NGO: High radiation in schools, kindergartens

Three-year study shows abnormally high radiation levels in 101 of 172 elementary schools, 125 out of 814 kindergartens examined.

Back to School (photo credit: Wikicommons)
Back to School
(photo credit: Wikicommons)
An unusually high percentage of elementary schools and kindergartens in Israel are unknowingly exposing their students to unacceptable radiation levels, according to the NGO Malraz.
Malraz, the Council for the Prevention of Noise and Air Pollution in Israel, conducted a study over the past three years that found abnormally high radiation levels in 101 of 172 elementary schools tested and 125 out of 814 kindergartens examined, according to data from the organization. Particularly disturbing is that for the cases in which deviations from the norm occurred, relatively simple means to minimize or eliminate the radiation damage exist, but the parent committees – which would have the most sway among school and authorities testing for radiation – lack awareness on the subject, according to Malraz.
The radiation measured by Malraz was divided into two types, the first being Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation – non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, transmitted mainly through broadcasting and communications, in a frequency range of 100 kHz to 300 Mhz. This type of signal includes frequencies from televisions, radios, cellular communications, microwaves and satellite radars.
The second type of radiation, Extremely Low Frequency (ELF), includes frequencies coming from energy supply sources, such as highvoltage and low-voltage cable lines.
This group can include transformer stations and electrical cabinets in multi-story residential and public buildings, as well as domestic electrical equipment like ovens, hair dryers and washing machines, the organization said.
Looking at the three separate years, in 2009, 50 of 67 elementary schools and 69 of 342 kindergartens had abnormally high radiation levels. In 2010, 29 of 56 elementary schools and 21 of 226 kindergartens had disturbing levels, and in 2011, 8 of 18 elementary schools and 11 of 101 kindergartens exceeded the norm, according to Malraz. Through October 2012, 14 of 31 elementary schools and 24 of 145 kindergartens deviated unacceptably from the norm, the Malraz data said.
“It is important to us that parents in Israel be aware of the saddening results of data abnormalities in electricity exposure to kindergarten and school students,” said Hilik Rosenblum, chairman of Malraz. “Malraz, which is the oldest organization in Israel in the field of radiation and noise protection, and the only authorized laboratory in Israel, will do its utmost to bring the data to the Israeli public while increasing the visibility and public awareness about the environment in which our children study.”
Despite repeated requests for comment, the Education Ministry did not provide a respond to The Jerusalem Post by press time.
In response to the report, an Education Ministry spokeswoman told the Post that “in principle, the issue of radiation and its treatment is the responsibility of local authorities.”
Guidelines have been written by the Environmental Protection Ministry on the subject, the spokeswoman said.
The ministry takes all of the preventative measures it is able to in terms of maintaining infrastructure in schools, such as wireless networks, and has advised that schools to use local computer networks instead of wireless, according to the spokeswoman. The ministry has sent professional bodies to handle this issue and to monitor radiation, she added.
All electronic products emit radiation, and the Education Ministry criticized Malraz for not specifying which installations were most problematic.
It is necessary to address these issues with all relevant authorities, such as local governments and the Israel Electric Corporation, the spokeswoman said.Danielle Ziri contributed to this report.