Letter from Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D. to the Montgomery County Council, Maryland.
October 31, 2017
Roger Berliner, President
Hans Riemer, Vice President
Montgomery County Council
Montgomery County, Maryland
Dear President Berliner and Vice President Riemer,
My thanks to both of you gentlemen for your responses to my earlier email messages opposing small cell towers. Both of you cited factors of importance when considering the installation of these towers in Montgomery County. However, I was left uncertain about your own views of small cell towers. At present, do you favor the installation of small cell towers in Montgomery County, or not?
If you favor installation
If you favor installation, and your goal is limited to maintaining control, at the County level, of the zoning requirements, then I can understand why County officials keep deflecting the health concerns raised by County residents. Hence the frequent references to the “environmental effects” exclusion in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which is frequently interpreted to be a “health effects” exclusion:
“No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.”
(In the above quotation, the “Commission” is, of course, the Federal Communications Commission.)
If you oppose installation or are undecided
If you oppose installation or are undecided, then please consider the following line of reasoning for countering the supposed health exclusion in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Our laws are in conflict
The international biomedical research community has made it quite clear that radiofrequency radiation, and specifically cellular radiofrequency radiation, can harm people in an enormous number of ways. Most recently the National Institutes of Health linked cellular radiation to brain cancer (glioma) which is usually fatal, and to a nerve cancer (schwannoma) that can be fatal. That is, the scientific evidence suggests that we must treat radiofrequency radiation, and in particular cellular radiation, not only as dangerous to health generally, but also as a CARCINOGEN that is dangerous to life itself.
So, when a small cell tower is placed “up close and personal” to people, those people must be regarded as under “assault” by a carcinogen. And, there are laws against assault. Further, since that assault can result in death, those people must be considered as under “assault with a deadly weapon”. That is also against the law. Furthermore, if any of those people die as the result of that assault, that is “murder”. Murder is also against the law.
So, it seems fair to ask this question: Is the 1996 Telecommunications Act so powerful that it overrides the laws against assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and murder? I doubt very much that the authors of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, in their zeal to promote the rapid expansion of cellular technology without prior testing for safety, intended to convey a right to the telecommunications industry to assault, and even kill, people.
If County officials want to protect the public from harm, they need to rally their legal might to resist ALL EFFORTS to install small cell towers in the County, not just because that is the right thing to do, but also because such installation violates multiple existing laws that are reasonably believed to be preeminent.
I would be proud to see Montgomery County take the lead in making this argument against the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which has proved to be an unjust law.
If you don’t believe that cellular radiation is harmful
If you reject the above line of reasoning because you don’t believe that cellular radiation is harmful, then I ask you to consider these questions:
- On which sources of information are you relying for assurances of safety? Do those sources have extensive backgrounds in the biological effects of radiofrequency radiation? Are those sources free from vested interests in cellular communications or other wireless technologies?
- Are those sources more authoritative on health issues than the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization? That organization linked radiofrequency radiation, and in particular cellular radiation, to cancer back in 2011?
- Are those sources more authoritative on health issues than the National Toxicology Program (NTP) at the National Institutes of Health? The NTP confirmed the link of radiofrequency radiation, and in particular cellular radiation, to cancer in 2016 and to DNA damage more broadly in 2017? And further findings are due for release in 2018. These findings are the result of the largest study ($25 million) that the NTP has ever conducted of any toxin.
- Have you read some of the scientific research literature that connects radiofrequency radiation to biological effects and that has been funded by impartial sources?
If your answer to the last question above is “No”, I hope that you will explore at least some of the vast biomedical research literature that Maryland residents have already submitted to you.
Also, for an excellent online overview of the impact of wireless technology on health, please see the web site of the Environmental Health Trust (https://ehtrust.org/). This organization is led by Devra Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H. who has had a distinguished career of public service in support of public health. Dr. Davis was a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was named a joint recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007.
Who am I?
I am a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D., Applied Physics, Harvard University, 1975). During my Government career, I worked for the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For those organizations, respectively, I addressed Federal research and development program evaluation, energy policy research, and measurement development in support of the electronics and electrical-equipment industries and the biomedical research community. I currently interact with other scientists and with physicians around the world on the impact of electromagnetic fields on human health.
Thank you for your attention.
Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.