Long-Lasting Health Hazards: Resident Compares Tower to Smoking

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Verizon Wireless filed a pre-application to build a 60-foot monopine behind a school, near a residential neighborhood in Oregon, reported KTVZ-TV. Due to city code, the height and placement of the tower will require a conditional use permit and public hearing. Parents of children who attend Trinity Lutheran are concerned with the proposed proximity of the tower, only 300 feet from the school and only 100 feet from the nearest property line.

Trygve Bolken, the owner of the house closest to the proposed tower location, told KTVZ-TV he’s concerned about aesthetics, lower property values, and possible health issues. “Nobody thought smoking was dangerous, and now all of a sudden, we’ve realized over time that smoking is horrible,” said Bolken. “I feel the same way about these towers. Right now, they’re saying they’re not dangerous, and the radiation coming off there dissipates, and it’s not going to hurt anybody. I truly believe in time we’re going to find out there’s potential long-lasting health hazards.”

After a similar tower was built near a school in Bend at the end of 2018, city officials adopted a resolution, requesting the federal government update studies on potential health effects of radiofrequency emissions, if carriers want to continue to deploy towers. However, Bend Mayor Sally Russell said there’s not much the city can do. 

She added that local governments do not have the power under federal rules to adopt regulations that prevent cell towers from going near neighborhoods or schools. However, there are provisions in place that can make the process harder and more expensive for carriers.

Russell said, “As a local elected official, I can’t make rules that are in conflict with national rules and policies. This one is really tough, because we’ve heard from so many people, but the rules are made at the national level, not at the local level.” She recommends the public reach out to their Congressmen, the FCC, and Verizon with concerns, KTVZ-TV reported.

January 8, 2020   

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