Consider This

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Cedar Rapids School Board

Johnson Elementary School

355 18th Street, SE

Cedar Rapids, IA  52403


Dear Board Members:


I was just notified of the intention of the board to allow the placement of a cell phone tower on the roof of Johnson Elementary school and that Roosevelt and Wilson Elementary schools already had them placed on their buildings.


The safety of cell phone tower radiation emission is an extensive scientific debate that has been going on for at least two decades. There is an increasing body of evidence that the radiation they emit is dangerous to human health. Most of the evidence is anecdotal because it is not really possible to study the effects of radiation in a controlled fashion on human beings. It is not ethical. And it takes at least fifteen to twenty years for most of the health consequences of radiation exposure to develop fully.


In addition, we are depending on the cell phone industry itself and the United States Federal Communications Commissions to determine “safe levels” of radiation exposure for human beings. The FCC is not an agency responsible for protecting public health. And the cell phone industry obviously has a conflict of interest here. The Environmental Protection Agency will not oppose cell phone towers because there are not enough controlled studies to verify beyond the shadow of a doubt that exposure to them are dangerous to human health. And we already know that the cell phone lobby is extremely strong.


We physicians are asked to stress the danger of these radiation emissions to parents of infants, toddlers, and teenagers, and are asked to encourage decreased exposure to these devices. But now we are supposed to accept that it is okay for cell phone towers to be placed on the top of our elementary schools, where four to eleven year old children are housed for a large majority of each day.


I am not reassured that these emissions are safe. I am old enough to remember when physicians smoked in patients’ rooms and at nurses’ stations. I remember being laughed at when I discussed the possible dangers of cigarette smoke exposure. I am even more apprehensive about the dangers of emissions from cell phones and cell phone towers.


The public is made to feel as if we are uneducated fools because we cannot provide undisputed scientific basis for our concern. However, it takes time for these diseases and health concerns to manifest. By the time these concerns are “obvious” thousands of people will have been exposed and damaged.  We must take a precautionary approach in these matters.


More and more evidence indicates that emissions from cell phones and towers may be responsible for development of brain tumors, other cancers, hormonal and endocrine disruption, decreased production of sperm count in men who carry cell phones in their pockets, and breast cancer in women who carry their cell phones in their bras. Our neurological systems and brains communicate by transmitting neurological signals electrically. Very intricate and complicated processes are dependent on these signals. These finite electrical impulses can be disrupted easily by a very small number of electromagnetic waves.  I do not believe personally that anyone knows what a “safe level of exposure” is.


Our children are the most vulnerable because of the fact that they are growing rapidly, because their skull bones are still relatively thin, and because their neurological systems are still developing. However, adults are also susceptible to the adverse health effects of these emissions especially when one considers the duration of exposure day in and day out. But then again consider the position you are putting the neighborhood residents in; most of who will be exposed (without knowledge or consent) to this radiation emission 24/7. We know that these towers emit radio frequencies up to two miles away.


The Blue Zone initiative partners (Blue Zones, Healthways, and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield) have also been working very hard to make Cedar Rapids a community where people live longer, healthier lives. I am very concerned that the explosion of cell phone towers so close to schools and residential areas will undo much of what we are all trying to accomplish.


I implore the board to reconsider the placement of the tower on the top of Johnson Elementary School. Please say no. I think it is unacceptable that we already have two schools in Cedar Rapids where the towers were installed without public awareness or input. I cannot undo what has already been done. However, I certainly would like to prevent any more children from being exposed unnecessarily.


Respectfully submitted,




Sharon A. Collins, M.D., F.A.A.P. 

Written and submitted Monday, November 4, 2013


Copyright©2013 by Sharon Collins

November 8th, 2013
Topic: Uncategorized Tags: None

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