Residents Get Schooled on Cell Tower Waves

Residents attend a forum to learn more about the potential dangers of electromagnetic radiation.

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?' "

Liat Samouhi September 09, 2010 at 01:22 AM
Back in 200 and again more recently, the Los Angeles Unified School District - based on evidence from the National Institute of Health - concluded that enough evidence exists to support the classification of Electromagnetic fields as a possible human carcinogen. They acted on that information by placing a ban on cell antennas on ALL their school campuses. They decided the risk wasn't worth the money they would receive from the wireless telecoms - even during the budget crisis. Surely, their children can't be worth more or less than ours! The Los Angeles County Bord of Supervisors came to a similar conclusion. They voted unanimously to uge the Federal government to allow local municipalities to use health and environment as a standard before placing cell antennas near homes and schools. They have followed up with the National Association of Telecommunication officers and advisers - and 16 other agencies- to file an appeal with the FCC to change the outdated law - written mainly by the telecoms in 1996 - that prohibits health and environment as considerations for placing these antennas. Our own senator Fran Pavley has also written the FCC with her concerns which echo the Board of Supervisor's. In support of these actions - Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl had written a lettter applauding their efforts to "protect such vulnerable populations as school-aged children" and "to provide a safe learning environment for our children for generations to come."
Liat Samouhi September 09, 2010 at 01:31 AM
continued.... He has also been involved in implementing a possible cell antenna moratorium in Los Angeles. The Ninth District Court of Appeals in 2008 sided with the City of San Diego - against Sprint - when the city insisted they retain control of the placement of future cell antennas and confine them to areas that they cosider meet community aesthetic and - SAFETY - standards. The Ninth Circuit Court also said in Metro PCS Vs. The City and County of San Francisco that the burden of proof to show that the telecoms have sought to find the least intrusive place to put their antenna within the community falls on the Telecoms. The Court critisized the Telecom in question by pointing out that the location chosen was determined as favorable by their own engineers and not the needs of the community. There is more to say..... However, I would like to end by asking the LVUSD to please offer the same consideration and compassion to the vulnerability of our school aged children and prohibit the installation and proliferation of these cell towers and their equipment on our school campuses.
Charlene Ross September 11, 2010 at 03:56 PM
Excellent comments Liat - Thank you! Yes, there is much to learn about this topic. It is sad and ridiculously ironic that in effort to maintain an excellent school district we are putting our children in possible danger. What is the point of giving our children such a superior education if we are potentially frying their brains while doing it? We do have to ask ourselves if the benefit is worth the cost.
Liat Samouhi September 14, 2010 at 04:01 AM
Thank you Charlene for your kind comments. Correction to my first entry: the 200 should read 2000- that is an entire decade ago that the LAUSD first came to that conclusion.! By the way, are you a resident of the LVUSD and of Calabasas? Would love to touch base with you. Will ask Arin to forward you my info if that is okay. Best regards. Also.....is Toni Morrison out there? Would love to hear your thoughts on this as well. Enjoyed your comments on this topic in the past.


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