SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) - A local family is suing a private Southborough school, claiming that the Wi-Fi is making their 12-year-old son sick.
The parents claim, in a 47-page lawsuit obtained by FOX25, that the boy - who is only identified as "G" - suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome and that radiofrequency (RF) emissions from the a newer, stronger wireless network that the school installed in 2013 have triggered headaches, rashes, nosebleeds and nausea since then. The symptoms only cease when he leaves campus, they say.
"Specifically the Aerohive Network doubled their prior emissions in Fat classrooms from 2.5 GHz to 5 GHz," the lawsuit reads. "Sometime after the above-described WiFi system was installed, G started to experience occasional, troubling symptoms, which he reported to his parents when he came home from Fay at the end of the school day."
The parents are asking for the school to switch to Ethernet connection or lower the RF level in order for the boy to go back to school in September. They are also seeking monetary damages.
The Fay School, a private school for students from pre-kindergarten through ninth grade, declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit, but said that it hired a company that the family recommended to investigate the issue and found no harmful radiation levels on campus.
"The school engaged in the services of Isotrope, L.L.C, which specializes in measurement and analysis of radio communication signals and evaluation of emissions safety compliance," the Fay School statement reads. "Isotrope's assessment was completed in January 2015 and found that the combined levels of access point emissions, broadcast radio and television signals, and other RFE emissions on campus 'were substantially less than one ten-thousandth (1/10,000th) of the applicable safety limits (federal and state.)'"
Cece Doucette is familiar with the family, whose identity their lawyer asked not to release. Doucette is researching the effects of Wi-Fi on our bodies. As the former grant writer for Ashland Public Schools, Doucette is particularly concerned about the health of children.
"It hits our reproductive organs more deeply. It hits our eyes more deeply," Doucette said, "and in children, where they do not have fully formed systems, it hits them especially hard."
Doucette's research has already prompted changes in Ashland schools. She is working with State Sen. Karen Spilka to create a committee to study the possible link between Wi-Fi and health issues.
She hopes the Fay School lawsuit starts a discussion.
"If by having to go so far as to have to file a lawsuit, his family is able to help get this conversation started nationally, then I think that would be terrific," Doucette said.
But Doucette's opinion is in the medical minority. FOX25 News found different results in 16 studies from around the world cited in a draft report from the Washington Health Department.
All of the studies in that state's report found "no clear and consistent evidence" that Wi-Fi causes any health effects in humans. Nine of the documents do say, however, that long-term effects of the relatively new technology are still uncertain and long-term studies are needed.
Cox Media Group