• 31 MAY 07
    • 0

    #739: Press release from the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union

    2,500 Antennas and Counting…

    The San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU) is a grass-roots, city-wide coalition of individual residents and neighborhood organizations that works to prevent the placement of wireless antennas on or near residences, schools, health care centers, day care centers, senior centers, playgrounds, places of worship, and other inappropriate locations in the City and County of San Francisco.

    SNAFU’s work follows from the mounting evidence concerning the health and environmental effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation used by cellular phones, cellular antennas and other wireless transmitters, as well as a commitment to responsive local government and community-based, democratic control over land use, zoning, and health & environmental issues.

    PRESS RELEASE, May 29, 2007:

    San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna Free Union
    Doug Loranger – (415) 885-1981, loranger@california.com
    Nancy Evans – (415) 285-7267, nancywrite@aol.com

    Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposal for a Google/Earthlink citywide WiFi network may soon hit a SNAFU – the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union. The grass-roots organization will file an appeal of the San Francisco Planning Department’s categorical exemption of the WiFi project from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) following a Wednesday, May 30, 2007 12 noon – 1 p.m. rally and press conference on the Polk Street steps at City Hall. The City’s Board of Supervisors will likely hear the appeal in mid-July.

    Google/Earthlink plans to install 2,200 microwave transmitters on light and utility poles throughout the city to provide wireless Internet access.

    SNAFU wants an environmental review to be conducted before the City grants approval based on the scientific evidence pointing to potentially adverse health and environmental effects from the microwave radiation utilized by WiFi networks like the Google/Earthlink proposal.

    “The studies being done on the health effects of low-intensity radiation used by cellular phones and cellular antennas document a range of potential health problems, from headaches and dizziness to lowered immune response and cancer,” said SNAFU spokesperson Doug Loranger. “WiFi utilizes the same kind of radiation and raises the same health and environmental issues.”

    San Francisco is already immersed in a sea of electromagnetic radiation from sources such as 138 transmitters on Sutro Tower, over 2,500 licensed cell phone antennas at 530 locations throughout the City, thousands of WiFi hotspots in cafes, shops and homes, and hundreds of thousands of cellular phones. No systematic attempt has been made to determine what current cumulative exposures to this radiation are and what the 2,200 proposed Google/Earthlink antennas would add.

    SNAFU wants field measurements of existing background radiation levels to be conducted and the results considered in light of the accumulating scientific research on potential health effects before the City decides whether to approve the Google/Earthlink WiFi deal.

    In 2003, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown signed the City’s Precautionary Principle ordinance, which states in part that “the community has a right to know complete and accurate information on potential human health and environmental impacts associated with the selection of products, services, operations or plans. The burden to supply this information lies with the proponent, not with the general public.”

    “By stating that the Google/Earthlink project is categorically exempt from environmental review, the City appears to be ignoring its own precautionary policy,” said Nancy Evans, a health science consultant with the Breast Cancer Fund. “In England, they have begun dismantling WiFi networks in schools over the potential health dangers. Here in San Francisco, we are moving in precisely the opposite direction. People should realize that their love affair with wireless gadgets may carry a high price in terms of their health.”

    For more information, visit SNAFU’s website at www.antennafreeunion.org

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