The Associated Press ran a story today about a church in St Louis that is at odds with its neighbors over a plan to allow T-Mobile to build a tower along a chimney of their church in exchange for rent.
Normally, this is worthy of discussion in a forum, but as consumers of cellular services, we have to remain vigilant about the blockades that cellular/PCS services face in trying to meet our expectations of coverage and service.
As the article correctly points out, there has never been a study that points to any kind of health hazard from the low-level radio frequency radiation that reaches ground level from such a tower. In fact, if you simply look at the “amount” of radiation, you get more from smoking a cigarette, than you get from a tower in the same amount of time.
From the story:
“That revenue is in exchange for our potential well-being, our peace of mind and our property values,” said David O’Brien, 33, who lives two homes down and remains unconvinced by studies downplaying the health threat of low-level radio-frequency emissions.
“None of us are willing to take that risk,” O’Brien said. “None of us are going to put our kids in a bedroom that’s 70 feet away from something that might cause cancer or other problems.”
It’s the kind of irresponsible misinformation and fear mongering that this story illustrates that points out one reason why the cell phone industry is hamstrung in its efforts to meet customer expectations:
Residents of St. Louis’ South Hampton neighborhood first learned of Southampton Presbyterian’s plan to rent space to T-Mobile in 2003. Immediately, they mobilized against it. A petition opposing the cell antenna was signed by more than 250 people.
When talks failed, residents turned to zoning officials who ruled against T-Mobile. The city’s Board of Adjustment agreed, ruling the antenna could have “a negative impact on the health of children and residents” and would cause property values to decrease.
Negative impact on health? When did zoning boards become health experts?
I do agree that cell towers can be eyesores, and thus can drop property values. So I don’t necessarily argue that cell towers should go up unopposed.
However, as educated consumers, we all face a serious responsibility to accept the consequences of our expectations. “I want total coverage” and “Not in my back yard” just can’t always live together.