Letters to the Editor: Parents seek cell tower removal

Letters to the Editor: Parents seek cell tower removal

Letters to the Editor

As parents of Alameda students, we were saddened, but not surprised, by AT&T’s refusal to remove cellular antennas from Maya Lin School where they may present a danger to our children. Many community members are concerned that radiofrequency (RF) emissions from cell antennas may cause long term harm to our children; they are exposed to these emissions while they are still growing and developing. AT&T claims that there is little evidence to support the theory that emissions from cell towers cause cancer, but the engineer hired by AT&T to measure the emissions also explained that it is difficult to conduct long-term studies with children, who grow up, may move away from an area and become hard to follow.

During their June 24 meeting, school board members instructed district staff to contact AT&T about removing the cell equipment on two of our schools. AT&T, however, is not interested. AT&T claims it has the right, at its sole discretion, to renew its lease with the Alameda Unified School District for as many as 25 years. This type of contract with a school district is not legal in California (education code section 17534 limits such contracts to five years), and AT&T should be required to remove its cell antennas from all schools (T-Mobile also has equipment, on Alameda High).

Meanwhile, our children are the guinea pigs who continue to be exposed to these emissions when we do not know whether and what the harm from them may be. Will we later learn that such emissions are as damaging as cigarettes or DDT? Alameda Unified obtains the short-term gain of a small fee from AT&T for the use of its school sites, but is this like the short-term gain of using pesticides to produce cheap and pretty fruit while we eventually face the long-term and maybe permanent impacts of this risk? We don’t know what the impact of exposure to these emissions are, if any, but we would guess that if we later learn that there are harms, they will be permanent and severe. We do not think that our children should be exposed to these potential risks while we wait for evidence of harm. It just isn’t worth the risk.

The community wants AT&T to leave and take their equipment with them. We request that the school board direct the district staff to send notices of termination to AT&T. If AT&T refuses and demands compensation for removing the equipment, which is their responsibility when the contract is over, they are even worse than some of us thought. What good is our little bit of money - which should go to our students and teachers - to them? The board should not let AT&T leverage their big wallet and legion of lawyers against the rights of the community and laws of the state. This item is agendized for tonight's school board meeting.

AT&T admitted at a meeting at Maya Lin School on June 23 that it no longer looks for cell antenna sites on school campuses, but that the schools in Alameda are “legacy sites.” Is this the kind of legacy we want?

Jessica Reed
Alex Reed
Julie Norris
Sarah Stickle
Joanne Chao
Sylvia Kahn
Dan Salsbury
Jason Wilson
Dina Hondrogen
Clark Cole
Lorrie Murray
Sarah Feldman

Comments

Submitted by Carrie Sheret (not verified) on Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Alameda should join New York City and other cities around the world which have legislated bans on cellular antennae on schools.

There are many international studies which show that low-intensity exposure to radiofrequency radiation has various ill effects, if not a direct link to cancer: http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/BioInitiativ...

Submitted by Skeptical (not verified) on Wed, Aug 13, 2014

Those studies are also directed to wifi and wireless laptops. Should those be removed from schools too?