Thursday, September 23, 2010

NY town enacts tough cell tower limits / 'No' to Andrew Cell Tower / DoT differs / Hydro One Smart Meter System and Radio Frequency Burden

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

24 September 2010

NY town enacts tough cell tower limits

By FRANK ELTMAN (AP) – 7 hours ago

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A Long Island township has imposed restrictions on the placement of new cell towers that are among the toughest in the country, and one phone company says it effectively bans new construction.

The town of Hempstead is a notable example on a list of municipalities tightening rules on where cell phone companies can place antennas. The moves come as consumers are demanding blanket wireless coverage for their phones and buying laptops and, more recently, tablet computers that also rely on cell towers.

Despite a 1996 federal law prohibiting municipalities from considering health issues in approving locations for cell antennas, a group of mothers concerned about what they consider risky cell towers outside their children's schools successfully lobbied the town of Hempstead.

"Our position is we want to be more proactive," said Jody Turk-Goldberg, co-founder of a civic group called "Moms of Merrick," which discounts pronouncements by groups like the American Cancer Society that conclude there is scant evidence that cell towers are a health hazard.

"We saw what the tobacco companies did years ago; everybody said smoking was safe," she added.

The ordinance passed unanimously this week by the Hempstead town board prohibits wireless companies from installing equipment closer than 1,500 feet to homes, day care centers, schools and houses of worship, unless they submit compelling evidence that there is an absolute need. Hempstead, home to America's first suburban community — Levittown — is a densely populated township just east of New York City.

While the town board adhered to FCC regulations to not consider possible health effects, officials instead described the vote as a quality of life issue.

The ordinance provides "real protection against the siting of cell towers and antennae in locations that would adversely impact home values or the character of local neighborhoods," said Kate Murray, supervisor of the Long Island town; the country's largest, with a population of approximately 759,000.

The town has also hired Richard Comi of the Center for Municipal Solutions as a consultant to review applications of cellular companies seeking to install new antennas or towers. Comi's company advises municipalities in 32 states on cell tower regulations, he said.

"Because of the volume and continued growth of cellular devices, all of the `easy places' to locate antennae and cell towers are gone," Comi said. "The issue is they are having to penetrate residential areas now and that leads to concerns of aesthetics and home values."

Among other municipalities taking action on cell towers, the city of Bend, Ore., is considering restrictions on the size and location of cell phone towers that may keep them out of residential areas and off historic buildings. A proposed city ordinance would ban poles and towers that soar above building tops and tree lines in low and standard density residential areas.

There would also be restrictions on camouflaged towers, like the ones designed to mimic trees, to make sure they don't stick out in their surroundings.

But not all the momentum is against the cell companies.

In Mount Vernon, N.Y., a federal court ruled recently that the city had violated both federal and state law in its review of an application by MetroPCS Communications Inc. to put antennas on a rooftop, and ordered the installation to proceed.

"It's easy for people to say they want better cell service," said Turk-Goldberg. "Every single mom we have spoken to uses cell phones, they all have good service. The question is how many towers do we need? They have invaded us with tons of towers; they're all over the place. We just don't want our children exposed."

David Samberg, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless, said his company has encountered opposition to cell towers in virtually every municipality around the country.

"It's not unheard of for towns to have issues, but this is extreme," he said, contending that the Hempstead regulations effectively would shut out 95 percent of the town to future antenna construction. "Every place you go it's the same questions. It usually starts with health effects, then they go to the question of real estate values," Samberg said.

Fewer choices for cell sites forces phone companies to pay more for the remaining options, and settle for places that don't help coverage as much. Even where there is coverage, phone companies sometimes add towers to boost calling and data capacity.

The phones and the radiation they emit are subject to suspicion as well: San Francisco legislators this summer passed an ordinance that requires phone stores to post the radiation values of different models, starting next year. The wireless industry association has sued the city in return, saying the radiation values are irrelevant to shoppers, as long as they're under the legal limit set by the FCC.

Attorney Andrew Campanelli, who represents the "Merrick Moms" and groups in other communities opposing cell towers, says safety questions persist about cell phone towers, especially near schools.

He said in Bayville, N.Y., five children who attended school 50 feet from cell antennas on a water tower have been diagnosed with cancer or leukemia and three have died. "I am not prepared to produce experts that there is a direct correlation, but it's frightening," he said. "The moms say err on the side of caution."

An American Cancer Society website Q&A addresses the issue this way:

"Some people have expressed concern that living, working, or going to school near a cell phone tower might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems. At this time, there is very little evidence to support this idea."

Joe Baker, president of another Merrick civic association, said many residents in his community remain dubious.

"The bottom line is that the perception does exist; there's a fear that exists," he said. "I'd also say that its probably only a matter of time before science finds an alternative to these cell towers. Whether it's satellite or otherwise, in time it will resolve itself."

Associated Press researcher Monika Mathur in New York contributed to this report.


Neighbors Cry 'No' to Andrew Cell Tower


"I would not buy a house near a cell phone tower." Tinley Park resident Kevin Dardugno said he also worried about property values, adding it is already ...


DoT differs with Environment Ministry on radiation standards for mobile towers

Thomas K. Thomas

New Delhi, Sept. 23

The Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) are at loggerheads over the standards to be used for monitoring radiation levels emanating from mobile phone towers.

While the DoT is in favour of continuing with the international standards formulated by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), MoEF wants to develop India-specific guidelines.

The variance in views emerged at the recently held meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on electro-magnetic field (EMF) radiation. During the meeting the representative of MoEF said the standards developed by ICNIRP may not be commensurate with Indian conditions in terms of population density and socio-economic factors. MoEF's views are being backed by the Ministry of Health whose representative in the meeting said that many countries have specified their own radiation levels keeping in view the environmental and physiological factors.

'Local factors count'

Illustrating with an example, the Health Ministry official said that the fat content of an average Indian is much lower compared to European countries and hence the level of susceptibility of Indians may be different.

"The standards adopted in the US are most stringent as per the Federal Communication Commission. The permission SAR (specific absorption rate) levels at or below 1.6W/kg taken over a volume containing a mass of 1gm of tissue whereas as per ICNIRP guidelines adopted in India the permitted levels are at 2W/kg over a 10 gm average mass. India may consider developing its own standards for EMF radiation level," the official stated.

However, DoT insists that the radiation meters are being calibrated periodically by internationally accredited laboratories and, therefore, the emission standards under ICNIRP will be accurate.

DoT added that the current emission levels from mobile towers are anyway much lower than the ICNIRP standards.


Smart Meters and EMF/RF

( Originally written in 2008 )

Dear Mr. Watts,

Further to our very interesting conversation several days ago about Smart Meters and EMF/RF, please see the link above from France about cows/disease/high voltage that we discussed as a horrible problem that has been plaguing farmers and their livestock in industrialized nations for decades. Finally, a French court has recognized this problem and has awarded damages.

The toxic load of environmental pollution we all live in, which Hydro 1 unfortunately is now contributing to by forcing us all to live with the added burden of the radio frequency emissions of Smart Meters only exacerbates the ill health that we all find ourselves plagued with. Remember Canadian statistics presently for cancer are epidemic ... 1 in 2.5 women and 1 in 2.3 men (CBC Marketplace Wendy Mesley 'Chasing the Cancer Answer' 2006).

You stated that the Smart Meter will function on 2.4 gigahertz microwave and you seemed convinced that I should be comforted by that fact, especially since you assured me that it was as "safe as a baby monitor". 2.4 GHz is the same frequency that blasts us from cell phones, cordless phones, WiFi computers and WLAN in our homes and schools.

Now for a bit of a history lesson about the US Embassy in Moscow during the time period from 1953 to the 1970's into which the Russians beamed microwaves at 2.4 GHz. Apparently 2 consecutive ambassadors died of cancer, another developed leukemia and bleeding eyes, 16 women developed breast cancer, while others suffered immune system disorders, high white blood cell counts, chromosomal breaks, chronic fatigue, blurred vision, cataracts and muscles aches.

You assured me that the criteria for the RF emissions of the Smart Meters is safe since it complies with Canada Safety Code 6; however, our Canadian standards have drastically lagged behind the rapid growth of this new wireless technology rendering it effectively obsolete to protect humans while creating an advantage for the telecommunications industry and now apparently for Hydro 1 as well. Adding a Smart Meter to every single home in Ontario while you claim it is 'within standards' only adds to every single person's radiation burden in the province. The Russians apparently have microwave standards for public exposure that are 100 times more stringent that those in North America. I wonder why?

Do I want a Smart Meter? Absolutely not. Do I want cancer. No! I sincerely hope that Hydro 1 will respect the wishes of people such as myself and not impose this electricity monitoring system with its added radiation burden on my family home. I know it has taken a long time to recognize the livestock/EMF problem illustrated in the above link, just as the connection between tobacco and asbestos are now recognized as being linked with cancer. The current research on wireless technology, which is now vast, is rapidly identifying EMF/RF as a significant risk factor and is supporting the disease connection between humans/animals and EMF/RF.

Smart Consumers usually think for themselves and do their own research instead of blindly accepting as truth what is marketed to them. Smart Meters are not really smart at all!  I prefer to err on the side of 'precaution' when it comes to my health.


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