Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Short Address For Fairfield City Property Committee

This post is in regards to the March 18 2009 meeting of the Fairfield property Committee, 7:30 PM at City Hall.

I had initially misunderstood the purpose of this meeting. I believed that it was on the topic of the current proposed cell base station installation. In a telecon with the committee Chairman Mr. Revolinski, I have come to the understanding that the meeting is focused on future projects and setting policy in place for those.

I had prepared a few short remarks for the meeting which I will (most likely) not be speaking out. Therefore I have included those remarks here on the blog. In the remarks I make a specific recommendation regarding the proposed cell phone base station.

=== Here is the text of those remarks...
Good evening ladies and gentlemen of FF, members of the committee, Mr. Chairman.

I have organized a few words into 4 points. After Point 3 I will offer my recommendations. Then I will end with a very short additional note. I would like to go through these points uninterrupted and then open for any questions.

1] Very briefly, I will recap. In the past few weeks I was contacted by many concerned and even frightened friends who wanted my opinion on the proposed tower. I carefully studied the literature that was being circulated, and spent an entire work day following and reading references on the Internet that were given in the circulated literature. In short, almost none of these references, articles, reports, etc. addressed cell phone base stations (cell towers if you prefer). Again, from the circulated literature, I found that no case made for potential hazards from this proposed installation. NOTE: this is not a statement that there is no research for cell tower biological hazards, only that the circulated literature did not make a case for it.

I called the organizers of the civic action group that wanted the tower site moved to offer free counsel and consulting. They were too busy to speak with me and I did not even get to offer help. They told me to just come to the public meeting. I had no interest in attending a meeting that could potentially be emotionally charged with people who were already on a mission, and try to persuade them stop in their tracks and to listen to some boring facts of physics.

As a result, I chose to write an article and make it available to my friends.

My article pointed out that the circulated literature was not making a case for a threat to the public. My article corrected the popular erroneous belief, as is evidenced by numerous web sites, that the maximum FCC allowed power for a human, would be or could be imposed on the public by a cell phone base station (tower).

I carefully qualified my remarks to be the case of a free standing tower and referenced the RF power density on the ground. Specifically, I did not address cell phone base station antennas on top of buildings and I did not address the RF power density from a free standing tower to the upper floors of multi-story buildings in the vicinity of the tower.

I never said that cell towers were safe or unsafe and I have continued with that. I worked very hard to make my article understandable by non-technical folks. I wrote it in a completely dispassionate way, and I organized 11 other scientists and community leaders to peer review my article before publishing. I included all of their input. I am a scientist of 39 years, and this is how we work. And oh yes, I again offered free help.

In just the last week, there has been a great deal of literature circulated that is to the point of this issue. These are articles, reports and studies specifically on the topic of the RF power from cell phone base stations and negative biological effects of low level, continuous RF radiation as is present from a cell phone base station. There is a great deal of this information. This must not be ignored.

It is possible, that my article was in some way a catalyst for the locating and circulating of this information.

2] At any point, in the immediate vicinity of a cell phone base station, the received RF power will, in general, be greater if the person receiving the power is in an elevated position, up to and including the height of the antenna. This of course means that if there are multi-story buildings near the cell base station, people on the upper floors will be receiving more RF power than someone on the ground at those same coordinates. This increase in RF could be considerable. The carrier can provide this information. This point was not addressed in my original article but this point is crucial and must not be ignored.

3] There is concern that the carrier could start out with certain transmitter powers on the proposed site and later increase the number of transmitters and add other carriers to the tower. Is this likely? Of course.

Here is a quick case-in-point. East of FF there is a US Sprint cell phone base station tower just by the towing company. Approximately 3 years ago they had an East West coverage on their antenna - east and west along Hwy 34. Their coverage did not actually cover FF city. One of my customers, the Dexter company had most of their company cell phones with Sprint and were quite unhappy with the coverage at their West Grimes location. Sprint sent 2 engineers to survey the problem. As a result, Sprint added another antenna to their site giving it coverage for Fairfield city. In addition, 1 more set of antennas have been added to that site making the total of 2 increases in transmitters in the last 3 years. This point must not be ignored.

I will now offer my recommendation and end with a very short closing 4th topic.

We are a model community. And this is true in a global sense. We have and we must continue to strive for excellence in every avenue of life, including our environment.

The question before us, is not whether the proposed cell base station should be moved or not. The question is, how far should we move it.

There has been some discussion of the Iowa Malleable site. I would not vote for that. I would vote for moving it to the edge of town. All of the other cell towers are on the periphery of town and they seem to work just fine. Let’s keep it that way.

4] I want to take this opportunity to strongly encourage all of the citizens in FF to perform your own research for the other sources of RF radiation. Specifically: cell phone handsets, cordless phones, wireless networking, wireless Internet, wireless telephone headsets, blue tooth earpieces etc. There is a great deal of use of these devices in business and personal life here in FF and I ask you to perform your own research and see for yourself if there is a reason to minimize your use of these. Indeed, for some of them, see if a case can be made for not using them at all.

I thank you.