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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wavelength worries

That Northeast Portland neighborhood group that isn't so sure that living next to cell antennas is good for your health is showing a documentary movie outlining the concerns tomorrow afternoon. The film is called "Full Signal," and its director, Talal Jabari, is scheduled to be on hand afterward. The show starts at 4 at the Hollywood Theater.

There will probably be a cell antenna in your neighborhood pretty soon, if there isn't one there already, and if you're like me, the whole thing can give you the willies. Call me a tinfoil helmet guy -- I've been called worse -- but I don't like being too close to those things. And I don't trust the cell phone companies, who have all the politicians in their fur-lined pockets, as far as I can throw them.

Comments (15)

You can move to towns like Mitchell. I was there this week and the closest cell phone location I was told is Fossil, though I suspect there are closer ones.

Be that as it may, it remains true that along US26, there are major areas of non-coverage, and going off like to the Painted Hills guarantees no cell coverage, as of this date anyway!

I am of a mixed bag concerning health problems and RF energy. Putting aside the obvious one of cooking with microwaves, it appears that exposure to field strengths common in communications is benign. The most sensitive frequencies lie around the FM band and I haven't heard any worries show up among the engineers running the transmitters, which put out power levels in the 1000's of watts. As a ham radio operator in my teen years, I messed with exposed transmitters at hundreds of watts, and apart from an occasional RF burn (Very painful!!) I seem not to have, nor have any of my ham friends, suffered any damages.

Yes, I am using weasel words like "appears" but I have no other evidence otherwise, pro or con.

Jeez! It's just radio signals!

It will be interesting to note how many attendees own and use cell phones, watch OTA TV, or listen to the radio.

Just saying.

It's high power microwave energy that can do the most harm. Fortunately, it's not usually the technology used for general broadcasting. Just don't get in the direct line of one of those microwave point-to-point links. Then again, these will only work if there is no chance for an obstruction in the diect line of sight path.

Cell phone towers are relatively low power, intended to cover a range less than 10 miles. That is why there are lots of them to cover an area.

There are many more things that surround us that are much more dangerous - reckless drivers, runners and bicyclists to name a few. I'm talking about the ones that fail to yield the right-of-way.

More to the point: We are talking about non-ionizing radiation here,, so far a non-issue.

But, OTOH, I've seen cherished scientific beliefs collapse in a heap before!

If people want to yammer away constantly on cell phones we're simply going to have to put up with more and more towers and theft of public things we used to take for granted in the past such as analog broadcasting system that worked so much better for our TV than the crap digital signal we've (sometimes) getting.

It's sort of funny that people who walk around with a cell phone pressed up against their brain would worry about the effects of a cell tower a couple of hundred feet from their home.

So my two-headed chickens won't be leaving glowing green droppings behind?

NW Portlander, the issue on a local level is that these towers are going up in the Public Right Of Way, 20 feet from people's homes. Take a look on Fremont and 26th by the Church and see. The cell companies, the PUC, the FCC etc. are literally forcing them onto residential streets and the City has no interest in stopping them right now since they don't zone the Right Of Way. Based on the current rules if I had enough money to 'lobby' for it I could put a hot dog cart up there and shoot weiners all over town. You might end up with a backyard full of dogs, but my mobile weiner subscribers would be taken care of.

The FCC says that the science connecting RF radiation to cancer is inconclusive. They also testified in '96 when the telecom bill was passed that there was in their organization qualified to research the health effects of what they were licensing. The exposure guidelines that we all live under were crafted by the IEEE (an engineering association) and the cell companies. I think its safe to say that we don't know for sure what the long term impacts of living right next to cell or WiMax towers will be. My feeling is that leaving it up to corporations to look after the health of the general public hasn't been proven to work. Until these things are proven safe its just common sense to keep them away from schools and homes. The tower proposed for Beaumont Wilshire is a block and a half from the middle school and right in front of someone's home.

I don't believe you can ever, ever prove the safety of such things. In fact, what you have to do is falsify the contention that cell towers are safe by designing and running successfully an experiment to prove the opposite is true. If the experiment is carefully crafted and fails, the towers are safe.

It's not easy.

The director of the FULL SIGNAL ,Talal Jabari, strongly urges people to minimize their use of cell phones and to never let children use them.
Read up on Dr. Henry Lai's research to get a new perspective on this ubiquitous technology.

Full Signal site: www.FullSignalMovie.com

Thanks for spreading the word about the film.
We hope to see you and your readers there. There are things we can do to stop the proliferation of cell towers in our neighborhoods. We hope the film will raise awareness and bring together people from all over Portland to work on solutions. This film is having a profound effect in the cities where it has been shown.


Now that's what I call a buzz!

Co, thanks for the chuckles! Personally, I don't like the proliferation of these towers at all for three reasons:

1) Not proved safe
2) On public property without our consent
3) I don't even own a cell phone or subscribe to cable so I (and others like me) get to assume the risk of being "pelted by hot dogs" without any "benefit" whatsoever

But, then again, we also get to assume the risk and expense of major league soccer with all its bells and whistles when we can't afford to - and have no interest in - attending soccer games at PGE Park.

I can imagine the day we all take the million dollar bike lanes to PGE park and watch YouTube videos of cute puppies on our mobile broadband while the Timbers get the butts kicked.

Seriously though, allowing wireless internet like Clear into the Public right of way is an abdication of the City's responsibility to manage the public right of way in the best interests of the people.

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