Board of Education Policy on Wireless Exposure
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Dear Montgomery County Board of Education, Superintendent Weast and incoming Superintendent Starr,
Today’s agenda has 6 items regarding the placement of cell towers on public school property. I request that the Board place these items on hold until there is a review on the potential harm to children from the exposure to radio frequency radiation from the transmitters on these cell towers. The Board of Education has a responsibility to thoroughly understand this issue and needs to do all that it can to protect the safety of the children and employees in its care. The United States exposure standard on RF is based on thermal effects. This stance ignores a vast body of evidence on the non thermal effects which occur at levels thousands of times lower than the thermal effect and children in particular are more susceptible to harm from exposure. Vulnerable populations must be protected and the Board must devise a policy on wireless exposure from cell phones, WiFi, Smart Boards and Cell towers and antennas.
Studies on RF exposure and human health date back to the 1950s. There are thousands of studies that show evidence of non thermal biological effects, some of which are harmful, including increases in DNA strand breaks, opening of the blood brain barrier, cancerous mutations and alterations of brain chemistry and metabolism. These effects occur at levels well below the thermal effect. Russia, China, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco allow RF exposure at 10 microwatts per centimeter squared (uW/cm2). The United States allows RF exposure at 1,000 uW/cm2 as the U.S. does not recognize the non thermal cumulative effect from RF exposure. The EPAs official stance on this is that the FCC RF standard cannot be considered protective.
On Tuesday, May 31, the world’s leading experts of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization, issued a joint statement that cell phone and other types of radiofrequency (RF) and microwave radiation are now class 2B carcinogens. This places RF under the same category as exposure to gasoline and coffee. We do not serve coffee to children, and certainly would not place a gas station on school property and cell towers do not belong there either. RF emitting devices now deserve the same precautions as other Class 2B carcinogens.
Additionally, at a meeting in May 2011, the WHO Department of Public Health and Environment on the International Classification of Disease, which is the international standard to measure health and health services recognized Electrohypersensitivity (EHS).
EHS is the term for people who are highly sensitive to electric and magnetic fields and to radio frequency radiation (EMF/RF). While some people appear to be EHS upon initial exposure to high EMF/RF fields, many other people appear to succumb to a cumulative effect. That is after a certain amount of time, all future exposure to EMF/RF results in a pathological response. This is consistent with findings from Russia and their exposure standards reflect this.
(Since 1948, WHO is responsible for the international classification of diseases and every 10 years a review of this classification takes place. Currently the WHO is working on the next review that should be completed by the year 2015.)
Following are notes from the meeting:
[NOTES - Excerpts]
basic questions to address the issue of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Electrohipersensibility (EHS).
a) MyS and EHS are real health problems.
b) There is evidence to confirm this statement:
- Medical diagnostics.
- Reports of work inspections establishing causality between exposure and disease.
- There are scientific studies that confirm its existence.
- There is a recognition by the European Parliament of these diseases, evidence that is provided in the dossier presented today.
- There are 200 judgments in favor in Spain that support this evidence.
- We are getting in Spain (economic) ‘compensation’ for patients.
The adverse reactions to chemicals or electromagnetic radiation vary in duration according to each patient, and the manifestations differ too. When the patient is again exposed, symptoms usually worsen or result in the appearance of new symptoms.
The process of these diseases (MCS and EHS) is chronic and the patient's situation is exacerbated if he/she lives in a toxic environment, such as near Tarragona petrochemical industry or subjected to electromagnetic radiation: emissions in the neighborhood, mobile phone antennas , etc. The patient has to avoid re-exposure.
Perhaps the most delicate aspect is the fact that MCS and EHS are multisystemic diseases and could be placed in different fields of classification (medical specialities), although we must not forget the great importance of the neurological symptoms. We need to establish a new medical paradigm that answers some questions referring to these emerging diseases, including their classification in the ICD.
4 .- The WHO knows that these conditions exist.
5 .- Within WHO the emergence of these diseases has generated a controversy, but the explanation of changes in the methodology of work for the development of the ICD for calendar 2015 and possible participation in working groups opens new possibilities for recognition.
6 .- Each country can recognize these diseases and include them in their ICE, independently of WHO, since according to the WHO countries have sovereignty on this issue.
These two findings alone demand action from public officials regarding RF exposure and children. Prior to these findings the evidence of possible harm from RF exposure has led to numerous governments, scientists and doctors to issue warnings that children should have limited exposure to RF. Below is a quick summary of these warnings as well as a recent paper by Magda Havas, PhD.
Dr. Havas is a leading expert on EMF/RF exposure. She chronicles the international resolutions from scientists and doctors and lists the actions required to protect public health from the ever increasing exposure to radio frequency radiation and electromagnetic fields. She says:
Based on these resolutions and appeals from international groups of physicians and scientists immediate action is required to protect public health from continued increasing exposure to radio frequency radiation and electromagnetic fields.
Restrictions and Warnings on RF exposure for children:
May 2011 Connecticut House passes Cell Tower bill
stm/information/nws1/publish/ politics/CT-House-passes-Reed- cell-tower-bill13224.shtml
The bill encourages the Siting Council to make every effort to avoid approving towers for sites in neighborhoods or scenic areas that are prized by the affected communities and to stay at least 250 feet away from schools and commercial child daycare centers.
September 2010 Hempstead, New York Telecommunications Ordinance
Requires a Special Use Permit for Distributed Antenna Systems within 1,500 from residential property boundaries, house of worship, day care centers and schools.
May, 2009 the LA Unified School District, which restricts cell towers on school property passed a resolution attempting to restrict antennas near school property - http://www.cloutnow.org/ and in April, 2009, the EU Parliament adopted, by 559 votes to 22, with 8 abstentions, a resolution on health concerns associated with electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which includes criteria for setting up [Cell Towers] and high-voltage power lines. They state: “In this context, it is important to ensure at least that schools, crèches [nursery schools], retirement homes, and health care institutions are kept clear, within a specific distance determined by scientific criteria, of facilities of this type.” - http://www.europarl.
europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do? pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P6-TA- 2009-0216+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN
January 2008, the National Research Council (NRC), an arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, issued a report saying that we simply do not know enough about the potential health risks of long-term exposure to RF energy from cell phones themselves, cell towers, television towers, and other components of our communications system. The scientists who prepared the report emphasized, in particular, the unknown risks to the health of children, pregnant women, and fetuses as well as of workers whose jobs entail high exposure to RF (radiofrequency) energy. The report called for long-term safety studies on all wireless devices including cell phones, computers, and cell phone towers and states:
“Wireless networks are being built very rapidly, and many more base station antennas are being installed. A crucial research need is to characterize radiated electromagnetic fields for typical multiple-element base station antennas and for the highest radiated power conditions with measurements conducted during peak hours of the day at locations close to the antennas as well as at ground level.” - http://www.nap.edu/catalog/
You will find short summaries of wireless actions from the following regarding children, schools and libraries at http://wiredchild.org/
The UK Chief Medical Officers
The European Parliament
The German government's health protection agency
The French government
The Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection
The Indian Ministry of Telecommunication
The Israeli Ministry of Health
The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK)
The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS)
The Education Profressionals Union
Association of Teachers and Lecturers
The German Teacher's Union for Education and Knowledge
Public Health Department of Salzburg
The Austrian Medical Assoication
Lakehead, University, Canada
Libraries in France
The Progressive Librarian's Guild
For references please review CELL TOWERS AND WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS – LIVING WITH RADIOFREQUENCY RADIATION
Board of Education Policy on Wireless Exposure