Ryan Burns' cover story, "Occupy Broadband" (Aug. 9), somehow omits any mention of a huge downside of wireless broadband -- adverse health effects from the radio-frequency microwave radiation (RF/MR) emissions. Just last year the World Health Organization classified RF/MR as a Class 2B carcinogen, in the same category as lead and DDT. This year the American Academy of Environmental Medicine released a document calling for precaution with regard to Smart Meters and RF/MR in general, "because of the well documented studies showing adverse effects on health." These published scientific studies were analyzed in the BioInitiative Report (2007), a 650-page document by prestigious scientists and public health experts citing more than 2,000 studies documenting health effects of electromagnetic fields from all sources. This is the real news story.
As the Board of Supervisors gets ready to vote on county telecommunications policies, it is critical that journalists provide the public with complete information. I have attended many public meetings with Connie Stewart and Sean McLaughlin in which they pushed heavily for wireless broadband in our communities, but they are not the only people involved here and they do not speak for many of us. Here's hoping for some balanced journalism.
Beverly Filip, Eureka
[Editor's note: The World Health Organization restricted its findings to personal use of wireless cell phones -- it found evidence lacking for other situations, including exposures from living near transmission signals for radio, television or wireless communication. It concluded that "limited" evidence suggests radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from personal cell phones are a possible carcinogen, linked to two types of brain tumor, glioma and acoustic neuroma. It defines "limited" evidence as enough to make a cause-and-effect relationship credible, but not so much that chance or bias could be reasonably ruled out. A link to a summary of its findings is on our website, along with a link to some background on the controversial American Academy of Environmental Medicine.]
The article "Occupy Broadband," which covered the need for increased access to rural areas of Humboldt County through the expansion of fiber optics cable, was interesting but failed to mention a few things locally significant and directly related to the topic.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors are close to finishing up with the telecommunications section of their General Plan, detailing the county's interest in facilitating cellular and broadband accessibility throughout the county. The element also details provisions for protecting the public interest in property by providing guidelines for responsible placement of cell towers, which will be implemented through an ordinance further down the road.
Of equal interest, Arcata councilmembers recently sent forward a proposal to place a Verizon cellular tower atop the Arcata Ballpark light closest to the Arcata Library. This is in direct conflict with the city's land use code, which specifically states that telecommunications facilities be placed at least 1,000 feet from residences and 1,500 feet from schools, hospitals and historic districts. A large amount of controversy has developed over this proposal. The council has decided to revisit the issue at a Monday morning meeting on Aug. 27 at 9 a.m. at the council chambers at City Hall.
Lisa A. Brown, Arcata