Cell to Cell: Is Cell Phone Technology Harming Us? | General Wellness | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Cell to Cell: Is Cell Phone Technology Harming Us? 

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Dan Schneider, chairman of hvtc, says, “We don’t take an official pro or con stance about cell phones,” he says. “But there are many issues to consider in deciding where to put a tower. It’s the one thing we can have a say about. We’ve formed a committee to come up with criteria that we can use, and put into a best-practices checklist that other local governments could use.”

Woodstock residents are dealing with the reality that many communities are facing: it’s no longer an issue of whether to place a tower, but where. That’s because of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, passed by Congress to “promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers.”3 Local municipalities “shall act on any request” to place a tower in the community and “no state or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.”4 A new bill under consideration by the New York legislature even threatens to strip local municipalities of any say whatever about tower siting.

And here’s a hand-slapping recommendation by the who (probably fda -advised) about voicing health concerns and governmental regulation: “If regulatory authorities have adopted health-based guidelines but, because of public concerns, would like to introduce additional precautionary measures to reduce exposure to rf fields, they should not undermine the science base of the guidelines by incorporating arbitrary additional safety factors into the exposure limits.” Isn’t this saying: If the citizenry is worried about health issues and wants to take some protective measures, tell them they are wrong and by all means don’t let them muck with the regulations?

Safe or not, cellular technology and its antennae will be arriving at a neighborhood near you—if it hasn’t already—in the form of a tower or an antenna carefully hidden in a church steeple, on a water tower, on billboards, or even disguised as an odd-looking metal pine tree (see Joel Rinebold’s discussion of “stealth siting” in his chapter in Levitt’s Cell Towers). Quite probably you’re carrying a phone on your belt or by your head that surrounds you with rf radiation whenever you’re talking. But the Internet is a-buzz with people trying to get straight answers about safety and preserve—or reclaim—some of their rights. Do some research on your own and decide what you think makes sense. In the meantime, use a headset to put some distance between your head and your phone’s antenna, since it’s your greatest rf exposure source, but get one that prevents the earphone wire from carrying rf up the wire. Then keep the phone away from your abdomen if you are pregnant: birth defects with rf exposure are being reported.5 And men, you may not want to keep your phone in your lap.

Lorrie Klosterman, PhD, is a biologist and freelance medical science writer and editor who lives in Red Hook.


End Notes

1. An explanation of the fda’s role concerning the safety of wireless phones: www.fda.gov/cellphones/qa.html#22.

2. The Mobile Telephone Health Concerns Registry; an organization created to gather voluntary information directly from cellular telephone users: www.health-concerns.org/health_concerns/registry.asp.

3. The Federal Communications Commission Web site, with an explanation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: www.fcc.gov/telecom.html.

4. Section 704(b), limitations, ii, iv of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

5. Information regarding the effects of emf exposure on fetal development: www.rfsafe.com/ntd_emf.htm.

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