• Author Deb Mayer

WiFi Safety for Kids

During the summer of 2018 a small group of Oregonians coalesced around the idea that too much attention to cell phones, tablets, and laptops is having adverse effects on children. Concerns over an escalating incidence of eye ailments, headaches, ADHD, behavioral problems, and other health risks prompted them into action. After considerable research and consultation with experts and policy makers, the group drafted three bills addressing concerns around the unfettered use of wireless screen devices.

The legislative concepts center around three imperatives: (1) warning labels on wireless products, (2) screen time limits on wireless devices in classrooms, and (3) exposing and addressing the harmful health effects of WiFi radiation especially on children at school. These legislative concepts were introduced during the intersession and will be given a first reading in the 2019 Oregon legislative session as SB 291, SB282, and SB283. All three bills are sponsored by Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson. Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer signed on as chief sponsor in the House for the labeling and WiFi bills, Representative Tawna Sanchez is chief sponsor on limiting screen time in classrooms.

Support us in passing this legislation to keep our children safe.

Read the text of each legislative concept, now a bill, by clicking on the links below -- above each summary:

SB 281 Warning labels on wireless products

Warnings are currently provided by product manufacturers. The problem is they are only available embedded deep within the phone and finding them presents such a challenge that most people don’t know they exist. SB 281 requires that manufacturers provide:

  • age recommendations,

  • warnings of possible health risks including addiction, microwave sickness, and dangers to specific children and pregnant women,

  • a consumer use manual,

  • consumer consultation on health risks.

SB 281 also requires that manufacturers provide businesses, organizations, and schools with a warning that they may be held liable for health care costs of individuals required to use a digital product without their knowledge of the possible health risks and their consent to use it.

SB 282 Limiting screen time in classrooms

SB 282 requires the Oregon Department of Education in cooperation with the Oregon Health Authority to a conduct study to determine and recommend appropriate health standards for student use of computers, mobile digital devices, and other electronic media in classrooms. The ODE shall:

  • consider guidelines and recommendations from reputable medical sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics

  • allow parents to give or deny consent for children to participate in curricula that involve extensive work with wireless screen devices

  • encourage more physical activity during the school day

  • develop materials to inform parents of the hazards of excessive use of wireless screen devices

  • specify guidelines for schools to collect, use, and store only the minimal amount of data

SB 283 Relating to exposure of radiation in schools

SB 283 directs the ODE to prepare a statement that discloses potential health risks of wireless network technology and requires public and private schools to distribute statement to employees, students and parents or guardians of students. Requires department and Oregon Health Authority to conduct review of peer-reviewed, independently funded studies of effects of exposure to micro- wave radiation in schools.

The ODE in cooperation with the Oregon Health Authority shall:

  • review peer-reviewed, independently funded studies of the bi- ological effects of exposure to microwave radiation

  • develop recommendations to schools in this state for practices and alternative technologies

  • report the results of the review and the recommendations to the Legislative Assembly no later than September 15, 2020.

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