Planning commission discusses wireless radiation

Josh Hart, director of Stop Smart Meters!, addresses the Plumas County Planning Commission July 20 on telecommunications issues in the county. Photo by Steve Wathen

The county is starting work on a new ordinance to regulate telecommunications facilities in Plumas County.

The Plumas County Planning Commission heard from Josh Hart, director of Stop Smart Meters!, headquartered in Portola, on the dangers of wireless radiation.

The planning commission also heard from Plumas County Supervisor Michael Sanchez on the need for wireless towers in rural areas.

Purpose of the ordinance

The planning commission met July 20 to discuss a draft telecommunications ordinance for the county. The 18-page ordinance was meant to regulate placement of telecommunication towers and other facilities in the county.

Commissioner John Olofson made several suggestions. Olofson was concerned that there be standards in the ordinance concerning tower access roads, maintenance of fencing around facilities and requiring biannual reports from telecommunications companies.

Plumas County Planning Director Randy Wilson said he wanted providers to let the county know the spatial extent and strength of their telecommunications signals throughout the county.

Wilson said the county did not know yet if it was better to have towers collocated, so that less surface area is affected by towers or if there should be restrictions on the number of towers in any given location to protect human health and the environment.

Wilson added that telecommunication companies “self-certify” the emissions from their facilities.

Radiation concerns

Josh Hart, director of  Stop Smart Meters!, addressed the commission with his concerns about wireless radiation and the draft telecommunications ordinance.

Hart warned the commission that when it comes to the telecommunications industry, “You are facing an industry that is very powerful, very wealthy.”

Hart added, “Local governments are the greatest impediment to communications companies getting everything they want.”

Hart referred to the environmental, health and safety issues raised by telecommunications towers. He mentioned brain tumors from cell towers and extended cell phone use, towers that fall over, telecommunication facilities that ignite wildfires and impacts on wildlife.

In 2011, A World Health Organization report classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, based on an increased risk for brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.

Hart testified that he himself is sensitive to radio-frequency (RF) microwave radiation emanating from wireless devices and facilities.

“I get ill when I am exposed to RF radiation,” he said.

Hart recommended that the county not require that telecommunications companies camouflage their towers.

“If anything,” Hart said, “we should be painting them fluorescent orange” to increase people’s sensitivity to the dangers.

RF limits

Hart reported that 75 percent of scientific studies on the effects of RF demonstrate that maximum RF limits set by the Federal Communications Commission are too high. He added that the FCC has been dragging its heels for two years on its promised reevaluation of maximum RF limits.

Hart recommended that the county incentivize putting cable in the ground over installing wireless facilities for Internet access.

Hart testified that mini Wi-Fi towers, called “small cell” towers or “monopoles,” in residential areas increase RF levels. He insisted, “We can have cellular service without allowing facilities in residential areas.”

The Center for Municipal Solutions

Hart recommended that the county reach out to The Center for Municipal Solutions, a consulting firm that helps municipalities and counties defend their rights against telecommunications companies.

CMS claimed on its website to have represented almost 1,000 communities in 38 states over the past 20 years.

Hart said that CMS’s services are free as cities and counties can write regulations to charge telecommunications companies for the cost of the consultations with wireless experts.

Senate Bill 649

Senate Bill 649, Wireless and Small Cell Telecommunications Facilities, is a bill that would regulate the permitting and leasing of public property (telephone poles, power lines, street lights, signposts, buildings, etc.) for installation of “small cell” towers.

Under the bill, cities and counties would have less discretion as to where these facilities can be located, their specifications and what governments can charge for use of those facilities.

Hart encouraged Plumas County to join The League of California Cities in opposing the bill.

Need for wireless

Sanchez agreed with Hart that health and safety should be the county’s first concern.

However, he emphasized, the east county needs more people and businesses, and he didn’t think it was economically feasible that fiber optic cable reach everyone. He felt that wireless towers would be needed.

Sanchez said, “We need better Internet service because we need immigration of businesses into the county. They won’t come without good Internet.”

Sanchez has had extensive experience providing healthcare to veterans. He noted, “Alcohol and tobacco are our biggest killers, yet we can’t get people to stop doing those things. … Furthermore,” he added, “You can get cancer from the sun.”

Future workshop

Wilson told the commission that he had sent a draft of the telecommunications ordinance to AT&T, but did not receive a response.

He said that the county needed all of the players at the table to help the county understand telecommunications and its effects on people and the environment.

Planning Commissioner Larry Williams thought it would be good to at least find out what the FCC radiation emission standards are.

The planning commission decided more discussion was needed and would take up the issue again Aug. 3.

Additional information

Stop Smart Meters! is headquartered in Portola. Hart lives in Clio and can be reached at 836-7252 or [email protected].

The Center for Municipal Solutions can be reached by visiting telecomsol.com, or by calling 919-266-5990 or 518-439-3079.

The FCC website can be found at fcc.gov. The 2011 WHO report can be found by searching “Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones.”

Purpose of the Plumas County’s Telecommunications Ordinance

– Protect the health and safety of the public.

– Minimize general, visual and operational impacts of telecommunications facilities.

– Maximize co-location of facilities to minimize the total number of facilities in the county.

– Minimize the placement of new small cell-monopoles, larger towers and antennas in residential areas.

– Minimize the impacts to agriculture and air navigation.

– Providing wireless communications in an effective and efficient manner.

11 thoughts on “Planning commission discusses wireless radiation

  • August 17, 2017 at 4:09 pm
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    Ideology is fine. Making up bad science to scare people into supporting your particular ideology is not.

  • August 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm
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    You are absolutely right- the wireless industry needs to stop relying on fabricated, funded, rigged science to show that its products are safe. If we listen to the scientists doing the work, like the World Health Organization and the National Toxicology Program, they are telling us that wireless likely causes cancer. We ignore them at our peril.

    • August 17, 2017 at 6:48 pm
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      I looked at the NTP study even though it lacks any real detail about what frequencies/modulations were tested. I would also be curious as to what the power output of the device was. What the report did say was that the test subjects were exposed for a total of 9 hours a day over the course of 2 years. If you stand out in the sun for that duration you would get cancer too. Speaking of cancer…even the American Cancer Society states “Most lab studies done so far have supported the idea that RF waves don’t have enough energy to damage DNA directly. Because of this, it’s not clear how RF radiation might be able to cause cancer.”

      Not buying it.

      • August 18, 2017 at 7:15 am
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        Deja vu? Follow the money!

        Tobacco manufacturers saw this new ‘health scare’ as a mortal threat to their livelihood, and decided to organise a response. On December 14, 1953, at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, CEOs of the six largest tobacco manufacturers in the USA (all but Liggett) met to plan a response. The outcome was a far-reaching plan to refute the accumulating evidence, using adverts, ‘white papers’, press releases and corporate schmoozing with popular science writers and journalists. Support for (industry-friendly) science was a vital part of this enterprise: cigarette manufacturers called for ‘more research’ to resolve a purported ‘controversy’, and set out to reassure the public that the companies were taking charge. That campaign was by and large a success, judging from the fact that per capita consumption rebounded from its dip in 1953. Cigarette consumption in the USA would in fact continue to grow throughout the 1960s and 1970s, peaking at about 630 billion sticks in 1982 before starting to decline.

  • August 18, 2017 at 10:53 am
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    I just wear tin foil on my head! Does the trick just fine, and keeps the government from reading my dreams.

    • August 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm
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      Bill, scientists are exploring whether over-exposure to aluminum may be posing threats to human health. For instance, high concentrations of aluminum have been detected in the brain tissue of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have examined the community of old people with Alzheimer’s and concluded that it is a modern disease that’s developed from altered living conditions associated with society’s industrialization. These conditions may include high levels of aluminum in daily life.

      Aluminum poses other health risks, too. Studies have suggested that high aluminum intake may be harmful to some patients with bone diseases or renal impairment. It also reduces the growth rate of human brain cells.

      Bottom line…We’re all going to die from our own arrogance.

  • August 19, 2017 at 8:01 am
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    I was in downtown Quincy a couple of weeks ago and the levels of RF are off the charts, in the “extreme concern” levels established by the Building Biology Institute based on peer-reviewed science. If you spend a lot of time in downtown Quincy or other RF-polluted area of the county, you are at risk. You have a right to knowledge about the impacts and infrastructure that is harming is, and a right to live in a safe, non-irradiated environment.

    What concerns me is that many in the county would like as many new towers as possible, without looking at the real need for them. A strong Plumas County telecom ordinance could avoid exposing the 20,000 residents of this county to harmful levels of radiation. Residents are encouraged to contact the planning commission and their supervisor to demand an ordinance that protects our kids, environment, and health first and foremost.

    BTW- Most people don’t stand out in the sun for hours because their skin starts to hurt. Our brain has no pain receptors and so most people cannot feel the damage or lesions that are occurring from cell phone usage.

    • August 19, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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      I am curious how you detect and measure levels of RF in an area like Quincy. Are you measuring just popular unlicensed frequencies like 2.4 and 5.8 GHz or are you sweeping the whole RF and microwave spectrum? Surely you cannot limit your battle to just wifi and cell phone frequencies. Are you measuring actual power levels as well? I would think that with your affliction you would be more sensitive to microwave radiation than RF frequencies. A land based air traffic control radar is way more powerful than a neighbor’s wifi router.

      BTW-Some people can stand in the sun all day. Their bodies can tolerate exposure to the energy from the sun. Those who cannot probably take measures to protect themselves or live in a more hospitable environment. Not everyone is affected by something as innocuous as low powered radio waves (quit using the term “radiation” for dramatic affect). There are safe places for those that cannot live in the “RF polluted” 21st century. But hurry up…the safe places are shrinking quickly.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCPuufwOGMM

      • August 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm
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        When I was at the Farmers Market last week, I used a Gigahertz Solutions HF35C RF Meter to measure the power density of RF (radio frequency, also referred to as microwave) radiation (the scientifically correct term by the way) within the frequencies of 800 Mhz- 2.7 GHz. This includes wifi and cell phone/ tower radiation among other sources. The power density measured above 1000 microwatts per square centimeter- hardly “low powered radio waves.”

        Exposure depends largely on distance- your smart phone by your head is more likely to be a greater microwave exposure than the cell tower a couple of miles away, but of course it is all cumulative. It’s easy to assume that just because you can’t feel it, or because there aren’t warning labels like on cigarettes then it’s safe to give to your kids. But the science is evolving fast. The NTP study was a game changer, showing direct association of death and disease with RF exposure. The wireless industry is on borrowed time before it has to face accountability for the millions of brain tumors it has cost and lives it has damaged or prematurely ended.

        We can have fast, wired telecommunications in Plumas County, be a model for the country while preserving places still relatively unpolluted by this increasingly noxious irritant and carcinogen affecting ever more people. If we can run telephone lines to everyone’s house then surely we can run fiber optic cable. It may cost more than blasting out wireless radiation but this is simply the cost of running an ethical business. When you include external costs like health care and missed work, we may realize one day that wireless is in fact much more costly, and in far more painful ways. A Faustian Bargain!

        Let’s invest in a big dig and connect everyone at once with safe, wired high speed internet. Keep it wired, y’all.

        • August 20, 2017 at 9:00 am
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          It makes me sad that there is a niche market for devices like these….charlatans selling devices to the masses, exploiting them and feeding on their paranoia. Shielding paint and shielding curtains? Really? Why not just buy a Faraday cage for your whole house? The neighbors would love it.

          According to your WHO report, 1000 microwatts ( or 1 milliwatt for you playing at home) are categorized as “FCC Public Exposure Standard” which doesn’t sound all that scary. I’m sure you’ll have a pithy retort to that comment.

          And if we’re referencing “scientifically correct terms” RF is 30kHz to 300 GHz, which include microwave frequencies from 300MHz to 300GHz. I find your use of “radiation” to be alarmist, to say the least. When you get in your car, do listen to NPR on your RF radiation device?

          As far as your ideas for connecting Plumas county with fast, wired internet. That’s a great idea. People would love that. ISPs would love it. One question…who’s going to pay for it? I think I already know the answer, but I await your answer.

  • August 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm
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    The American Cancer Society views the National Toxicology Study as a game changer. UC Berkeley’s Dr. Joel Moskowitz (public health) said of the study: “The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization should now have sufficient evidence to raise the classification of radiofrequency radiation from “possibly carcinogenic” (Group 2B) to “carcinogenic” (Group 1). Dr. Anthony Miller, on the panel for the IARC classification, last month announced that evidence is sufficient to move the classification to “Carcinogenic for Humans.”

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