Researcher Amy Worthington talks with Documentary Filmmaker and Radio host Sofia Smallstorm (producer of 911 Mysteries).
Bayville couple sues over cell towers
[Newsday, Melville, N.Y.]
The first claim is that the village violated the agreement on which the land was donated to the village in the 1950s, Campanelli said. That agreement provides that the land could not be used for any commercial purpose, according to Campanelli.
Second, Campanelli said the village is not enforcing the provisions of the federal Telecommunications Act, which allows a village to consider restrictive land-use agreements in order to block the installation of cell-phone antennas.
Anthony Sabino of Bethpage, the attorney for the village, said the installation of the antennas does not violate the agreement or federal law.
The couple in the civil suit, filed in federal District Court in Central Islip, also said that the rate of cancer among students and teaching personnel at Bayville Elementary School adjoining the tower is much higher than normal, resulting in illness among 30 percent of school's staff.
Campanelli said he had no direct scientific proof to support the relationship between alleged cancer rates and radiation from the cell-phone antennas, saying, "I'm not a scientist, just a lawyer." Anna Hunderfund, superintendent of the Locust Valley School District, which includes Bayville, said in a written statement that a consulting firm hired by the district "concluded that the cell phone tower posed no significant health risks to students or staff . . . there is no truth to any claims that 30 percent of our students or staff have become ill as a result of the location of the cell phone tower." The American Cancer Society has said there is no known link between cell towers and an increased cancer risk in humans.
Debate continues over health hazards of Internet antennas
The 37-foot tower uses a technology called WiMax, and it spreads its radio waves far wider than standard Wi-Fi radio waves.
"Wi-Fi is very focused on a specific small area, a coffee shop or a library," said Debra Havins, spokeswoman for Clearwire, a Kirkland, Wash., company that sells the antennas. "WiMax is much broader, its coverage is measured in miles rather than a few feet."
The prospect of such a powerful antenna rising just a few hundred feet from Walnut Heights Elementary School playground had parents and activists crying foul at a school meeting Wednesday, as they expressed alarm over the health hazards of the nonstop radio waves the tower would emit if it were installed.
"A lot of people are still saying, 'Oh, the science is inconclusive,' " said Ellie Marks, an Orinda real estate agent who has become an outspoken advocate for greater regulation of equipment emitting radio waves, or non-ionizing radiation. "However, if there's a risk, I don't want my kid to be the guinea pig."
Havins, however, pointed to decades of study on the issue.
"At this point there is nothing conclusive," she said, "and there's no reason to believe they constitute a potential health hazard to nearby residents or students."
The antennas also emit electromagnetic radiation that falls within Federal Communications Commission guidelines addressing human health hazards, she said.
A call to the FCC seeking information on the studies it uses to develop its guidelines wasn't returned Thursday.
But Martin Blank, a professor of biophysics at Columbia University in New York City with an expertise on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, regards the federal regulations as inadequate.
"I think the parents are right to be concerned," Blank said. "The fact of the matter is that electromagnetic fields over a whole range of frequencies have very potent biological effects."
Blank cited numerous potential health effects of electromagnetic radiation, including Alzheimer's disease and leukemia, and studies backing them. He and other scientists wrote the BioInitiative Report detailing their concerns, which is available at www.bioinitiative.org.
Blank also said his research has shown that electromagnetic energy, including the radio waves used in wireless communication, activate a cellular stress response that indicates cellular damage. It's a protective mechanism that increases the levels of stress proteins that help repair damaged proteins.
"The biochemical changes are indicative of dangers," he said.
The American Cancer Society noted a 1999 study from the National Institutes of Health that said evidence for health harms from electromagnetic fields was "weak" but could not be totally discounted.
"The conflicting data concerning electromagnetic fields will undoubtedly continue to generate controversy," the organization said on its Web site. "Clearly, the question of whether or not electromagnetic fields can cause cancer needs to be answered."
Suzanne Bohan covers science. Contact her at 510-262-2789. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SuzBohan.
Known as a base transceiver station (BTS) or cell site is a piece of equipment that facilitates wireless communication between user equipment (UE) and a network.
A number of studies show that radiation from these 'mobile towers' can cause health problems at a later date, though these findings have not been unequivocally scientifically proven yet. According to the Australian Emraa organization, however, towers emitting RFR is a fact that the world needs to start waking up to.
In many cases, these towers are located on devalued properties so people do not normally choose to live on surrounding properties. However, some people have no choice but to live in such close proximity to a tower.
These days, however, these towers are being constructed in the middle of housing districts; telecom companies have done this to provide better network facilities to customers.
However, families living near these towers told Saudi Gazette that they do fear the damaging impact radiation can have on their health. "Isn't it enough that we have health problems from using the mobile phone itself; now I have a mobile tower next to my house and it is really frightening me, but nothing can be done," said Abdullah Al-Mehdar, a 43-year-old resident of Jeddah.
Another resident is a retired colonel, Abdulaziz Hussain, who told Saudi Gazette that the mobile phone network in his area is very weak so his telecom company has offered to locate one of its towers on the roof of his building. "I refused to rent my roof to them since I don't want to cause harm to my children or neighbors because of the radiation, even if it hasn't been scientifically proven yet," he stated.
Despite the telecommunication industry's maintained position that radiation from mobile phone towers does not pose a health risk, there is evidence that it might.
RFR has been associated with a range of health problems including brain tumors, lymphomas, memory learning problems, memory concentration problems, changes to brain patterns and genetic cellular effects. Studies reveal that adverse effects occur at very low levels of exposure to RFR, such as that emitted by the towers, and these include changes to cell proliferation, chemical mutation in the blood, breaches of the blood brain barrier – which can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's – and changes in brain patterns.
The Ministry of Health maintains that there are no studies which prove the impact of the RFR from mobile phone towers on human health. Dr. Khaled Marghalani, the spokesman for the ministry said in a previous interview with Saudi Gazette: "There are no scientific studies that prove the effects of mobile towers on human beings; cardiologists and oncology specialist agreed on this fact as well."
Likewise, the telecommunication industry claims that cellular antennas are safe because the radiation they produce is too weak to cause heating. They point to "safety standards" from groups that have explicitly stated that their claims of "safe levels of exposure" are based on thermal levels.
The same stance is maintained for mobile phone handsets. "There is no scientific evidence showing that mobile phones cause adverse health effects and our handsets operate within World Health Organization guidelines," remarked Abdulmuhsin Rashed, a technological specialist.
Some research, however, suggest the emissions from phones may damage human DNA.
A Dutch study says that brain functions such as memory and reaction times may be affected by exposure to mobile tower signals. German research has previously showed an increasing number of cancer rates around mobile phone base stations.
In fact, the county of Palm Beach, FL in the state of California, and New Zealand have both prohibited cellular antennas near schools due to safety concerns. - SG