Harvard Pediatric Neurologist warns schools against WiFi – says ‘thermal-only’ impact claims are “definitively outdated scientifically”

Two days ago (Feb 8th 2013), Dr. Martha R. Herbert of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital wrote a letter to a US school division currently considering installing WiFi in its schools.

We are publishing a copy of that letter here in the hope that every parent, grandparent, teacher, school administrator, school board trustee and others working in the school system in the UK will read it.  The original can be found here.

This issue is too important for our children’s well being to ignore.  Please copy and share this information widely with your local schools and medical practitioners who will almost certainly be in the dark about this issue.


TO: Los Angeles Unified School District
FROM: Martha R Herbert, PhD, MD
RE: Wireless vs. Wired in Classrooms
DATE: February 8, 2013

I am a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital. I am Board Certified in Neurology with Special Competency in Child Neurology, and Subspecialty Certification in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

I have an extensive history of research and clinical practice in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders. I have published papers in brain imaging research, in physiological abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders, and in environmental influences on ndurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and on brain development and function.

I recently accepted an invitation to review literature pertinent to a potential link between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) and Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR). I set out to write a paper of modest length, but found much more literature than I had anticipated to review. I ended up producing a 60 page single spaced paper with over 550 citations. It is available at http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/sec20_2012_Findings_in_Autism.pdf.

In fact, there are thousands of papers that have accumulated over decades – and are now accumulating at an accelerating pace, as our ability to measure impacts become more sensitive – that document adverse health and neurological impacts of EMF/RFR. Children are more vulnerable than adults, and children with chronic illnesses and/or neurodevelopmental disabilities are even more vulnerable. Elderly or chronically ill adults are more vulnerable than healthy adults.

Current technologies were designed and promulgated without taking account of biological impacts other than thermal impacts. We now know that there are a large array of impacts that have nothing to do with the heating of tissue. The claim from wifi proponents that the only concern is thermal impacts is now definitively outdated scientifically.

EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.

Powerful industrial entities have a vested interest in leading the public to believe that EMF/RFR, which we cannot see, taste or touch, is harmless, but this is not true. Please do the right and precautionary thing for our children.

I urge you to step back from your intention to go wifi in the LAUSD, and instead opt for wired technologies, particularly for those subpopulations that are most sensitive. It will be easier for you to make a healthier decision now than to undo a misguided decision later.

Thank you.

Martha Herbert, PhD, MD
Pediatric Neurology
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

  1. Thankyou for the important work you are doing. Im very grateful to you as smartmeters in particular fill me with horror. Is it possible to link yr articles so they can appear on Twitter?
    Numquem cede!

    • Thanks Carlin, please do! We are on Twitter @SpyMeters

  2. In Ireland there has been a small roll out of ‘Smartmeters’ (Seems like there isn’t much ‘smart’ about them). However the ESB will be rolling them out nationally, the problem being that most people have no idea about the risks. I was in college back in the 70s doing electronics and even then the dangers of the microwave end of the spectrum were highlighted by our lecturer. The risks have been known in the industry for a very long time, they can’t say they didn’t know.