2008-04-04 / Letters

We Have The Right To Be Concerned

Dear Editor,

In her editorial to The Wave on March 21, President Ronni Schwab of the West End Temple supports her argument that cell phone antennas pose no health risk to our children and community based on what she describes as "50 years of scientific research." She quotes such prestigious organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), American Cancer Society, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, Mrs. Schwab uses data that supports her argument which is misleading. Although the American Cancer Society has stated that they do not know of any specific evidence that links cell phone towers to health risks, they do state that "cellular phone towers, like cellular phones themselves, are a relatively new technology, and we do not yet have full information on health issues. In particular, not enough time has elapsed to permit epidemiologic studies." In fact, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields as a "possible human carcinogen" based on consistent epidemiologic data showing an association between it and childhood leukemia. The problem with claiming exposure is safe is that not enough is known on the long term effects of radiofrequency exposure especially among children. More long term studies are required. This feeling is consistently expressed within the scientific community. In 2004, WHO held a conference specifically addressing the need for further investigation into this matter, stating "concerns about the potential vulnerability of children to radiofrequency fields have been raised because of the potentially greater susceptibility of their developing nervous systems; in addition, their brain tissue is more conductive, radiofrequency penetration is greater relative to head size, and they will have a longer lifetime of exposure that adults." Their conclusion was that more research was required. In 2007, the FDA requested that the National Research Council, a scientific advisory board to the federal government, hold a research conference examining research needs and gaps in knowledge of the biological effects and adverse outcomes to radiofrequency energy. The conference included international experts in the field, from the most prestigious universities in the world. In their reports they stressed the need for more research, stating "Environmental exposure could be particularly harmful to children," and "they may be at increased risk because of developing organ and tissue systems, particular the nervous system." The general consensus from the scientific community is that not enough is known, and much more research is required, especially when it comes to children. Mrs. Schwab wants us to believe her cell phone antennas are safe, and compares the concerns of parents and the community to "The Big Lie." She also states that "we are educated people and I expect educated people to go with the science." Well, Mrs. Schwab, the scientific community has concerns and we as parents of young children have a right to be concerned also. Health risk to our children may not become evident for many years, and by that time it may be too late. Why should we let you expose our children to this potentially harmful radiation, only to find out 20 years from now that you were wrong and we were right? By that time it will be too late and the damage will already be done.

WILLIAM RODINO, M.D.

F.A.C.S.

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