Friday, May 22, 2009

Cellphone tower threatens health of neighbouring community, rally told

Article in
The Guardian

Elizabeth Grant, left, helps gather up wind-blown petition papers during a rally Wednesday against a proposed cellphone tower near Mount St. Mary’s convent off Mount Edward Road in Charlottetown. Guardian photo by Nigel Armstrong

Hundreds gathered on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s in Charlottetown Wednesday to protest a nearby cell tower and hear of proven cancer risk from long-term exposure to radio frequency energy.

With a quarter-page advertisement in The Guardian to announce the rally, the ad-hoc group of opponents to the proposed Rogers cellphone tower off Mount Edward Road drew about 200 people.

Nuns from Mount St. Mary’s sat on chairs arranged on the driveway at the front entrance while residents stood on the margin to hear the speakers.

Sister Rosalie Kane, superior of the Sisters of St. Martha, opened with words of welcome.

“We are aware of how serious this issue is and we want to be in solidarity with you,” she said.

Juanita Lechowick spoke on the long history of health care given to Islanders by the sisters of the Mount.

“A lot of the things you can think about in our health-care system was (started) by the Sisters of St. Martha,” said Lechowick.

In the 89 years at the Mount Edward Road site, the sisters brought to the Island standards of practice in social services, blood donor clinics, epidemic management, extended health-care centres across the Island and music education, said Lechowick.

“Here we are in 2009 and we feel that their health will be threatened if a cell tower is built within 265 metres of their property,” said Lechowick. “We don’t believe that it is fair to expose the Sisters of St. Martha and all of the other neighbours to the low-level radiation that they will be exposed to if this tower is built.

“In one 10-year study done by five medical doctors in Germany and completed in 2004, it indicates that living this close to a tower for five years increases the risk for developing cancer by 300 per cent.”

Europe is currently adopting stringent guidelines that demand radio frequency energy be up to 10,000 times lower than Canadian standards for cellphone towers, the meeting was told.

Even if there are contrasting and conflicting studies on the health issue, the legal concept of the precautionary principle imposes an obligation to prevent harm, said Lechowick and other speakers.

Charlottetown city Councillor David MacDonald spoke in support of the protest. He said that the Charlottetown protest is gaining attention across Canada and the world. A film documentary crew is making arrangements to come meet the Rogers cell tower protest group, said MacDonald.

“It makes a difference when we all stand and fight together and we are prepared to do that,” said MacDonald.

He said that Rogers was offered other locations around the city. He said Industry Canada does not have the authority to allow a tower to be built wherever the cell company wants.

“We don’t allow towers in residential areas,” said MacDonald.

Rogers rejected other locations, saying the proposed area, already prepared last week for the tower, was the best location.

“I’m not sure it is the best site but it is the site they have access to, which makes it a good site, for them,” said MacDonald.

He said a process is underway to establish what is the current base level of radio frequency energy in the area to compare to any change that might come if the tower is installed.

Hugh Mullally presented MLA Robert Mitchell with a petition of over 1,000 names opposing the tower, saying that copies will be sent to federal MPs and government departments. Mitchell urged people to send off emails of protest to Industry Canada and Health Canada.

The group invited Rogers Wireless to the rally but no one attended nor was any written communication sent, said the organizers.

Monday, May 18, 2009


槟城电磁辐射公害防护联盟(Penang EMFs Prevention and Protection Alliance)在受邀下於2009年5月17日晚上8时在槟城白云山的Taman Evergreen开放式礼堂为区内居民专题主讲电磁辐射危害性。

约有百名来自该公寓居民、白云公寓(Taman Erskine)及附近居民出席聆听,主讲人是槟城电磁辐射防护联盟医药顾问涂仲仪医生。此次讲座会由该两座公寓管理公司彩虹发展有限公司主办。该管理公司接获公寓居民投诉附近不远一座电讯




Friday, May 15, 2009

Tighter rules on cell phone towers?

Article in Queens Chronicle

by Willow Belden, Assistant Editor

Proposed legislation would require that wireless phone companies alert communities before installing antennas such as these in residential areas. (photo by Michael O’Kane)

All over the city, cell phone towers and antennas are erected on the roofs of buildings in residential neighborhoods, yet community members typically have no say in the matter and oftentimes don’t even find out that the antennas are coming until they’re up. At that point, it’s usually too late to object, as building owners typically enter into multi-decade contracts allowing wireless companies to place the antennas on their roofs.

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) is trying to put an end to that. Last week, Vallone introduced legislation in the City Council that would require cell phone carriers to inform community members and local elected officials before installing towers or antennas. The bill would also prohibit wireless companies from installing the devices in residential areas unless they had made every possible effort to install them elsewhere.
Vallone said he thinks the manner in which cell antennas are installed in many residential areas is objectionable.

“They’re put up in the middle of the night,” he said, “and they tell [area residents] they’re putting up solar panels or they’re fixing the electricity. They lie to the community.”

So what’s the problem with cell phone antennas? To begin with, many consider them unsightly.

As Astoria resident Evie Hantzopoulos put it, “They are ugly for sure. They certainly don’t contribute to the aesthetics of a building.”

Then there’s the question of health risks. Different studies have come to different conclusions about the risks of living near antennas. Most agree that the level of radiation the antennas produce is minimal — about as much as a microwave oven gives off.

“That may or may not be true,” Vallone said, “but nobody stands in front of a microwave for 24 hours a day, which is basically what you’re doing if a tower is located in front of your bedroom window.”

Vallone and some concerned residents say they’re worried that long-term, low-level exposure could present health risks.

“We want to move prudently until the health effects are known,” Vallone said.

According to the American Cancer Society’s website, cell phone antennas are not likely to cause cancer. But the website also notes that agencies such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the National Toxicology Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – which typically provide findings about carcinogenicity — have not issued findings on wireless towers.

Whatever the risks of living in close proximity to cell antennas, the current discussion isn’t centered around health risks — because it’s not allowed to be.

The Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits cities from passing laws regarding cell phone towers based on health concerns. City governments are, however, allowed to legislate antennas for aesthetic reasons or based on concerns about building safety.

Getting the legislation introduced was a three-year process, and Vallone expects to be up against tough opposition as the bill is debated.

“Building owners are opposed to this because they make shovelfulls of money from the phone companies,” Vallone said.

Then there are the phone companies themselves.

“Families are becoming increasingly dependent on wireless communications,” Jane Builder, T-Mobile’s northeast senior manager of external affairs, said in a statement. “More than 20 percent of homes in the U.S. now rely solely on a wireless phone and no longer keep a traditional wireline phone. For this reason and others, T-Mobile is concerned that proposed amendments to the city’s administrative code might unduly slow the development of much-needed improvements to wireless coverage and reliability.”

A spokeswoman for CTIA, an international association for the wireless telecommunications industry, said in a statement that wireless carriers are working hard to keep up with the growing demand for cell phone technology and that CTIA is “wary of any additional hurdles that may needlessly delay carriers’ ability to serve wireless consumers.”

Vallone said he’s not trying to curtail efforts to provide better cell phone coverage; he just wants more care to be taken with regard to the placement of towers.

“We need to know that these decisions are not being based on where [wireless companies] can get the cheapest rent, but where they will be safest to the public,” Vallone said.

The Housing and Buildings Committee in the City Council will hold a hearing about the proposed legislation sometime in the next few months, after which a series of additional hearings will take place.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prairie Village Rejects Cell Tower

Article in

Prairie Village Rejects Cell Tower
Council Shoots Down T-Mobile's Latest Proposal

POSTED: 10:58 am CDT May 5, 2009
UPDATED: 11:48 am CDT May 5, 2009

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- The Prairie Village City Council voted 8 to 4 late Monday night to support a planning commission recommendation and reject T-Mobile's latest proposal to build a cell phone tower there.

Dozens of residents flocked to a rally Monday to protest the proposal.

Some of the 50 or so residents who filled the city council chambers at a meeting Monday have been fighting the issue for more than a year.

"Everyone needs better cell service," resident Charlotte White said. "But I chose Prairie Village for its community and its beauty, and I don't want it to turn ugly because of cell phone towers everywhere."

T-Mobile had proposed building a tower on the property of Faith Lutheran Church at West 67th Street and Roe Avenue. The proposal calls for an 85-foot tower with room to expand it up to 145 feet.

That's the latest of three proposals from the wireless giant, all of which have been rejected by the city's planning commission.

"It's almost like they're beating us down," resident Patricia Archer said. "It feels like bullying."

The last time T-Mobile proposed a tower in a residential area, the council voted against overriding the planning commission's suggestion, and T-Mobile, in turn, filed suit against the city.

Residents urged the council to stand firm.

"Start a legal defense fund," resident Casey Housley said. "I'll contribute a thousand dollars tonight. Don't vote because of fear of a lawsuit."

Friday, May 1, 2009

2 more cell towers removed

Article in
1 May 2009, 0418 hrs IST, TNN

HYDERABAD: Two more cellphone towers were removed at Fatehnagar on Thursday by civic officials following complaints of radiation from locals.

On Wednesday, two cellphone towers were removed by the officials of the town planning wing of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on a complaint by Sardar Patel House Owners Society of Fatehnagar. They alleged that a woman died of cancer due to electromagnetic radiation emitted by the cellphone towers.

Also, several cellphone towers do not have structural stability. With weak structures, there were incidents of either buildings developing cracks or collapsing due to weight of the towers.

The GHMC had served notices on all operators a few months ago on the AP High Court's directions to regulate rooftop cellphone towers. There are nearly 2,800 cell towers in the GHMC area. Of them, 1,154 cellphone towers were erected on building rooftops, with 50 being ground-based, remaining 1,791 were rooftop poles.

Telecom giant Airtel has the highest number of cellphone towers with 432 towers, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) 241, Tata 218, Vodafone 120 towers, Idea 30 and Reliance 55.

GHMC officials said rooftop cellphone towers were of concern as they carry weight and structural stability was required for them.

After a building developed cracks in Kapra and High Court directions, the GHMC stopped giving permissions to erect cellphone towers in the city.

"New permissions for cellphone towers were stopped in February 2008. Towers which were erected in the last 10 years are being checked," GHMC chief city planner B Purushottam Reddy told TOI.

The GHMC gave telecom operators time till January 31, 2009, to give structural stability certificate and drawings, building owners' agreement copy, no objection certificate from neighbours and surrounding areas and other documents.

For checking structural stability, seven agencies__Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Osmania University Engineering College, Vasavi Engineering College, Chaitanya Bharati Institute of Technology (CBIT), Matrusri College of Engineering, M J College of Engineering and Civil Aid__were enlisted by the corporation.

For checking the cell towers, the operators were asked to pay Rs 25,000 for each tower. According to GHMC officials, Airtel has not paid the required Rs 25,000 per each tower and BSNL paid only part amount and rest have paid the required amount.

"Every agency was entrusted 60 towers initially. The process of checking structural stability is on," GHMC superintending engineer Mohd Abdul Rahman told TOI.