WOODLAND HILLS--Concerned Calabasas and Agoura Hills residents made their way to Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills on Thursday evening to learn about the potential health risks of cell phone antennas and Wi-Fi technology.
The talk, by Canadian electromagnetic radiation expert, Dr. Magda Havas, was organized by Rina Baraz Nehdar, a 39-year-old Fountainwood resident and mother of three.
"I understand that the school district is in dire straits and needs to find creative ways to find funds, but I don't think earning money by letting cell phone companies build antennas on school property—where our children spend over six hours a day—is worth the cost to their health," said Nehdar.
Nehdar first became involved in the cause in fall 2009, after learning that a cell antenna was going to be installed at Lindero Canyon Middle School. Along with other concerned mothers, the group persuaded the city of Agoura Hills to stop the tower from being erected and to extend a temporary moratorium on new cell antennas within the city for another year.
In Agoura Hills, there is currently an antenna at Agoura High. In neighboring Calabasas, antennas have been placed on both the high school campus and A.E. Wright Middle School.
Havas showed a brief film on Mountainview School in Collingwood, Canada, where students spoke of headaches, dizziness, displacement and the inability to concentrate after Wi-Fi technology was installed in their school. These students had never experienced the symptoms before wireless networking was installed, and did not have these symptoms after leaving campus.
"Children absorb more energy, have weaker immunes systems and grow more rapidly than adults," Havas said. "This makes them more susceptible to developing problems from all of this exposure. It is imperative that we get cell phone antennas and Wi-Fi out of our schools."
Havas was joined by Elizabeth Kelley, who spoke about the implications of new cell phone "right-to-know" legislation in San Francisco, and proposed cell phone research and labeling legislation in Congress.
Havas and Kelley answered questions from residents after their presentations. The talk was scheduled for 8 to 9 p.m., but Havas and Kelley stayed past 10:30 p.m. to answer questions from the audience.
"You can be sure that the cell phone industry is just as motivated to keep you in the dark about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation," Havas said, likening telecommunication companies to the tobacco industry. "One hundred years from now, society is going to look back at the dangers of this technology and say, 'What were those people thinking?' "