access the Internet 24 hours a day, so it’s not like they’re cut off, Gilbert said.
For Andrew McAusland, executive director of instructional and information technology services at Concordia University in Montreal, the issue of EMFs exposure was also a factor in deciding whether or not to implement wireless networks on campus. Ultimately, McAusland was satisfied the risk was low enough to proceed, and made sure the wireless LANs conform to Health Canada safety codes.
“It’s not an issue you should ignore at all, but wireless local area networks use a very low level of frequency.”

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