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At Nov. 4 hearing, county planners should reject cell phone tower in heart of our small town

By Lisa Rene Anderson

October 27, 2011 (Julian)--On November 4th, 2011, the San Diego County Planning Commission will render their decision on whether to approve a proposed cell tower to be placed in the center of residential-zoned Shelter Valley, Julian- the tiny, dark sky-designated rural town at the edge of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park that I and my husband live in.

Three years ago, we moved to Shelter Valley precisely because I had gotten sick from electromagnetic microwave radiation. After years of living in San Diego proper, I could no longer hold a cell phone up to my head without getting dizzy and I was concerned about the brain tumors associated with prolonged exposure to cell phones and even cordless phones. Also aggravating my health were the three cell towers, hundreds of microwave antennas and WIFI connections around me in the city, and the eventual onslaught of smart meter installations.

And so we bought a home in Shelter Valley, just 10 miles down Banner Grade from Julian. A number of months after we moved in, I was shocked to find out that a telecommunications company had plans to place a 45-foot multi antenna cell tower in the middle of our small town.

Because of this, I have spent the last few years researching the negative effects of electromagnetic radiation. There is compelling scientific evidence that the cumulative electromagnetic radiation (EMR) bombarding us from microwave emitting cell phones, cell towers, cordless phones, WIFI connections, and now SDG&E smart meters, is deadly.

My extensive research has been compiled in the website: . This website includes multiple scientific studies and media reports, and a list of more than 30 organizations in the U.S. working to change public policy on electromagnetic radiation. For the record, I have an Ivy League college degree and 30 years of corporate, nonprofit and medical public relations experience, and I take my research seriously.

According to Dr. Martin Chipman, a retired neurologist and professor of neurology at several medical schools and also a former Army officer and diplomat: “Persistent exposure to non-ionizing radiation splits DNA strands and fractionates healthy cells into harmful micronuclei. The damage can include cancer (particularly leukemia and brain tumors), fluctuations of blood pressure not controlled by medication, heart-rhythm disorders, strokes in young people, ear damage, chronic exhaustion and headaches.”

Dr. Chipman goes on to say that in Israel, 622 people living within a quarter of a mile of a RF/microwave transmitter were matched with a non-exposed population. They were documented to have developed cancer 4.5 times more frequently than the control group. ( )

According to David O. Carpenter, MD, there are credible articles from researchers reporting that cell towers produce ill effects in populations living up to several hundred meters from wireless antenna sites. These effects include sleep disruption, memory impairment, fatigue, headaches, and cardiac problems.( ).

A new study out of Brazil reports that “more than 80 percent of people who die in Belo Horizonte (the third largest city in Brazil) by specific types of cancer, live less than 500 meters away from the 300 identified cell phone antennas in the city.” (

So how is it that all over the U.S., irate citizens have no recourse to protect their health while planning commissions routinely approve cell towers near their homes? Dr. Chipman points out that in 1996, “the Federal Communications Act (signed by President Clinton) decided that the energy output from cell towers was no danger to health, and this has since made it virtually impossible for communities to control the siting of these structures.”

“The decision that the non-ionizing radiation from cell tower electromagnetic fields was safe was based on testing largely sponsored by the telecommunications industry. The tests consisted of bombarding fluid-filled bags with radio frequency electromagnetic waves of various strengths and frequencies, and then noting how much energy it took to heat the fluid. Based on these findings, it was determined that 500- to 1,000-microvolts per square centimeter of energy should be the protective limits for cell-site radiation exposure. But the human body is not just a bag of fluid, and the amount of heat it can tolerate hardly determines the amount of non-ionizing radiation it can absorb.”

It is no longer 1996 and evidence is quickly mounting that exposure to daily microwave radiation can indeed threaten our lives. Community groups throughout the world are actively working to limit their exposure to microwave radiation. In California, 45 cities have banned the ability of utility companies to install radiation-emitting smart meters in their communities. And many parents around the world are successfully working to keep WIFI radiation out of their children’s schools.

It is important to note that electromagnetic radiation from cell phones is only the tip of the EMR iceberg. Recently, the Bioinitative Report was released ( ). This report was put together by a group of international scientists, including
Martin Blank, Associate Professor, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Bioinitiative Report points out that the world’s safety limits regarding microwave radiation are out of date and irrelevant for chronic exposures to low-level EMR and that law makers did not anticipate the advent of a wireless world, with many new forms of pulsed radiation that widely affect populations 24-hours a day. Today’s wireless environment virtually layers all of us with multiple exposures that appear to cause health effects including chronic illness and death.

Bioinitiative Report wildlife biologist Alfonso Balmori, states
that electromagnetic radiation is a form of environmental pollution which may hurt wildlife. Phone masts located in their living areas are irradiating continuously some species that could suffer long-term effects, like reduction of their natural defenses, deterioration of their health, problems in reproduction and reduction of their useful territory through habitat deterioration. 

Since Shelter Valley is a bird migration corridor and a haven for wildlife I am as concerned for their health as I am for my own. There are even endangered Big Horn sheep in the Desert Park hills surrounding our town.
The 4-G networks that run the latest generation of wireless gadgets require geometrically increasing amounts of radiation and cell towers to be built. The current administration in Washington has even authorized higher “spectrum” width in new cell towers to accommodate 4G networks. What amount of radiation will the next generation of wireless phones require? How much can humans, wildlife, bees, bats, and birds tolerate?

It is time that our Planning Commissions in America take back their power from the 15-year-old Telecommunications Act that has hog-tied them for so long and resume their job of protecting our lives and environment. In the least, cell towers need to be kept away from residences and schools or replaced with fiber optic cable.

Proponents for the proposed Shelter Valley cell tower state safety as their number one reason for wanting it. When will the Telecommunications Act be changed so that residents impacted by close-range cell towers can keep their families safe from lethal radiation? The evidence is here and it is time for us to acknowledge the truth—the ever increasing levels of electromagnetic radiation that are being allowed to permeate our lives is killing us.

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact  


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