Credible Research Supports Cell Tower Health Risks

DeKalb County School Board met Monday and discussed building cell towers at 12 schools, but did not vote. No word yet on when the vote will happen.

Just last week, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made a historic announcement today that cell phones may cause cancer. It rated personal exposure of non-ionizing radiation emitted from cell phones as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B), the same rating as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.  The rating was based on an increased risk of a glioma, which is a deadly brain tumor.

A proposal from T-mobile was disclosed to parents shortly before summer vacation.  If passed, it will allow for the construction of 150’ cell towers at nine elementary schools, two high schools and one special education school in DeKalb County: Briarlake Elementary School, Brockett Elementary School, Flat Rock Elementary School, Jolly Elementary School, Lakeside High School, Margaret Harris Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, Medlock Elementary School, Meadowview Elementary School, Narvie J. Harris Elementary School, Princeton Elementary School and Smoke Rise Elementary School.

Here is the notification from the school board:  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/news-and-info/cell-phone-towers

The specifics of this proposal, including the dollar amounts involved, have not been disclosed to the public.  When asked directly at a school meeting about how much the schools would receive directly, T-mobile representatives refused to comment.  A fair cost / benefit analysis cannot be made if the public is not given access to the terms that the school board is considering.

There are cell towers everywhere!  What makes this proposal any different? True, cell towers have been popping up in Atlanta and across the county at an alarming rate.  In fact, in one neighborhood being cited by T-mobile as needing additional coverage, the number of towers is already at 86 existing and 2 pending in just a four mile radius from the school.  However, the residential areas in our county have been protected from direct exposure to cell tower emissions within about a mile radius, until now. 

Typically, cell towers have been confined to commercial areas such as parking lots or along Interstates where personal exposure to human beings is limited.  What is currently being proposed in DeKalb county and around the country is the citing of large-scale cell towers within the center of quiet, residential communities.  One way of gaining access to this residential area is by offering long-term lease agreements to the schools and parks which are zoned as “multi-use“ properties.  The public school system has been a target for T-mobile because, in their words, “it was the easiest place to start.”

Since cell towers at our local schools would place them in the heart of our residential areas, adjacent to our schools where children spend as much as eight or more hours per day, five days a week, there is reason for parents and others to be alarmed.  For children who live near the school, their exposure would be round the clock.  Studies have not been conducted regarding the outcome of this type of continuous exposure to non-thermal radiation. 

If approved, our children will become part of what is becoming known as “the biggest human experiment of all time."  --  Dr. George Carlo.  (The telecommunications industry gave him 28.5 billion to research the dangers, if any, of cell phones. )

Read more from Dr. Carlo on the EMF Science website: http://www.emfscience.com/index2.html

Defeated Cell Towers
Many locations across the U.S. have been presented with this same proposal and have united to turn it down, stating the risks are far greater than any benefit that could be perceived.  To see a list of defeated cell towers, click this link:  http://www.celltowerdangers.org/defeated-cell-towers.html 



(These petitions are school-specific, but you can sign both of them and put the name of your school after your name to show that you are opposing not just the school named by the petition, but your neighborhood as well as all schools in DeKalb county.)

It is too late for a written letter to arrive via US Mail.  However, you can still submit a feedback form via this link:  http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/tellus/ Or, write to your particular zone representative.  Here is a list of names and email addresses: http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/p/facts-sources.html

Your friends and neighbors are likely to be unaware that this issue is even being considered right now, especially if they do not have children.  

Children are at the greatest risk

Children are in particular danger from these emissions as their head sizes are smaller, their skulls are thinner and their bodies are still growing.  A study is underway that will further evaluate the effects of cell phones on children.  It can be reviewed at:  http://www.mbkds.net/ Results are expected in 2013. 

Health concerns for the community

Those who live near cell phone towers are exposed to radiofrequency radiation 24 hours a day.  During that time there are higher and lower exposure levels.  General symptoms include headaches, fatigue, concentration problems, dizziness, insomnia, depression, appetite loss, skin rashes, and discomfort. Any financial gain the county hopes to receive in return for the cell tower lease would clearly not be worth risking the lives and health of our children.  

For more information

Center for Safe Wireless: http://www.centerforsaferwireless.org/Cell-Phone-Towers.php EM Watch:  http://www.emwatch.com/Cellmasts.htm Cell Tower Report, by Angela Flynn, Public Health Advocate, Member, Wireless Radiation Alert Network, Board Member, Moms For Safe Wireless: http://www.scribd.com/doc/24352550/Cell-Tower-Rpt Expel Cell Towers group:  http://expelcelltowers.org/ includes links to a Chicago report of kindergarten cancer cases linked to cell towers in the area.  Get the Cell Out of Here - Atlanta Chapter:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Get-the-Cell-Out-of-Here-Atlanta-Chapter/200414140002345

“If you do not have enough information to make a perfect decision, then err on the side of caution.  The first rule of medicine is 'First, do no Harm.’  Wise words no matter what the profession.”--  Brian A. Kuzik MD, MSc, FRCP(C) Consulting Paediatrics, Royal Victoria Hospital of Barrie Assistant Professor of Paediatrics (Queen's University, University of Toronto)

Additional comments:  There are many other reasons to oppose the cell tower proposal by T-mobile.  The health risk to children is the primary concern to this author.  However, additional questions will be raised for consideration in upcoming blogs on this site.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brian July 07, 2011 at 12:38 PM
Here are three links below. 1) A picture of 325 5th Ave, between 32&33 st. showing the side facing the Empire State Building. Note the terraces in direct view of the antennae. (There is also another cell tower to the left of the building). 2) Aerial view of 325 5th and ESB. They are one block apart on opposite sides of 5th Ave -- perhaps 300' apart. 3) Real estate prices and recent sales from the NY Times of 325 5th. WHERE ARE THE ACTIVISTS???. 1) http://maps.google.com/maps?q=325+5th+Ave,+New+York,+NY+10001&hl=en&ll=40.747383,-73.985308&spn=0,0.002757&sll=40.747338,-73.985088&sspn=0.006295,0.006295&layer=c&cbp=13,116.4,,0,-43.88&cbll=40.747476,-73.985239&z=19&panoid=w0s7Dik6NwAELc9VTVMyxA 2) http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=5th+Ave&daddr=5th+Ave&hl=en&sll=40.747741,-73.985045&sspn=0.002548,0.005515&geocode=FSPEbQId2BSX-w%3BFcbBbQIdGxOX-w&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=18&t=h&z=18 3) http://realestate.nytimes.com/sales/detail/2958-2278173/325-Fifth-Avenue-NEW-YORK-NY-10016
Neil July 07, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Fear of cell antennas, however unreasonable, could reduce property values, so I wouldn't want one near my house, especailly if there was any chance that I might want to sell it, but I would have no fear of the RF radiation from that antenna if is met legal standards. Does that make me more courageous than the fire fighters? Hardly. It just make me more aware of the technical reality.
Neil July 07, 2011 at 03:53 PM
The transmitters atop the Empire State Building send out RF signals that can be picked up over a hundred miles away. The typical cell antenna has a range of about a mile and a half. If there was anything reasonable to fear about that kind of signal at the levels of cell antennas then the people living and/or working near the ESB would be dead after a few years. They obviously aren't.
Neil July 08, 2011 at 11:53 AM
Topics like this can be very uncomfortable. One never knows the motives people have. There are people who make money spreading fear. Those motives are easy to detect. Others spread unnecessary fear just to publicize themselves and it is hard to separate them from those who spread baseless fear in an attempt to warn others of what they incorrectly perceive as a danger. Too often fear closes minds. Fearful people too often reject even listening to anything that might ameliorate that fear. That's too bad. By opening a couple of minds to scientific reality I have helped people make informed decisions about some important choices they had to make. It is not easy for people without the proper background to evaluate technical concepts. What is pretty straight forward to a technologist can be very confusing to people without technical savvy. Too often they accept the conclusions of people not qualified to reach those conclusions because those people are popular for some other reason. Too often people with baseless fear will react with hostility to those who try to help them by supplying valid information. Attempts to educate are perceived as ridicule. Because of this too few technical people get involved and the public loses the valuable input the technical community could provide.
Cheryl Miller July 08, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Very poetic and a nice ending to a report you plan to hand to your boss when you collect your commission check. I hope he/she does not have a rule in place that says you must have the final word in a blog before you can be paid.
Scott Melchionda July 09, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Thanks Jim, for illustrating a favorite truism of mine: You can have your own opinions, but not your own facts. They can install it on the roof of my house if they like.
Neil July 09, 2011 at 12:19 AM
I am a retired engineer, and an officer of my local civic association. About 2-1/2 years ago the cell antenna issue came to our community and I decided that, being the only technologist in the leadership of the civic, I needed to learn about the subject. This is outside my specialty so I had to learn most of what any other lay person would have to learn. My advantage was experience in dealing with technical matters, including proven scientific methodology, and a stronger science background than most people. I put a lot of work into learning, as any professional engineer would, including seeking literature that challenged the conclusions toward which I was moving. It would be very hard for a legitimate technologist using appropriate scientific methodology to reach conclusions that differ much from the ones I reached. The science is just too clear to those who seek to understand it with a totally open mind. There is a lot of phony science out there that can easily fool the public, and it is doing so. A blog is not a good vehicle for dealing with phony science. Anybody interested in learning more can do so by posting their e-mail address and I will initiate a more productive dialogue. I am not a poet; I receive nothing for writing messages such as those posted other than the good feeling associated with doing the right thing; and my boss, my wife of 50+ years, has taught me never to expect to get the last word.
Cheryl Miller July 09, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Decisions are made by both what we know and how we feel. I went to look at the cell towers in our area and it does not feel right to me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEXY8DaKv0I
Cheryl Miller July 09, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Neil, please take a look at the new photos I uploaded and attached. After reveiwing, please explain how you would think we need more towers in our area.
Neil July 10, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Cheryl, I agree with you about making decisions on how one feels, but only if they are totally personal decisions and affect nobody else other than the decision maker. If the decisions affect others then their feelings also need to be taken into consideration. Just don't spread misinformation and disinformation to try to influence how others feel. Tell them the truth, or encourage those who understand the subject to tell them the truth, and let their feelings be based on reality. I do not know how to access your uploaded photos, but it really doesn't matter. Wireless communications needs are not based on how visible base stations are. Wireless suppliers respond to the needs of their customers, including projections of future needs. Wireless traffic is expanding exponentially. To accommodate that traffic more base station capacity is needed. It is as simple as that. Only qualified professionals can determine how much. I am not qualified to do so, and I doubt that you are any more qualified than me. Of one thing we can be sure, that is, that the suppliers will not spend money on base stations that they do not think they will need.
Brian July 10, 2011 at 06:13 AM
Cheryl: You seek to interfere in a business decision that affect a company's ability to service its customers and in doing so argue that this decision imperils the health of children. Those responsible should not change their decision based on "feelings" if they are the reaction of someone grossly misinformed. Neil and I have formal engineering training and those rigors, while not making us experts, do allow us to spot the really bad science that we have seen here. The IAFF report which you presented contained glaring errors that any person with a background in physics or electromagnetism would catch quickly on a cursory reading. Did you actually read that report and understand it?
Neil July 10, 2011 at 09:00 PM
Brian, To fully read the IAFF position paper, seek out the references, and analyze them, would take anyboy who tries a great deal of time, and knowledge most of us do not have. Lay readers, people like Cheryl and myself, must first determine if the author is credible. That is not always easy. A huge amount of "information," or maybe rhetoric, is thrown at the reader, and the best any casual reader can do is look for obvious errors, inconsistencies, omissions, or other faults. Even if none are found the author may not be credible. With the IAFF position paper it is pretty easy. The author clearly doesn't understand the basics. He or she is asking that something be proven safe, which is lmpossible, since a negative cannot be proven. The second obvious fault is the failure to recognize the importance of the directionality of the antenna signals. From the point of view of the occupants of the fire station, if there was a hazard they would be far less at risk than people a quarter mile away. It would make more sense, if one really feared the radiation, to take a position against locating a firestation at the point of maximum radiation, which is not immediately below the tower. People admire fire fighters, so the IAFF is trusted to know the subject matter upon which it is taking a position. Unfortunarely, whoever prepared the position paper di not have the technological background to do it right.
Cheryl Miller July 10, 2011 at 10:14 PM
I have not spread anything that I believe to be misinformation. I have only cited credible sources and quoted them exactly. The vote will take place Monday, July 11, at 6 p.m. Anyone in DeKalb County who would like to attend may do so. The address is: 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard Stone Mountain, GA
Brian July 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Quoting grossly flawed studies, charlatans and opportunists, however unintentional, is not a pursuit in which to take pride.
The Scarlet Pimpernel July 11, 2011 at 09:21 AM
No studies have shown conclusive evidence that radio-frequency emissions are harmful at levels allowed by the Federal Communications Commission. As a result, the law prohibits rejection of a tower based on health risk. Cell sites can be a financial boon to those who provide space for them. Cell companies won't discuss rent, but Donohue said companies typically pay $800 to $2,000 per month, depending on location, the size of the tower or antenna, and other factors. That can be a significant amount for a struggling school district or a church with stagnant or declining membership. When talks failed, residents turned to zoning officials who ruled against T-Mobile. The city's Board of Adjustment agreed, ruling the antenna could have "a negative impact on the health of children and residents" and would cause property values to decrease. T-Mobile sued. U.S. Magistrate Judge Frederick Buckles ruled in favor of the company in July. Debbie Barrett, a spokeswoman for suburban Seattle-based T-Mobile, said the company is doing everything it can to make the site blend in. But she said the antenna is needed. http://www.wired.com/gadgets/wireless/news/2005/08/68600
Cheryl Miller July 11, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Zoning officials cannot use health to deny zoning. We are not at that phase, yet, but believe me, we are prepared. School officials who are paid by residents in the community to educate their children. They have a stated goal to provide a "safe and healthy learning environment." What is safe or healthy about a cell tower? Health is absolutely relevent to this audience. And, why do cell sites or school officials not discuss rent? What exactly is being kept from us? If this is such a great idea, then someone needs to step forth and tell us exactly how our school will benefit. The reason they haven't is because there will be very little, if any, of this money that will ever see the inside of the classroom. Show me one school that has a cell tower in the U.S. where the parents are thrilled because of how much it has helped their children. I can likely find you 100 examples where the parents are upset because the cell tower has done nothing except contribute to the corruption of our educational system. And that is something we should all be concerned about because the future of our country is what is at stake when children are cheated out of a good education.
Neil July 12, 2011 at 02:21 AM
Dude, Not only is there no "conclusive evidence," there is no credible evidence at all that RF radiation at legal limit has any effect on health. There have been about 25,000 legitimate studies published on the subject and not one has shown a causal link between RF radiation within legal limits and any negative effect on human health. Cheryl, Children are being cheated out of a good education when they see a denial of technological reality by adults. They are cheated when they see that some parents (and other adults) feel that the laws of physics and the laws of nature can be overruled by petitions or protests or politicans. They are cheated when they see that some people feel that by repeating a lie enough times it become something else. They are cheated when the see ignorance triumph over knowledge. The future of our country does, indeed, depend on the education of the children, but teaching them to trash scientific reality is not the kind of education that will make this country better.
Brian July 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Cheryl is now in full activist mode (an accusation she has made on me). She enjoys the attention of the press and it's obvious she is feeding the press what it needs to provide her additional attention. We are now at the point where 30K a year will corrupt the school. So the logical extension of course, is to lobby the state to cutoff funds as well, since it only "corrupts the school" Cheryl is making up scenarios the same way she makes up science. We have seen this in Hempstead. I hope nobody complains when there is no capacity to make a call nor when the amount of radiation that your phone must transmit, which is next to your head as it must do.
Cheryl Miller July 12, 2011 at 07:30 PM
It is not up to our school system to solve the issues of the telecommunications industry. A 30 year lease for school property to a company that has not been upfront about its intentions is not in the best interest of the school. The terms of the agreement were released only 24 hours before the vote. This is not about education; it is about money. http://tucker.patch.com/articles/school-board-knocks-down-brockett-elementary-cell-tower-proposal# I'm glad to say that our school was one of three taken off the list. Our cell coverage is fine and we could not afford another hit on our property values. There are still 9 other schools that were approved, so the people who wanted to get paid for this proposal will still do very well for themselves.
The Scarlet Pimpernel July 12, 2011 at 07:38 PM
You do not live at my house, do not tell me my coverage is fine, I am one block from the school, it sucks no bars period. Maybe one of the churches on the street can pick of the slack.
Cheryl Miller July 12, 2011 at 08:37 PM
I do not know what cell plan you have. If you have AT&T then it should be fine. There is a cell tower just on the other side of the railroad tracks on Brockett Rd., just .7 miles from the school. The T-mobile cell tower will not help unless you have t-mobile or AT&T, so that is what I was referring to. There is also a tower at Cooledge and 78. Not sure why you would have no bars, unless it is Metro PCS which does suck. We dropped that plan for that reason.
Cheryl Miller July 12, 2011 at 08:39 PM
I am sure they will go to the churches next and then to commercial areas if they really need the coverage. That's the pattern anyway.
Cheryl Miller July 31, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Message for Robert Hartford who recently commented here but his note may have been deleted. This comment thread will be closing so it is not a good manner for us to communicate. I definitely have some information that may help you. I am not sure if you are in DeKalb County, or elsewhere, but I can definitely share what I know and put you in touch with some other people who can help. To start, please send an email to sayno2celltowers@yahoo.com. You can also "Like" the group called Get the Cell Out of Here - Atlanta Chapter on Facebook. I am very interested to talk with you further!
Cheryl Miller August 09, 2012 at 11:27 PM
August 9, 2012 update: More than 75,000 voters turned out to vote NO to cell towers on school grounds (62% of the total votes cast) during the July 31 ballot referendum. Still no towers going up at our schools! Let's hope it stays that way!
Neil August 10, 2012 at 07:29 AM
According to every scientific source, including the one referenced by Cheryl Miller in the article she wrote, the radiation exposure from a cell phone, because of its proximity to the body, is typically three orders of magnitude (i.e., about 1000 times) greater than the radiation exposure from the cell tower with which the phone connects. Why then does almost every opponent of cell towers, which I am sure includes Cheryl and every other anti cell tower contributor to this blog, own and use cell phones? Why do they all use cordless phones in their homes when the radiation exposure from such a system in the home is typically two orders of magnitude (i.e., about 100 times) greater than the exposure of any cell tower outside the home, even when no cordless phone is in use? The same is true with regard to almost any WiFi system to which these people so freely and comfortably expose themselves. Do not these people know that cell towers project in a general horizontal direction and that the radiation at ground level is greatest at the the "touch down point" which is typically about a quarter mile away?
Neil August 10, 2012 at 07:47 AM
Actually, keeping cell towers away from schools is probably a good thing. Since the point of maximum radiation at ground level is typically about a quarter mile away from the tower, and the fall off is gradual after that, moving the tower up to about 3/4 of a mile from the school will actually increase the radiation from the tower that impacts on the school. Increasing the tower radiation that reaches the school will reduce the far more significant radiation that the cell phones in the school emit, and whatever danger cell phones pose will be reduced accordingly. That vote may actually be a good thing for the kids in the school even though those who voted against having the tower atop the school building didn't understand the science.
Neil August 10, 2012 at 07:56 AM
I suspect that nobody other than Cheryl Miller will read either of my messages, but if anybody else does and they have questions or want more information feel free to contact me at kslatxpe@yahoo.com. This is not my field of specailty but I have done a fair amount of investigation and would be more than willing to share what I have learnt.
Cheryl Miller August 20, 2012 at 01:08 PM
You must have missed the 75,000+ part of my earlier comment. So, your suspicions, just like your assumptions are dead wrong.
Neil September 07, 2012 at 05:26 AM
75,000+ what?
Cheryl Miller November 14, 2012 at 10:30 PM
voters, Neil. 75,000 voters figured out the misleading ballot question was really about putting cell towers at schools and they said "NO." 62% of one of the largest school districts in the nation.


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