Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sebastopol rejects 35 year cell tower / Wind farm health problems / Stenning Woods antennas / Experts warn about wifi / Mobile and cordless telephone study

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sandi Maurer"
To: "Martin Weatherall"
Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 7:53 PM
Subject: Sebastopol rejects 35 year lease extension on downtown cell tower (and $5000)

FYI: The Sebastopol City Council voted 3-1 last night to reject $5000 and a proposed 35 year lease extension on the downtown cell tower. It was last on the meeting agenda and not likely to get any press coverage. Even though the current lease still has 20 or so years left, their rejection of the extension request and money is significant.


Reports of wind farm health problems growing
Updated: Wed Apr. 22 2009 News Staff

More people are coming forward saying they're experiencing sleep problems,  headaches, and heart palpitations caused by living near windmills.

Ontario physician Dr. Robert McMurtry told a news conference in Toronto  Wednesday that while wind energy may offer a cleaner, more efficient way to generate electricity, those who live near the giant turbines are suffering through serious health problems.

McMurtry, a retired orthopedic surgeon who used to be an assistant deputy minister of the Population and Public Health Branch of Health Canada, decided to look into the health effects of windmills with the help of Carmen Krogh, a retired Alberta pharmacist.

Krogh and a group of volunteers distributed questionnaires in areas near wind farms, asking residents to describe whether they have experienced any effects from the turbines.

Of 76 people who responded to their informal survey, 53 reported at least one health complaint.

They complained of:

a.. headaches
b.. heart palpitations
c.. hearing problems
d.. stress, anxiety and depression

He reports that one resident had to be admitted to hospital with an acute hypertensive episode. Another experienced atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm).

"There is no question that they are genuinely suffering, and more people are at risk if the rules are not changes substantially," McMurtry told the committee.

Krogh's survey revealed that most of those who complained of health problems lived within a kilometre of a wind farm, while those further away were less likely to experience health problems.

The turbines don't appear to affect everyone equally and it is not clear what causes the health problems in some people. Some suspect that the constant, low frequency noise and vibration from the rotating blades may be what cause the problems.

But research into the problem is lacking. That's why McMurtry is calling on governments to conduct a lot more studies into the turbines' effects on the health of nearby residents.

"There is no epidemiological study that has been conducted that establishes either the safety or harmfulness of industrial wind turbines. In short, there is an absence of evidence," McMurtry told an Ontario government committee Wednesday.

The committee is debating The Green Energy and Green Economy Act, 2009, a bill that would enact standards for renewable energy projects, such as standardized setback requirements for wind farms.

McMurtry told the committee that until there are rigorous epidemiological studies of the health effects of wind turbines, Ontario should not go ahead with any further construction of wind turbines.

Wind power advocates contend that studies have been conducted in North America and other parts of the world and they show that residents who live near wind farms have few complaints about them.

Sean Whittaker, vice president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said these studies "have really come to the same conclusion and that is there is no evidence that wind turbines have an impact on human health."

Whittaker told CTV News that research he has reviewed shows that the percentage of people who approve of wind power increases the closer you get to a wind farm.

Barbara Ashbee is not one of those people.

Ashbee lives in the shadow of 11 of the 45 giant wind turbines at the Melanchthon wind farm near Shelburne, Ont., about 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto. At first, she liked the idea of living near a green-energy facility.

"I thought it was a great idea for the environment," she told CTV News.

But the day the turbines started running, she and her husband, Denis Lormand, stopped sleeping. "They are so loud we didn't get any sleep. You can hear them in the bedroom. There is also a hum and vibration that permeates the house," she says

All that deprivation started to lead to cognitive abilities, she contends.

"My memory now is horrible," she says. "It's terrible to go night after night without sleep. We go to bed 7 p.m. because we don't know what the night will bring."

Her husband also suffers from tinnitus, which causes a constant whining sound in his ears. With more construction at the Melanchthon wind power centre expected to bring the number of turbines at the facility to 133, the couple says they would love to sell their house but can't.

"Between the noise and the vibration, we couldn't put a For Sale sign here. There's no way," says Ashbee.

Ashbee says she has no problem with the concept of wind farms, but she says they simply shouldn't be built near residences.

"I thought they were wonderful, but they're not. There are big problems and they have to get sorted out," she says.

With a report by CTV medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

Stenning Woods residents raise static about antennas to bring policy change


By Jesse Chadderdon
Community News
Posted Apr 22, 2009 @ 01:06 PM


Hockessin, Del. -
Even if you've never paid a visit to Stenning Woods resident Brenda Herr in your life, it's easy to find her. Just scan the horizon of the sprawling Hockessin neighborhood until your eyes meet the towering dome of the neighborhood's water tank, then head right for it.

Herr purchased her Gormley Court home back in 1994, knowing the Artesian-owned water tank would be her closest neighbor. And for several years it was a quiet, unobtrusive neighbor until 2000, when it became home to cell phone towers for AT&T.

Over the last decade, AT&T has added new antennas periodically, most recently in 2007. Now they want to add more, much to the chagrin of Herr and her neighbors.

"They're hideous looking," Herr said of the new, larger antennas that sit in three locations along the water tank's balcony. "Our properties are going to be hard enough to sell because of the tower, but at least we knew that part going in. But now they've added these things that look like rocket boosters to the sides and they're horrible."

But Andrew Quinn, who lives on Letitia Drive right next to the service entrance to the water tower, said aesthetics were only part of the problem.

"At first they were only 18-20 inches tall but now they're three times that size and a lot more powerful," he said. "I've had all kinds of problems with appliances, from the TV, to our phones, to our computer, to the Sirius radio."

A newly purchased remote-entry garage door keypad never worked, and when a technician from Sears came out to test it, he told Quinn he traced high levels of interference to the antennas.

AT&T Spokesman Dan Langan said the company's antennas are routinely monitored.

"AT&T and other carriers consistently analyze how their networks are operating in order to meet customers' needs," he said. "We're confident that our towers are both safe and do not create any interference, as has been alleged."

No Public Process

Herr and Quinn would like a chance to refute AT&T's claims, but New Castle County Code does not afford them that opportunity.

According to Department of Land Use Spokesman Mark Veasey, the county encourages co-location, he said, as a way of cutting down on the use of open space and the construction of additional obtrusive structures.

The co-location agreement between the two companies was administratively approved in 2000 through a zoning verification. There was no public component to that process, he said.

"Basically the department confirmed that yes, they could [put antennas there] under the zoning requirements and the code requires no more than that going forward," he said.

Herr said she never received any notification that the antennas were coming back then, and said she thinks there ought to be a new permitting process with an opportunity for public comment whenever new antennas are added.

"We have deed restrictions here," Herr said. "Anytime you add something to your home or make it bigger, you have to get a permit and approval. Why should it be any different for them?"

Councilman William Tansey (R-Greenville), who went out to look at the water tank last week, said he sympathizes with the residents. He said he plans on looking into legislation requiring a public hearing each time new antennas are added to an already-approved structure.

But that's likely the limit of what he can do, he said. Federal law limits local governments from regulating the size and strength of the antennas. The Federal Communications Commission handles that.

In fact, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 strips local authority to limit towers on health or environmental grounds.

A health risk?

Herr lost a son to cancer five years ago, and while she in no way attributes his death to the radio waves associated with the antennas, she said she's seen firsthand the effects of radiation. With five daughters under her roof, she concedes that she's also worried about possible health risks.

"We've all heard warnings to use a headset for your cell phone or not to keep your laptop directly on your lap," she said. "I don't think we really know what the risks are here."

It is indeed a fledgling area of science. In fact, President Obama has directed his U.S. Cancer Panel to study the issue of electro-magnetic radiation.

But Joe DiNunzio, executive vice president of Artesian, says he is confident the antennas pose no risk to the water supply. Cell antennas are routinely located on water towers throughout the country.

DiNunzio estimates Artesian generates $300,000 in revenue by leasing their water tanks for antennas. Without that income, he said the company would
likely have to add $4 to the average annual residential water bill.


Experts warn about wifi in public
Vancouver Courier
Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2009
To the editor:

Re: "Free wireless Internet plan remains in limbo," April 10.

I am astounded that our city councillors are still trying to find a way to roll out wifi in public buildings without considering the emerging body of science that says wifi represents a considerable health risk.

I have heard those in favour of public wifi cite the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Canada. But Sir William Stewart, a top British scientist and former science adviser to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, says the WHO is wrong about safe levels of non-ionizing radiation and that the whole basis of their safety limits are inadequate to protect the population--especially our children.

Ditto for the German government, which in 2007 warned all citizens not to use wifi. Then there are doctors Gerd Oberfeld and Henry Lai, who are world renowned for their research into electromagnetic radiation and biological effects--they both said they would pull their children out of any school that had wifi. Professor Olle Johansson, of the world-renowned Karolinska Institute in Sweden, has found biological effects at radiation levels lower than those associated with wifi.

City council and the City of Vancouver must take a step back and look at independent research that is clearly saying we may have a huge public health problem in the future. For the sake of our children and all our citizens, the city must hold off on implementing this technology.

Anything less would be irresponsible.

Carl Katz,


© Vancouver Courier 2009


TO: ICEMS Members and colleagues

Elizabeth Kelley, M.A.
Managing Secretariat
International Commission For Electromagnetic Safety
Mobile and cordless telephones, serum transthyretin and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier: a cross-sectional study

Environmental Health 2009, 8:19 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-19

Fredrik Soderqvist (
Michael Carlberg (
Lennart Hardell (

Background: Whether low-intensity radiofrequency radiation damages the blood-brain barrier has long been debated, but little or no consideration has  been given to the bloodcerebrospinal fluid barrier. In this cross-sectional study we tested whether long-term and/or short-term use of wireless telephones was associated with changes in the serum transthyretin level, indicating altered transthyretin concentration in the cerebrospinal fluid, possibly reflecting an effect of radiation.

Methods: One thousand subjects, 500 of each sex aged 18-65 years, were randomly recruited using the population registry. Data on wireless telephone use were assessed by a postal questionnaire and blood samples were analyzed for serum transthyretin concentrations determined by standard immunonephelometric techniques on a BN Prospec® instrument.

Results: The response rate was 31.4%. Logistic regression of dichotomized TTR serum levels with a cut-point of 0.31 g/l on wireless telephone use yielded increased odds ratios that were statistically not significant. Linear regression of time since first use overall and on the day that blood was withdrawn gave different results for males and females: for men significantly higher serum concentrations of TTR were seen the longer an analogue telephone or a mobile and cordless desktop telephone combined had been used, and in contrast, significantly lower serum levels were seen the longer an UMTS telephone had been used.

Adjustment for fractions of use of the different telephone types did not modify the effect for
cumulative use or years since first use for mobile telephone and DECT, combined. For women, linear regression gave a significant association for short-term use of mobile and cordless telephones combined, indicating that the sooner blood was withdrawn after the most recent telephone call, the higher the expected transthyretin concentration.

Conclusions: In this hypothesis-generating descriptive study time since first use of mobile telephones and DECT combined was significantly associated with higher TTR levels regardless of how much each telephone type had been used. Regarding short-term use, significantly higher TTR concentrations were seen in women the sooner blood was withdrawn after the most recent telephone call on that day.

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