Page 7 - June 2017
P. 7

Even as residents of the City of Sedona continue to fight for their right to refuse smart me- ters to avoid the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation they emit, additional cell phone towers are already in the process of being approved and installed in and around the city. Federal law prohibits municipalities from obstructing the provision of wireless services within city boundaries, though cities can have input on what type of towers are used and where they are put. The law currently prohibits local governments from regulating wireless infrastructure based on concerns about EMFs.
Following the Slide Fire of 2014, it was glaringly apparent that cell phone reception in Oak Creek Canyon was not up to the standards of our time. When the fire was first spotted by tourists travelling through the canyon, precious minutes were lost because the witnesses were unable to notify emergency services by phone. Instead, it took them an extra ten min- utes to get to the nearest fire station to report the smoke they had seen.
Since then, two additional towers have been added in the canyon and another is in pro- cess. Amidst overwhelming opposition by residents, Coconino County supervisors recently approved an additional tower in the Twin Springs Terrace neighborhood on the east side of the creek at a location that currently has a cell tower and a water tank. While these measures may solve the problem of cell phone dead zones and communication gaps, many are con- cerned about possible adverse health effects.
Telecommunications companies have also been using concealment — or “stealth” — tow- ers to help get through local zoning processes and decrease opposition to towers in residen- tial areas. The towers are disguised as trees, flag poles, silos, water tanks and even church steeples. A recent trip to Coconino High School in Flagstaff brought this tactic to the at- tention of this reporter when a strange looking pine tree adjacent to the school was noticed which, it turns out, is a cell tower.
While the US seems hell bent on increasing the presence of wireless networks everywhere including cell phones, wireless internet, “smart” electrical grids and even “smart” homes, other countries have been tightening regulations and reducing the limits of acceptable exposure.
“Exposure to electromagnetic fields is not a new phenomenon,” says the World Health Organization (WHO). “However, during the 20th century, environmental exposure to man- made electromagnetic fields has been steadily increasing, as growing electricity demand, ever-advancing technologies and changes in social behaviour have created more and more artificial sources. Everyone is exposed to a complex mix of weak electric and magnetic fields, both at home and at work, from the generation and transmission of electricity, domestic ap- pliances and industrial equipment, to telecommunications and broadcasting.”
Debate about the safety of EMF exposure at varying levels and from different sources is ongoing. Researchers on both sides of the argument claim to have proof but results are of- ten conflicting. WHO has said “current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields. However, some gaps in knowledge about biological effects exist and need further research.”
Basically there are two types of EMF radiation: high frequency and low frequency. High frequency EMF is a type of ionizing radiation and is known to cause adverse health effects like cancer. Ionizing radiation disrupts our bodies at a cellular level and can cause mutations that lead to disease. It comes in the form of ultraviolet (UV) light (of which the sun is our pri- mary natural source), X-Rays and Gamma rays. Low frequency radiation is non-ionizing and comes from a multitude of products we are surrounded by every day, including cell phones, electrical power lines, computers, tvs, microwave ovens, smart meters Bluetooth and WiFi.
In 2009, in a study published in Oxford’s Journal of the National Cancer Institute, scientists based in Denmark concluded there had been no increase in brain tumors in the five to ten years following a sharp increase in the prevalence of cell phones in the mid-1990s. In 2010, a group of UK scientists examined a group of children with cancer or other tumors to de-
termine if mothers living near cell phone towers during pregnancy posed increased risk for their children’s health. They concluded “children with cancer are no more likely to have been born close to mobile phone masts than those without cancer, suggesting there is no link,” in the report published in the British Medical Journal.
But in February 2016, a statistical analysis of the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States examined data from 2008-2012. The American Brain Tumor Association published its report in the medical journal Neuro-Oncology stating the most common cause of cancer- related deaths in teens and young adults aged 15-39 is malignant brain tumors. These tu- mors are also the most common form of cancer found in 15-19-year olds in the US. In May 2016, the US National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health released partial results of a study showing increased rates of rare brain tumors in male rats exposed to radiofrequency — also called microwave — radiation as well as increased tumors of the heart and nervous system. The full study results are due sometime this year.
With all the conflicting research results, some governments, at both local and national levels, have decided not to wait to change regulations about wireless technologies.
Cyprus recently joined France, Brazil, Israel and other countries and municipalities that have enacted limits and/or bans on wireless transmissions. In March, the Cyprus Minister of Education and Culture declared wireless technology off-limits for all public kindergartens, and additional installations in elementary schools have been halted. The decree encour- ages elementary classrooms to use wired connections for internet access and requires that all wireless access points be disabled when not in use as “necessary measures to protect children.” The decree also requires schools to contact parents and obtain consent for any programs that require wireless use. []
In 2015, the City of Berkeley, California became the first US government body to require that cell phone buyers be warned about the health risks associated with exposure to EMFs from their devices. The warning states:
“To assure safety, the Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guide- lines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for in- formation about how to use your phone safely.”
The warning also originally contained the phrase, “This potential risk is greater for children” but that sentence was removed during legal proceedings following the city council’s unani- mous approval of the ordinance. CTIA, an association representing US wireless technology providers, immediately sued the city to try and stop the ordinance from taking effect. In April, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the City of Berkeley’s cell phone “Right To Know” ordinance. In affirming the decision, the court stated that “far from conflicting with federal law and policy, the Berkeley ordinance complements and reinforces it.”
While cell phone manufacturers are required to warn users about RF exposure from their products, they often do so in ways that are not immediately visible, such as including the in- formation in fine print or in online-only manuals. For example, the manual for the Samsung Galaxy S5 phone states:
“Body-worn SAR [Specific Absorption Rate] testing has been carried out at a separation dis- tance of 1.0 cm. To meet RF exposure guidelines during body-worn operation, the device should be positioned at least this distance away from the body.”
Another legal decision in March forced the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to release a document that it originally prepared in 2009. CDPH was sued by Dr. Joel Moskow- itz, Director of the Center for Family & Community Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Moskowitz had petitioned the department for an unedited copy of the docu- ment which had never been released to the public. It states “Health officials are concerned about possible health effects from cell phone EMFs because some recent studies suggest that long-term cell phone use may increase the risk of brain cancer and other health problems,” and includes specific guidelines for mitigating negative health effects from cell phone use.
In the continuing battle against the wide-spread installation of transmitting “smart” elec- trical meters, local activist Warren Woodward has been acting as an intervener in the Ari- zona Public Service (APS) rate case currently before the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). He has argued that smart meters pose risks associated with health, safety, privacy and security and, not only should consumers be allowed to refuse the meters, but those already installed should be recalled. He has conducted extensive on-site testing using a variety of devices that measure EMF radiation.
Mr. Woodward recently conducted a test that showed the effect of pulsed EMF from a smart meter has on the heart. He was attached to an EKG monitor and then rested near an operating smart meter. The EKG recorded irregular heart activity each time the smart meter showed an EMF spike. Mr. Woodward has plans to conduct a more controlled version of this test to examine its scientific validity.
7 • JUNE 2017 | the NOISE arts & news |

   5   6   7   8   9