Cell phone transmission equipment safe or not?

Regarding the proposed cell phone (microwave communication) transmission equipment moratorium public hearing at the Santa Fe City Council on March 30:

Santa Feans need time to determine if cell phone transmission equipment, including the new generation of WiMAX, is safe. The Santa Fe City Council intends to allow WiMAX to blanket Santa Fe in unprecedented amounts of microwave radiation. While this may provide Internet access and communication convenience to many people, initial reports from some people are that WiMAX can make the city uninhabitable for them. As a seasoned toxicologist, I find it wise to pay attention to the first reports of toxicity to newly introduced technology; such reports ought to prompt us to look more deeply into the matter.

According to the Federal Communications Commission: “At the present time, there is no federally-mandated radio frequency exposure standard.” Regarding workplace exposures, the U.S. Department of Labor reports: “There are no specific standards for radiofrequency and microwave radiation issues.”

In my 30 years experience as a toxicologist, I do not recall ever seeing the federal government fail to mandate an exposure standard for potentially toxic substances or situations with such widespread distribution.

In contrast, much research has accumulated that current exposure levels to cell phone (microwave communication) transmission equipment are not safe. In the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health2, researchers reported that of 10 epidemiological studies assessing health effects of mobile-phone base stations, eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances less than 500 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations.

In a journal of the Canadian National Research Council 3 (an agency of the government of Canada), researchers report that both anecdotal reports and some epidemiology studies have found nervous system-related symptoms including headaches, sleep disturbances, depression, decreased libido, increased rates of suicide, concentration problems, dizziness, memory changes, tremors, and other neurophysiological effects in populations near base stations. Symptoms reported may be classic microwave sickness. They conclude that non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (such as cell phone (microwave transmission) are among the fastest growing forms of environmental pollution.

The European Environment Agency executive director warned: “Waiting for high levels of proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as it did with asbestos, leaded petrol and smoking.”

American civil liberties and rights are not free — their costs are paid by responsibility for oneself and one’s community. If we allow other people and organizations to dictate what is safe for us and our community, we are abdicating our responsibility. I urge the reader to direct elected officials, the Santa Fe City Council, to deliberately investigate the potential safety risks of microwave communication transmission equipment before allowing any further installations.
Raymond Singer, Ph.D., FACPN

Forensic Neuropsychologist and Neurotoxicologist
Board Certified: American Board of Professional Neuropsychology,
with Added Forensic Qualifications
Fellow: American College of Professional Neuropsychology, National Academy of Neuropsychology; American Psychological Society, American Psychological Association
Member: Society of Toxicology, American Academy of Clinical Toxicology,
Roundtable of Toxicology Consultants

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