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Cell phone towers are not good for children

Original post made by David Smernoff, Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch, on Sep 8, 2009

Cell Phone Tower on Corte Madera School Building

Board Meeting Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at 8:30PM

The Portola Valley School District proposes to generate revenue ($30,000 with a 4% escalator per year) by allowing T-Mobile to install a cell tower on the roof of Corte Madera School. After many hours of research, we are concerned.

Health Effects

A substantial body of research suggests that radio frequency (RF) radiation (the kind emitted by cell towers as they provide "signal" to mobile phones) has harmful health effects on humans and animals, even in amounts well below FCC exposure limits. Surprisingly, the FCC standards for RF emissions are based on thermal effect but the case for non-thermal hazards from RF is substantial. Here are a few examples:

A study presented in the peer-reviewed publication of Germany's environmental medicine society found that the risk of newly developing cancer was three times higher among those patients who had lived during past ten years (1994-2004), within a distance of 400m from a cellular transmitter, in comparison to those who had lived further away. The study indicates a 99% confidence interval that the difference observed was not due to a random statistical effect. Click here to see the entire paper: Web Link

An Israeli study published in the peer-reviewed journal The International Journal of Cancer Prevention also showed an association between increased incidence of cancer and living in proximity to a cell-phone transmitter station. In a two year period, there were 4.15 times more cancer cases in the area of proximity to the cell tower than in the entire population. The authors made a point of noting, "The measured level of RF radiation (power density) in the area was low; far below the current guidelines based on the thermal effects of RF exposure. We suggest, therefore, that the current guidelines be re-evaluated." To see the entire paper, click here: Web Link

The Bioinitiative Working Group, a collaboration of neuroscientists and others studying the effects of electromagnetic radiation from a variety of sources, has taken the position that "current standards are inadequate to control against harm from low-intensity, chronic exposures and that an entirely new, biologically-based standard is needed." Their July, 2007 report can be found here: Web Link

Many Communities Have Already Said “No”

Parents in Cupertino, CA successfully fought a similar proposal to place a tower at Monte Vista High School, as have many other schools and municipalities throughout the U.S. In 2000, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education adopted a resolution opposing the placement of cellular telecommunications towers on or immediately adjacent to school property until appropriate regulatory standards have been adopted. For a list of other municipalities examining this issue, see Web Link

The European Union, which deployed GSM cellular technology on a broad basis long before it was deployed in the US, and thus has been able to observe longer exposures on its population, formally adopted a resolution in April 2009 recommending that GSM antennas be kept a safe distance from schools: Web Link

Better Safe Than Sorry
We believe we should use the precautionary principle when proceeding with the cell tower decision. In other words, if we can't say with certainty that no harm will be done, why risk it?

If you have concerns about the proposed cell tower, here is what you can do!

1) email the School Board and Superintendents at , , Ask them to vote “NO” on the cell tower at Corte Madera in order to preserve the health of the children and avoid exposing them to potentially very harmful radiation.

2) Come to the Board meeting THIS Wednesday, Sept 9 at 8:30 p.m. Even if you don't have a question or comment for the Board, or you are not comfortable speaking up, you can still show your interest just by attending. The Board needs to know you care.

Please let us know that you are coming and address any questions or requests for additional information to: Jennie Conley at or Elizabeth de Oliveira at


Jennifer Conley, M.S., Biochemistry

Ray Conley, M.S., Aerospace Engineering

Cindy Russell, M.D.

David Smernoff, Ph.D., Biology


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