"Worried that cellphone towers on school grounds could expose children to harmful levels of radiation, a group of parents is fighting to have the two towers dismantled.
A tower designed to look like a tall pine tree was installed between Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools in 2006. Another went up behind San Marino High School shortly thereafter.
Then along came Ming Jiang, a former Motorola engineer who in August noticed a strange-looking tree while dropping her son off at Valentine. Jiang has organized a group of about a dozen parents and others calling for the tower’s removal."
"“It’s always been difficult to prove the link between any physical agent and cancer,” said Valentine parent Mike Chen, a neurosurgeon at City of Hope hospital who specializes in brain tumors. “How many years did it take for us to figure out that tobacco causes cancer? That Agent Orange is dangerous? We should be cautious if we can.”
Chen said several studies suggest that radiation from cellphones and towers might interfere with DNA reproduction and impact the human brain. Conclusive proof, no, but “sufficient scientific evidence to raise a warning,” he said."
"In response to parent pressure, San Marino school board members voted Sept. 18 to hire a biophysicist to measure radio frequency emissions from campus cell towers. The board also hired the Planning Center, a Santa Ana consulting firm, to analyze those readouts.
Officials are expected to announce results of those studies on Tuesday, and are organizing an Oct. 23 forum on cellphone towers."
Note that both experts hired by the San Marino school board have repeatedly provided expert testimonials on behalf of cell phone companies.
"Meanwhile, the threat of legal action already hangs over the district.
“We’re monitoring the situation and hoping the school district does the right thing,” said Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, who sent a lawyer from his firm to attend the Sept. 18 board meeting. “Otherwise, we might have to get involved in a more formal way.”
The tower near Valentine and Huntington schools is owned by Verizon Wireless. The one behind San Marino High belongs to Global Tower Partners, which leases it to Verizon, MetroPCS, Clearwire and AT&T, according to Boucher."
"The Los Angeles Unified School District banned cellphone towers from school property in 2000, a move Jiang is hoping San Marino schools will emulate."
"But parent Cindy Yung, a pharmacist, said any uncertainty is enough to prompt caution.
“A lack of conclusive proof [of danger] does not mean there is no risk, and these are our children we’re talking about,” said Yung."
|A cell phone tower next to the Huntington Middle School campus looks like... (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)|