Questions and Answers about the proposed
By Ed Jones
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in electromagnetic radiation or in the biological processes that may be affected by it. (That is why I am researching the topic)
(This is an evolving document – updated as appropriate)
Table of Contents (Active links)
A1. A 40-foot tall cellular broadcast tower disguised as a broad leaf tree. The cellular broadcast tower will have 6 antennas; each antenna can have multiple broadcast elements. The base of each antenna panel is 34 feet off the ground, broadcasting electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range 1,850,000,000 Hz to 1,990,000,000 Hz, (1.85GHz to 1.99GHz) with a power of 400 to 500 watts. The signal will be in the Global System for Mobile Communication or (GSM) format. The electromagnetic radiation will be broadcast 24 hours a day 7 days a week forever. Additional antennas could be added in the future.
A2. Cingular Wireless
A3. The proposed cellular broadcast tower is to be built at 3990 El Camino Real. This space is occupied by Blockbuster. The cellular broadcast tower will actually be located on Los Robles on the left side of the entrance to the parking lot.
A4. There are
A5. Cingular has
found a property owner willing to lease a portion of their property for
construction of a cellular broadcast tower. The lease rates are not disclosed
but can be several thousands of dollars per month. I do not know if
A6. Toufic (Tim) and Eva Jisser (they also own
A7. By normal
A8. There are several areas of concern related to the cellular broadcast tower; a) the physical design, b) how it looks and c) the safety of people living or working in the path of the broadcast electromagnetic radiation.
a) The design and construction of a cellular broadcast tower
is not new and
b) Cingular has attempted to make the tower look like a broad leaf tree. There may be concerns about how this tree looks and if it will continue to look like a tree.
c) The concern I have is for the safety of the people living
or working in the direct path of the radiated electromagnetic energy. The
broadcast tower, unlike a cellular phone, cannot be turned off and broadcast
electromagnetic radiation 24 x 7 x forever. The closest workplace (Blockbuster)
is about 20 feet away. The closest home is less than 45 feet away (apartments
across Los Robles) and the second floor living areas are in the direct path of
the broadcast electromechanical radiation. In the future the use of cellular
phones will increase and the content will migrated from voice to data, music
and video. The demand on the cellular broadcast towers will quickly exceed
capacity and more antenna elements will be added to existing towers and more
antenna towers will be built. The power level of the broadcast electromagnetic
radiation will continue to go up. The medical, scientific and regulating groups
from around the world do not agree on what is a safe level of electromagnetic
radiation at these frequencies should be. There are several studies that
conclude that there are non-thermal health risks from the electromagnetic
radiation from the proposed cellular broadcast tower. In 1996 the
A9. Different people have different concerns. If you are concerned about a) the structural safety or b) the look you can work directly with other concerned folks such as your self and work directly with the Palo Alto Planning Department and Cingular Wireless. If you are concerned about c) the potential heath risks, as I am, you can work with me and other concerned folks. The goal is to determine what the non-thermal health risk are and if there is a safe distance from the cellular broadcast tower.
There is a large amount of information available that needs to be reviewed and valid assessments drawn from it.
Action Item 1) Search literature for the non-thermal health effects of electromagnetic radiation in the 1850Mhz to 1990Mhz or 1.85GHz to 1.99GHz range (MHz = Mega hertz, GHz = Giga Hertz). My next posting will be to organize the information I have collected to date. Researchers are needed, especially those who have access to medical libraries on-line. Health experts are needed to direct the areas of research, which biologic process and functions are affected by this radiation.
Action Item 2) Review the potential heath risks with qualified heath experts. Reviewers and Health experts are needed.
Action Item 3) Organize this research for publication on the BPA web site.
Action Item 4) Determine final action to take based
on outcome of research. This could include preparation of a presentation for
This investigation can have three possible outcomes;
I) There is no non-thermal health risk so there should be no opposition to the cellular broadcast tower based on health concerns.
II) There are non-thermal health risks and a safe distance has been determined. Then the cellular broadcast tower should be placed at a safe distance from any homes or those homes or families need to be relocated to a safe distance. All property within the area of risk will need to be de-valued and the owners compensated. There could be large opposition to this conclusion because of the lost tax revenues and large compensation amounts due from wireless carriers for homes within risk zones surrounding all cellular broadcast towers.
III) There are non-thermal health risks but a safe distance cannot be determined from the cellular broadcast tower. In this case the cellular broadcast tower should be opposed until a safe distance can be determined. This conclusion will meet with similar opposition and will require work on federal regulation working with local and national politicians, the Surgeon General, FDA and FCC to update guidelines for cellular broadcast tower placement.
A10. There is a file available for public viewing. The planning department is very open and helpful when asked to look at the files. Within the file is;
A conditional approval letter from the Planning Department
A set of drawings
An engineering report
A11. The drawings and pictures show the tower in two different locations. If the plans were read incorrectly the antenna could be built less than 30 feet from a home (Buena Vista Mobile Home Park). The plans call for 6 broadcast antennas, 3 to be installed when built and 3 to be added at some later date. There are no specifications for the actual broadcast antenna, which will be placed on the tower or the equipment to be placed on the ground. The proposal does not give clear information about all the health effects of the broadcast electromagnetic radiation. There is an engineering report with a general equation for broadcast electromagnetic power and a FCC recommended power level. The equation is not the actual equation for the antenna to be installed. There are no references to any certifications for the broadcast equipment. There is no specification for what will be placed on the tower in the future. The process for maintaining, upgrading and expanding the number of antennas on the tower is not specified.
A12. You can
visit the Planning Department on the 5th floor of
A13. Cingular has also been very open and helpful. Many of the people living and working in the area surrounding the cellular broadcast tower are Cingular customers. Through Clare I was put in contact with Kelly Pepper at 415-495-5961.