Readers Write: Port concerned over Verizon antenna radiation

The Island Now

(The following letter was written to Verizon executives in response to a letter sent by Verizon to a number of Port Washington residents, explaining why the company is installing 16 new high-powered wireless antennas in neighborhoods in the community, and how their equipment meets federal safety standards.)

Our national coalition of more than 150 grassroots organizations is located in the hamlet of Port Washington in the Town of North Hempstead, N.Y., where your contractor ExteNet, working on your behalf, has successfully sued the Town to force the installation of 16 so-called “small cell” antennas, against the wishes of many residents, and without any public hearing or notification to affected property owners.

I am in receipt of a copy of your letter of Aug. 13 which claims that the new antennas are required, in part, to serve “first responders.” We are not aware of any issue with connectivity at any of the proposed small cell installations, or any complaint by first responders about a lack of service. If you have documentation to support your statement, please provide it.

More importantly, your letter goes on to state that all your equipment meets federal exposure safety limits. Be advised that Verizon’s reliance on long-outdated exposure guidelines developed back in the 1980s and adopted in the 1990s by the Federal Communications Commission may not be sufficient to legally protect the company in the event of harm caused by constant exposure to RF microwave radiation – the kind of exposure which your new antennas will impose on residents of our community. Indeed, we understand that insurance companies have refused to insure Verizon and other wireless companies against this risk because of its potential for significant financial loss.

You should also be aware that the recent decision of the FCC to reaffirm its human exposure guidelines is being challenged in federal court for violations of the Administrative Procedures Act, and because of the agency’s flagrant disregard for the large and growing body of scientific and medical research demonstrating clear and unequivocal biological harm from exposures. The $30-million study by the National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health, released in 2018, which found “clear evidence” of increased cancer risk, was conveniently ignored by the Food and Drug Administration in its unsigned report – a report which was then used by the FCC to justify the reaffirmation of its old and insufficient exposure guidelines.

The fact is that the decades-old notion that non-ionizing radiation is not harmful has now been proven to be false. The question now is what will purveyors of wireless technology like Verizon do to reduce those exposures and protect public health?

We expect all companies operating in our community to be good neighbors, to protect the property, privacy, safety and most importantly, health of residents, and not to negatively impact our right to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of our homes and properties. Whether or not Verizon is fully to blame for the current situation in the Town of North Hempstead is irrelevant. The fact is that the company is widely seen as bullying its way into our community to wrangle profits from its new technology without concern for the impact its actions will have on residents.

I urge you in the strongest possible terms not to hide behind the skirts of the FCC and FDA, and instead open a dialogue with members of our community and take a pro-active stance in helping to reduce exposures to the proven harm of RF microwave radiation.

Doug Wood
Founder and Director
Americans for Responsible Technology
Port Washington

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