• 10 JUL 07
    • 0

    #761: Report warns of possible health risks of Google/Earthlink WiFi Network

    From Libby Kelly:


    Contacts: Doug Loranger “” (415) 885-1981, loranger@california.com Nancy Evans “” (415) 285-7267, nancywrite@comcast.net


    A report filed by the San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU) with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors warns of potential adverse health and environmental impacts that could result from a proposed Google/Earthlink WiFi network. Dr. Magda Havas, an environmental scientist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, prepared the scientific analysis of the project, which SNAFU submitted in support of its appeal challenging Mayor Gavin Newsom”s citywide WiFi proposal. The Board of Supervisors will hear SNAFU”s appeal on July 10, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. in City Hall.

    “SNAFU is requesting that the proposed Google/Earthlink WiFi network undergo environmental review before it is approved due to our concern about adverse health and environmental impacts,” said Doug Loranger, a SNAFU spokesperson.

    Dr. Havas, who specializes in electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure health effects, writes that while there have been no studies to date on the effects of exposure to WiFi, the potential for harm can best be seen by examining the scientific evidence emerging from studies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere on people living near cell phone antennas. These studies report adverse biological and health effects at radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposures well below levels the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says are safe. Havas” report discusses a number of health effects that have been documented at levels below the FCC exposure limit, including headaches, insomnia, memory loss, slowed reaction time, impaired motor function, DNA breakage and childhood leukemia. These effects occur at levels constituting a small percentage of the safety threshold set by the FCC under its RFR exposure guidelines. Havas also points out that the FCC guidelines are based on short-term exposures (30 minutes) and do not take into consideration the long-term exposures characteristic of a citywide WiFi network.

    A study prepared by certified engineer Mitch Maifeld of Zenzic Research also submitted with SNAFU”s appeal calculates the potential RFR exposure levels of the WiFi antennas proposed by Google/Earthlink. Maifeld prepared calculations based on exposures to residents living in close proximity to the antennas, which would be mounted on light and utility poles in neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. According to Havas, these calculations reveal that residents may be exposed to radiation levels high enough to potentially induce adverse health effects.

    In scientific terms, the Google/Earthlink antennas could expose residents to RFR levels more than 50 times higher than levels associated with a significant increase in headaches, sleep disturbances and dizziness detected in a study conducted in Spain. According to Maifeld”s calculations, wireless laptop users could expect exposure levels from a combination of antennas and laptop more than 350 times greater than the levels in the aforementioned Spanish study.

    Havas” findings reveal a major lapse in public health protection offered by the FCC RFR exposure guidelines. Her report shows that health effects in the scientific literature appear at levels almost 10,000 times lower than those permitted by the FCC. Havas” opinions are shared by scientists worldwide who have signed the Benevento Resolution, which recommends “proposals for city-wide wireless access systems (e.g. WiFi or equivalent technologies) should require public review of potential EMF exposure.” (See www.icems.eu.)

    “Because the City and County of San Francisco is acting as a proprietor and party to a contract with Google/Earthlink and not in its regulatory capacity, it is not preempted by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 from fully considering the health issues as it is when cell phone carriers seek to place antennas in the City,” Loranger added.

    Nancy Evans, a health science consultant with the Breast Cancer Fund, said, “We are calling upon the Board of Supervisors to apply the Precautionary Principle, which is a City ordinance, in addressing our concerns by conducting an environmental study before any decisions are made.” Copies of the Havas and Maifeld reports, along with SNAFU”s appeal, may be found at the Council on Wireless Technology Impacts (CWTI) website at www.energyfields.org.

    For additional information, visit SNAFU”s website at www.antennafreeunion.org.

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