May 3, 2010 (Mt. Helix) Claudia Taormina, who resides at 10151 Grandview Drive near Vista de la Cruz on Mt. Helix, was surprised to receive notice from the County Department of Planning and Land Use informing her that Next G Networks of California wants to erect a cell phone tower on her property. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Otay Water District headquarters, 2554 Sweetwater Springs Blvd., Spring Valley 91978.
“I do not feel I was given adequate notice considering that I received my letter on Friday,” Taormina told East County Magazine. "It does not give me time to adequately research and speak to the other neighbors to get a petition signed. Some of my neighbors have small children,” she added, citing concerns over potential health dangers posed by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) from cell towers.
Cell phone companies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration assert that cell phone towers don’t pose health risks to the public. Some studies support this assertion, but other studies suggest just the opposite.
If you live within a quarter mile of a cell phone antenna or tower, you may be at risk of serious harm to your health, according to a German study cited at www.EMF-Health.com, a site listingg hazards associated with EMFs from cell phone towers and other sources.
Cancer rates more than tripled among people living within 400 meters of cell phone towers or antennas, a German study found. Those within 100 meters were exposed to radiation at 100 times normal levels. An Israeli study found risk of cancer quadrupled among people living within 350 meters (1,148 feet) of a cell phone transmitter. Both studies focused only on people who had lived at the same address for many years.
Other studies have found that levels of radiation emitted from cell phone towers can damage cell tissues and DNA, causing miscarriage, suppressing immune function, and causing other health problems.
The federal government does not allow rejection of a cell phone tower based on health risks. The 2006 Telecommunications Act bars communities from rejecting cell towers based on health concerns http://arts.envirolink.org/arts_and_activism/BlakeLevitt.html.
Local jurisdictions can, however, require that telecommunications companies conduct an analysis of options such as joint usage of nearby towers owned by other companies, said Barry Jantz, who based his comment on prior experience as a La Mesa City Councilman.
Over 1.9 million cell phone towers and antennae have been approved nationwide without federal studies to assure safety of those living nearby. In Sweden, the government requires interventions to protect the public from electromagnetic frequencies. But thus far, the U.S. government has done nothing to protect the public from potential EMF risks.
How many cell phone towers and antennas are in your neighborhood? Find out at www.antennasearch.com. There are approximately 96 cell phone towers and 286 antennas within four miles of the proposed site.
A 2006 report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) offered some reassurance and found no scientific evidence that radiofrequency signals from cell towers cause adverse health effects. The report noted that up to five times more of the RF signals from FM radio and television (than from cell towers) are absorbed by the body with no known adverse effects on health in the more than 50 years that radio and TV broadcast stations have been operating.
But an Australian study found that children living near TV and FM broadcast towers, which emit similar radiation to cell towers, developed leukemia at three times the rate of children living over seven miles away.
In February 2009, a French high court ordered a telecommunications company to take down a cell phone mast, or tower, citing potential health impacts as a “reasonable” concern.
Harvard-trained Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona’s medical center recently observed, “In January 2008, the National Research Council (NRC), an arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, issued a report calling for long-term safety studies on all wireless devices including cell phones, computers, and cell phone towers. The report cites potential risks to children and pregnant women in particular.
“I would like to see some scientific controlled studies performed so that we know what the real dangers are,” said Congressional candidate Raymond Lutz. “I don’t see any reason why people can’t object on health reasons for anything—that should not be off the table. I think it’s the government’s responsibility to conduct these studies, ideally with money from cell phone providers so in the end there is no cost to the taxpayer. The FCC should be responsible for making sure these studies are conducted.”