18

A variety of websites (along with many claims on social media sites like Instagram) claim a law that went into effect in January 2015 bans wifi in schools and nurseries for health reasons.

One links to the statute, but I have no French comprehension skills.

This is a two-part question:

  1. Does the ordinance passed match the claims made about it?
  2. Have any ordinances passed since the ban, if it is one, reversed the 2015 statute and/or disproven its claims (if it were made because of health concerns)?
7
  • 2
    This site adds: "A number of schools in England, France and Canada have dismantled their Wi-Fi and reverted to a wired system due to concerns raised by parents and teachers, and also due to health symptoms experienced by some children. In other countries, like Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Israel, Russia and China, decisions have been made to lower the legal exposure limit when it comes to electromagnetic wave radiation, especially in areas where children are spending time." Aug 23, 2023 at 13:21
  • 4
    @WeatherVane - that site is also suspiciously lacking in sources: "one study suggest that limiting children's exposure to WIFI radiation is absolutely a smart move, as children and fetuses absorb more microwave radiation. This, according to the authors, is because their bodies are relatively smaller, their skulls are thinner, and their brain tissue is more absorbent than in an adult." If that were on Wikipedia, it would get tagged "what study?"
    – warren
    Aug 23, 2023 at 13:56
  • 18
    I think it's important to note here that "due to concerns raised by parents and teachers" is not the same as "health reasons", since a school could do pretty much any arbitrary thing to please the parents even though the school board doesn't find it to be a health issue. Maybe that's the root of the claim?
    – pipe
    Aug 23, 2023 at 14:39
  • 2
    Is the question "Is wifi considered harmful?" or is it "Is the law cited about a ban on wifi?" or is it "Was it because wifi is dangerous?" The question title needs clarifying: it contains a classic ambiguity. Aug 23, 2023 at 18:03
  • 1
    @warren so, to be extra clear, you are NOT asking about the validity of the health reasons, ONLY if they are the stated motivation for the law.
    – thelr
    Aug 25, 2023 at 12:47

1 Answer 1

23

EDIT: Used much more explicit reference to health concerns in the discussions made which led to the statute.

Has Wifi been banned in schools/daycares?

Wifi has only been banned in some cases, specifically spaces that take care of children 3 years or less. The relevant article from the statute is the following:

Article 7

I. – Dans les établissements mentionnés au chapitre IV du titre II du livre III de la deuxième partie du code de la santé publique, l’installation d’un équipement terminal fixe équipé d’un accès sans fil à internet est interdite dans les espaces dédiés à l’accueil, au repos et aux activités des enfants de moins de trois ans.

II. – Dans les classes des écoles primaires, les accès sans fil des équipements mentionnés à l’article 184 de la loi n° 2010-788 du 12 juillet 2010 portant engagement national pour l’environnement installés après la publication de la présente loi sont désactivés lorsqu’ils ne sont pas utilisés pour les activités numériques pédagogiques.

III. – Dans les écoles primaires, toute nouvelle installation d’un réseau radioélectrique fait l’objet d’une information préalable du conseil d’école.

In particular the first bullet point states that wireless equipment may not be used in spaces dedicated to welcoming children less than 3 years old.

The second bullet point requires said equipment to be deactivated when not in use. (specifying that it is for educational purposes)

Was the ban done due to health risk concerns?

Yes, as seen from this document summing up some of the discussions done in the Assemblée Nationale:

Comme votre rapporteure l’indiquait l’an passé, le Parlement est en effet confronté à un enjeu majeur : légiférer en situation d’incertitude scientifique. S’il n’appartient pas à la représentation nationale de décider de l’existence d’un lien entre l’exposition aux ondes électromagnétiques et les risques sanitaires, il est de sa responsabilité de moderniser le cadre juridique applicable pour prévenir la survenance d’un drame sanitaire, répondre aux inquiétudes de nos concitoyens et assurer le respect des principes constitutionnels de notre pays, au premier rang desquels celui de vivre dans un environnement équilibré et respectueux de la santé.

Translation mine below:

[As previously mentioned] the past year, the Parliament is facing a major issue: to legislate in a context of scientific uncertainty. While it is not up to the national representation to decide on the existence of a link between exposure to electromagnetic waves and health risks, it is its responsibility to modernize the applicable legal framework to prevent such risks from occuring, to provide an answer to the worries of our citizens and ensure the respect of the constitutional ideals of our country, chief among them being to live in a stable environment that remains respectful of health.

Has the law been reversed since then?

Not from what I have found.

This article (February 2023) directly links to the law that went into effect in 2015, as does this document (May 2023) on Wifi usage in school-related contexts.

2
  • 2
    Nota: in the statute, article 8 points that a report shall be made by the government regarding EHS (Electromagnetic HyperSensibility). I initially included it in the answer but removed it as it didn't appear to be particularly related to Wifi usage in spaces dedicated to children 3 years or less. For other cases, the question has already been tackled here: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/28403/…
    – Entropy
    Aug 23, 2023 at 15:33
  • 8
    Current version of that law. No changes since the original version in 2015. Note that Article 7 does not forbid Wi-Fi coverage, or even the use of mobile Wi-Fi devices in general. It only forbids fixed devices from using Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi should be turned off only on specific mobile devices when not used for educational purposes. Its scope is thus quite limited in this respect. The principal impact of this law is the obligation to provide (wired) headsets with mobile phones (in theory only on request for minors under 14).
    – jcaron
    Aug 23, 2023 at 23:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .