Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Santa Fe antenna proposal

Dear colleagues and friends,
I am forwarding this well written article about an antenna proposal in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA that was co-authored by Dr. William Bruno, a biophysics researcher and Katie Singer.
Libby Kelley
Elizabeth Kelley, M.A.
Managing Secretariat
International Commission For Electromagnetic Safety

Bill Bruno and I wrote this story about what's happening in Santa Fe, but it's relevant to the whole world. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Please disseminate as you deem fit. Best, Katie Singer 505/820-0773

Recently, AT&T asked the City to approve their placing several concealed cell phone antennas around Santa Fe. Unfortunately, few people understand how cell phones or antennas work, how they can affect human health, or how they're regulated. Concealing antennas makes the public further unaware of their influence. We write to provide an introduction to these issues. We begin with electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). EMFs play a prominent role in the function of the heart, brain, kidneys and nervous system. In this wireless age, EMFs also carry data. For example, they transmit a person's voice from a cell phone to a tower. Landlines transmit the voice through cables that confine the EMFs. If an electric field is turned on and off fast enough, then it switches to a magnetic field and back to an electric field repeatedly, creating electro-magnetic radiation, a wave that travels through space at the speed of light. The properties of electro-magnetic radiation are determined by their strength and frequency. Frequency is measured by the number of field vibrations (switches from electric to magnetic fields and back) per second, called Hertz. EMFs with frequencies starting at 300 megahertz are called microwaves. A megahertz (MHz) is one million vibrations per second. As Hertz increase, larger amounts of data can be transmitted. Since the 1920s, people have been exposed to electro-magnetic fields at increasingly higher frequencies from more and more sources. AM radio uses about one megahertz to transmit music or talk. FM radio uses up to 108 MHz. Early TV broadcasts used "very high frequency" (VHF) waves, up to 216 MHz. Later, "ultra-high frequencies" (UHF) channels were added, using up to 800 MHz. Cell phones and cellular antennas emit 850 to 2100 MHz. Wireless internet connections (WiFi) and many digital cordless phones use 2.4 gigahertz (GHz), the same used by a microwave oven. (A GHz is one billion Hertz, or 1000 MHz.) When they reach us, the microwaves emitted by the sun and stars are many millions of times weaker than those emitted by cell phones, cellular antennas, Wi-Fi, and other devices. Until now, human beings have therefore not needed a defense system against microwaves. How do federal regulators determine whether a cell phone or cell phone tower is safe? To date, they rely only on models that predict the device's immediate effect on body temperature. But many other factors have been studied. A scientific model published decades ago by Allan Frey predicted how far different EMF frequencies penetrate into the brain. Frey found that the brain does not absorb low frequency radio waves. Microwaves, however, penetrate skin and bone and are absorbed by the brain. Frey's predictions have been supported by newer computer models and human experiments. Several scientists have found that the barrier separating brain fluid from blood becomes permeable after limited cell phone exposure. In animals, damage to this barrier results in Alzheimer's-like disease. Some researchers are convinced that toxic chemicals in our environment are more damaging when microwaves are also present. Studies have linked exposure to microwaves from cell phone towers with headaches, insomnia, infertility, and inability to concentrate. One study finds that second-hand exposure to cell phones doubles children's behavioral problems. Evidence of harm has been seen at molecular and cellular levels. We recall that from 1938, when scientists began finding that smoking cigarettes can cause deadly harm, until 1964, when the Surgeon General issued its warning, the industry managed to cast doubt on the scientific findings. The number of people who became addicted to cigarettes quadrupled. Yet more decades passed before the effects of second-hand smoke were considered and smoking in public was regulated. In July, after reviewing published and unpublished studies about the link between cell phone use and cancer, Dr. Ronald Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh's Cancer Institute, advised adults to reduce their cell phone use significantly and children to use cell phones only in emergencies. It's time to recognize that the current paradigm for determining microwave safety is completely inadequate. Increasing exposure to microwaves (with additional concealed cell phone antennas, for example) before conflicting studies on long term effects have been resolved gambles with the public's health -- without anyone's informed consent. But long term contracts have been signed and more are proposed. Some contracts allow companies like AT&T to keep their antennas in place for twenty-five years. We return to AT&T's request that our city approve the installation of concealed antennas at St. John's Methodist Church and Hotel Santa Fe. A law passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996 prohibits cities from considering an antenna's health effects. Approval or disapproval can only be based on how the tower looks. Because Santa Fe High is city property, the antenna currently being installed there does not need a permit or neighborhood notification. Property owners who lease space to AT&T collect thousands of dollars per month in rent. The antenna at St. John's Methodist Church would expose churchgoers, neighbors, people who drive past it, and the children who attend its preschool and the nearby Children's Museum. The owners of St. John's Church and Hotel Santa Fe might still have time to change their minds about leasing space for concealed antennas to AT&T. If you are concerned, please let these property owners and your congressional representative know that you value your health and that of the next generation above uninterrupted cell phone coverage. You can also challenge the FDA and the FCC in court for failing to protect your health in regulating cell phones and towers. The hearing for installing antennas at St. John's Church and Hotel Santa Fe will be held September 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council chambers. Indexes of studies about microwaves can be found at and You can follow research developments and news stories back to 1981 at --William Bruno, PhD, is a biophysics researcher and has served as an advisor to the World Health Organization. Katie Singer has written about reproductive health and endocrine disruptors.