Sunday, January 24, 2010

Parents Say No to High Powered Wi-Fi Antenna at Elementary School

Big antenna brouhaha!  I don't know enough to comment, so presented for your illumination.

Parents: No Antenna at Elementary School

By Elisabeth Nardi

Via The Silicon Valley Mercury News


The simmering concern over exposure to omnipresent radio and other kinds of electromagnetic waves boiled over this week as parents angrily reacted to the idea of putting an Internet antenna on a school campus near its playground.

The district is looking at $15,000 a year; the parents fear harm to their children.

At a sometimes raucous meeting this week, Walnut Creek parents likened the antenna, which would emit radio waves 24 hours a day, to a "science experiment."

"I don't want my kids used as an experiment," said John Johnson. "Wi-Fi is not that important."

More than 100 people showed up to voice their concerns about the proposed 37-foot antenna tower, which would be disguised to look like an evergreen tree at Walnut Heights Elementary School. It would be at the back of school, on the edge of the neighboring Shell Ridge Open Space.

Proposed by Clearwire of Kirkland, Wash., the antenna would support subscribers to the company's WiMax broadband service, touted as much stronger than standard Wi-Fi.

If approved, the Clearwire contract could bring in around $15,000 a year for the district.


James Gray with TRK Engineering, which researched the antenna for Clearwire, said the tower would emit radiation only at levels considered acceptable by the Federal Communications Commission. But those levels have been called into question in recent years.

A Columbia University biophysics professor questioned the federal standards and said there is research that links radio waves to health problems.

Martin Blank cited numerous potential health effects of electromagnetic radiation, including Alzheimer's disease and leukemia, and studies backing the link.

Some districts have expressed concern about antenna placement. The Los Angeles school board adopted resolutions in 2000 and 2009 opposing cellular facilities on or near school campuses to minimize exposure to electromagnetic and radio frequency radiation.

Parents and neighbors at Wednesday night's meeting, frustrated by a lack of research on the effects of radio waves, said the Walnut Creek tower would not be worth the public health risk.

Some said the district did not properly notify parents and neighbors of the informational meeting. Chuck Carroll, whose house would be 300 feet away from the antenna, said he worried he would have to wear a "tinfoil hat."


Read it all on the link...

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  1. Hey Trip!

    Get your tinfoil hat before they are all gone! :)