OPINION: Fresh Concerns About Cell Tower Radiation

OPINION: Fresh Concerns About Cell Tower Radiation

By Bonnie Masters

I have been vaguely aware of and vaguely concerned about the growing controversy regarding the safety of radio frequency (RF) microwave technology that supports the current wireless industry. I happened to discover a newly released TED talk on the subject, and the supporting research offered, during the same time period that Verizon is attempting to build a cell tower in the heart of a densely populated residential neighborhood — Lake Forest Estates. The talk, the research, and the efforts of a small but passionate group of Pagosa residents to oppose this tower in particular, and towers in residential neighborhoods more generally, have gotten me off the fence, and off the couch.

Here is the 16-minute TED Talk by researcher Jeromy Johnson that inspired me to write about this issue:

I have only recently learned that the FCC’s Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibited state and local governments from regulating the placement of wireless facilities on environmental grounds. That legislation has deteriorated through subsequent case law so that today local governments and the public are forbidden to even speak about health effects of RF radiation in regard to where wireless infrastructure will be located. So for the past 20 years, wireless technology infrastructure using the microwave EMF spectrum has proliferated without regard to health effects, so long as the facilities meet FCC standards for emissions.

This federal preemption leaves us now in a peculiar situation: growing numbers of Americans are concerned about the risks from proliferating cell towers and smart meters, some are experiencing cognitive and physical health consequences — and yet our local governments are forbidden to consider such risks and concerns in their decisions regarding the location of cell towers in the areas they govern.

I have also learned that there are now over 7,000 research studies that dispute current government safety standards for weak EMFs. There are more than 1,000 studies regarding weak-EMF radiation and oxidative stress alone. And yet, the government-wireless industry complex continues to insist, in arrogance and willful blindness, that non-thermal biological effects from RF microwaves do not exist – or if they do exist, they are certainly harmless to humans and other living beings.

So far, most everyone I have talked to during this past month is in favor of faster, broader wireless service… and they are unaware of potential health effects of the “electro-smog” created as wireless infrastructure envelopes communities. They believe that if the federal government, the wireless industry, and the American Cancer Society say microwaves are safe, that’s good enough for them.

In my own current assessment, after a month of research, I see the microwave wireless communications industry as similar to the tobacco industry in the very early 1940s. Back then, there were doctors in white coats on television assuring the populace that smoking cigarettes was good for them. Now we are still in the gee-whiz phase of wireless technology and its gadgets – cell phones and mobile computers are so liberating, and every bit as addictive as smoking.

In 1944 the American Cancer Society first began to warn about the possible ill effects of smoking, although it admitted that “no definite evidence exists” linking smoking and lung cancer. It was 8 years later in 1952 when Reader’s Digest published “Cancer by the Carton”, detailing the dangers of smoking. That article sparked a firestorm of public awareness, and the following year cigarette sales declined for the first time in over two decades.

Unlike smoking, EMF pollution is not something we can practically opt out of, once electro-smog blankets whole communities.

This proposed Lake Forest tower is only the beginning of Verizon’s 4G service rollout in our area. Proliferating microwave wireless technology requires more and more towers to carry more and more bandwidth, for voice and data services. I suspect this wireless proliferation will continue throughout the land until there is finally public awareness and outcry sufficient to change government policy to adopt better and safer technologies. In the meantime, I think opposing the placement of cell towers in residential neighborhoods, even if they look like poor imitations of pine trees, is a worthwhile cause.

If the message shared by Jeromy Johnson in the above video piques your interest, check out this page of supporting research links,

I appreciate fast and dependable internet service as much as the next guy and would love to have access to a fiber optics system. I think, however, that the government-protected rollout of wireless broadband across the country will eventually prove to be the wrong road taken toward 21st Century communications.

OPINION: Fresh Concerns About Cell Tower Radiation

Illinoisans deserve opt-out of ComEd’s dangerous smart meters

Illinoisans deserve opt-out of ComEd’s dangerous smart meters

To the Editor:

ComEd’s smart meter deployment is being propelled by a public relations campaign which minimizes and/or dismisses the health and safety impacts that the wireless meters are creating for their customers. What has been known for decades about the health effects of radio frequency/microwave radiation is now being passed off by ComEd as a small amount of radio frequency being emitted from a smart meter six times a day.

A call to customer service posing the question, “Are smart meters safe?” will elicit a response, “You don’t have anything to worry about, it is safer than a baby monitor.” And, with that simple explanation, the deployment of 4 million smart meters is underway in Illinois. Community leaders and residents deserve a real answer and hard facts.

Radio frequency/microwave radiation also is referred to as non-ionizing or non-thermal. For clarification, definition of thermal or ionizing radiation means it can cause heat shock or burn body tissue. Non-ionizing or non-thermal radiation is a lower intensity that can cause other negative effects on living tissue (human, animal or plant).

Let the truth be known:

What is being hidden from the consumer and decision-makers is what has been known by the military for decades: Radio frequency/microwave radiation even at low levels is a health threat. U.S. military reports nearly 60 years ago confirmed the biological effects of exposure to low level electromagnetic radiation.

Jerry Flynn is a retired Canadian Armed Forces captain with 22 years of experience in electronic warfare and signals intelligence. In that capacity, he worked with U.S. and NATO armies. Flynn wrote:

“In 1956 the U.S. Department of Defense directed the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force to investigate the biological effects of exposure to Radio Frequency/microwave radiation (RF/MW) and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF). In 1957 they reported many implications: evidence it can cause cancer, damage major organs, and disrupt important biological processes. It can harm the immune and nervous systems, cause behavioral effects, interfere with the ability to learn, and damage the chemical barrier that prevents blood toxins from entering the brain. It could possibly cause genetic defects, birth defects, and general effects on growth and the aging processes.”

Flynn emphasized: “The military noted that pulsed radiation appeared to be more harmful than non-pulsed radiation.” (ComEd smart meters emit pulsed radiation.)

Air Force Report, 1994:

A June 1994 U.S. Air Force document, entitled, “Radio Frequency/microwave Radiation Biological Effects and Safety Standards,” acknowledged non-thermal health effects. Stated in its abstract, “It is known that Electromagnetic Radiation has a biological effect on human tissue. Researchers have discovered a number of biological dysfunctions that can occur in living organisms. Exposure of the human body to Radio Frequency/microwave [RF/MW] radiation has many biological implications that range from innocuous sensation of warmth to serious physiological damage to the eye,” and added that “there is also evidence that RF/MW radiation can cause cancer.”

Other adverse health issues include: “mutagenic effects, cardiovascular effects, negative effects on chromosomes and…Soviet investigators claim that exposure to low-level radiation can induce serious CNS [central nervous system] dysfunctions.”

NASA Report, 1981:

A NASA report published in April 1981, entitled “Electromagnetic Field Interactions with the Human Body: Observed Effects and Theories,” discussed what EMF and RF/microwave radiation inflicts on humans. Health effects of RF/microwave radiation that were reported are headaches, sleep problems, neurological symptoms, cardiac symptoms, memory problems, increased cholesterol, gastritis, ulcers, increased fasting blood glucose, irritability, inability to concentrate, apprehension, and cataracts (clouding of posterior part of lens in those caused by microwave radiation instead of anterior clouding as seen with regular types). Information for the NASA report was collected from over 1,000 written sources that included journals, conference proceedings, technical reports, books, abstracts, and news items.

Navy Report, 1971:

In October 1971, the Naval Medical Research Institute published a research report, “Bibliography of Reported Biological Phenomena (‘Effects’) and Clinical Manifestations Attributed to Microwave and Radio-Frequency Radiation,” which was a compilation of over 2,000 references on the biological responses to RF/microwave radiation. It lists well over 100 negative biological effects caused by RF/ microwave radiation. Here is a partial list from the report: corneal damage, brain heating, alteration of the diameter of blood vessels, liver enlargement, decreased fertility, sterility, altered fetal development, decreased lactation in nursing mothers, cranial nerve disorders, seizures, convulsions, depression, insomnia, hand tremors, chest pain, thrombosis, alteration in the rate of cellular division, anorexia, altered adrenal cortex activity, chromosome aberrations, tumors, loss of hair, and sparking between dental fillings.

Also mentioned in the Navy Report is, “altered orientation of animals, birds and fish.”

Barrie Trower, a British Secret Service Microwave Weapons Specialist, stated:

“The paradox is how Radio Frequency/microwave radiation can be used as a weapon to cause impairment, illness and death; and at the same time be used as a communications instrument [such as in a smart meter]. By 1971 we knew everything that needed to be known. A 1976 document summarizing U.S. Defense Intelligence research is the saddest and most despicable document ever published in history. The document lists all of the health hazards caused by wireless devices and concludes: This should be kept secret to preserve industrial profit.”

Since the health threats have been known for decades, where do we stand now?

At this time, the installation of smart meters is mandated by law on every home, school, and building in ComEd’s customer service territory. NO permanent opt-out option is available. Parents, who know the truth about the health risks, have nowhere to turn. There is no avenue available for parents, who are aware of the dangers, to protect their children. Does this sound like Flint, Michigan all over again?

Illinois is in the midst of an avoidable, man-made health crisis. What happens when the state faces Flint’s horrible position concerning water, but with electricity? ComEd’s smart meter deployment is creating just such a tragic situation. It is up to the residents to take action, push legislators and the Illinois Commerce Commission for a permanent opt-out, and protect the children in Illinois as well as all living beings in the state.

Nancy J. Thorner

Lake Bluff, Ill.