Remove the Cell Antennas from St. Linus Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois
There are nine cell antennas on the top of the St. Linus Church tower. These need to be removed because of the serious health threat they pose to the students, faculty, and staff at the school.
Cell antennas emit radiofrequency radiation, which has been shown to be harmful to human health. Current research shows that living and going to school near cell towers is linked to many negative health consequences including but not limited to brain tumors, blood cancers, heart tumors, headaches, nausea, concentration difficulties, and behavior problems in children.
This petition is for all St. Linus parents, faculty, staff, clergy, and anyone else who lives near or works in the church. Please sign this petition to protect the health of our children and to keep them and all others involved safe from harm.
LINKS TO CURRENT RESEARCH:
MORE INFORMATION/COMPILED RESEARCH:
The Effects of Cell Towers on Human Health
There are nine active cell antennas on the St. Linus Church tower. I strongly believe that these need to be removed primarily because current research shows that they pose a direct health threat to the students, faculty, and staff at the school.
Cell towers and antennas produce radiofrequency radiation, which has been shown in research to be harmful to human health. Below, I will summarize the different forms of electromagnetic field radiation and how they affect human health. I will also discuss the levels the government designates as safe when it comes to radiofrequency radiation and how this differs from what the current research shows can be harmful. Finally, I will discuss a few other cases in which cell towers were present at schools. I am not an expert on electromagnetic field radiation. I’m a concerned parent who has educated myself on the subject.
What is EMF (Thomas, n.d.)? EMF stands for electromagnetic fields. There are three different kinds of EMF: electrical fields, magnetic fields, and radiofrequency radiation. The kind of radiation that is produced by wireless devices such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, WiFi, and cell antennas and towers is radiofrequency radiation. This is also sometimes called microwave radiation. The other two types can be harmful to the human body as well, but I am only going to talk about radiofrequency radiation, the kind emitted by cell towers, which many experts agree is the most damaging. Radiofrequency radiation is measured in milliWatts per square meter. This is a power density measurement, or the density of the radiation in any given space. Unlike magnetic fields and electrical fields, radiation produced by radiofrequencies is pulsed (i.e. it comes in packets) and not continuous. When measuring this type of radiation, there are two different measurements to consider: the peak measurement and the field measurement. The peak measurement captures the radiation density during the transmission of a packet, and the field measurement captures the density while no packet is being transmitted. The level of exposure to radiofrequency radiation changes constantly as packets are transmitted.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the official government body that designates safe levels of exposure to radiofrequency radiation. “Current FCC regulations are based on heating of tissue and short term exposure, not the harmful biological effects demonstrated at much lower levels in the scientific literature (Russell, 2019).” According to the Physicians for Safe Technology website, the FCC has established the upper limit of safety for radiofrequency radiation at 10,000 milliWatts per square meter (Russell, 2019).
The FCC guidelines were last updated in 1996 when cell phones and wireless technology were not widespread. The guidelines were based on preventing tissue heating within a 30 minute period in military men who were using radar equipment (parentsforsafetechnology.org). A 220 pound man was the model used. Therefore, they are not guidelines for children or for exposure that is chronic and fails to heat tissue (i.e. nonthermal prolonged exposure like that from cell towers, cell phones, and wifi). The EPA admits this in a 2002 letter written to Janet Newton, President of the EMR Network. Since these guidelines were adopted, research demonstrating negative nonthermal effects has exponentially increased.
Official tests of radiofrequency radiation use the SAM model (Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin) (parentsforsafetechnology.org). This model uses a plastic head filled with fluid that is supposed to model the way that radiation travels through our brains. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with other expert organizations have asserted that this model that was developed several decades ago underestimates the way radiation travels through our brain. Furthermore, research shows that radiation can travel deeper into children’s brains because their head is smaller, their skulls are thinner, and their brains have a higher water content, making them more conductive of radiation. This is based on research by Om Ghandi. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, children absorb two times more radiofrequency radiation into their brains than adults do and ten times more into their bone marrow.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states in a 2013 letter to the FCC that “Current FCC standards do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children. It is essential that any new standard for cell phones or other wireless devices be based on protecting the youngest and most vulnerable populations to ensure they are safeguarded throughout their lives” (parentsforsafetechnology.org). There is a myth that these standards protect us. No organization (not the EPA or FDA or CDC) states that current FCC radiofrequency radiation limits are “safe.” These limits are currently under review.
There is a large body of research that is currently showing that the current FCC recommendations of safe levels of exposure far exceed the levels at which adverse biological effects are observed. The Bioinitiative Report was created by fourteen scientists from around the world. In the report, they summarize the results of hundreds of studies on how electromagnetic field radiation affects the body. The report was revised and updated in 2012 by twenty-nine scientists who reviewed an additional 1800 studies. It is an extremely extensive body of work that you can review yourself here: https://bioinitiative.org/. Here is an excerpt from the Bioinitiative Report on the levels of exposure at which they found harmful effects on human biology:
"At least five new cell tower studies are reporting bioeffects in the range of 0.003 to 0.05 μW/cm2 at lower levels than reported in 2007 (0.05 to 0.1 uW/cm2 was the range below which, in 2007, effects were not observed). Researchers report headaches, concentration difficulties and behavioral problems in children and adolescents; and sleep disturbances, headaches and concentration problems in adults. Public safety standards are 1,000 – 10,000 or more times higher than levels now commonly reported in mobile phone base station studies to cause bioeffects (bioinitiative.org)."
To be clear, 0.1 microWatts per square centimeter is equal to 1 milliWatt per square meter. Therefore, the Bioinitiative report is saying that they are observing biological effects at 0.03-0.5 milliWatts per square meter. The report’s official recommendation for a safe upper limit of radio frequency radiation exposure is 1 milliWatt per square meter, which is 10,000 times below the FCC’s safe upper limit of exposure.
Along with the Bioinitiative Report, The National Toxicology Program, headed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, released findings in 2018 on the ill effects of high exposure to radiofrequency radiation on rats (Wyde et al, 2016). These findings are based on 10 years of carefully controlled studies. Their research showed that exposure to radiofrequency radiation caused a significant increase in malignant heart tumors, malignant brain tumors, and malignant and benign adrenal tumors in male rats. These conclusions were drawn in March 2018 after an outside panel of scientists reviewed the research.
In addition to the National Toxicology Program study, a recent 2018 study on rats from the renowned Ramazzini Institute in Italy found a significant increase in the same rare cancers found in the National Toxicology Program study but at much lower levels of radiofrequency radiation (Environmental Health Trust, 2018, March 22). The rare cancers included malignant brain tumors in female rats and Schwann cell hyperplasia in male and female rats. Importantly, RF radiation exposure in this study was similar to the strength of RF radiation emitted by a cell tower (i.e. normal, environmental levels of RF radiation exposure). Lead researcher Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi called for the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer to reclassify radiofrequency radiation as a known carcinogen. She also recommended “maximum precaution for children and pregnant women.” Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of EHT [Environmental Health Trust] stated:
More than a dozen countries recommend reducing radiofrequency radiation exposure to children, and countries such as China, Italy, India and Russia have far more stringent cell tower radiation regulations in place when compared to the United States FCC. However, this study provides scientific evidence that governments can use to take even further action (Environmental Health Trust, 2018, March 22).
Radiofrequency radiation is classified by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Class 2B Possible Carcinogen (Russell, 2019). Along with Dr. Belpoggi, a growing number of scientists disagree with this classification and feel, given the strong link the current research is showing between radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and brain tumors specifically, RFR should be classified as a Class 1 Known Carcinogen. On the Physician’s for Safe Technology website, one author discusses cell towers as what she calls a “co-carcinogen.” Dr. Ross Adey shares that radiation from cell towers can act alone or in combination with other environmental toxins to create harmful health consequences. Additionally, in 2010, Markova looked at the relationship between microwaves (i.e. radiofrequency radiation) and stem cells. The author’s conclusions are as follows:
“Because almost all organs and tissues produce stem cells and because stem cells are more active in children, the possible relationship of chronic microwave exposure and various types of tumors and leukemia – especially in children – should be investigated (Russell, 2019).
"A study by Wolf and Wolf (2014) showed a significant increase in cancer in those living within 350 feet of a cell tower. Eger (2004) found an increase in new cancer cases within a ten-year period if residents lived within 400 meters of a cell tower. They also found that within 5 years of operation of the transmitting base stations, the relative risk of cancer development tripled in residents near the cell tower compared to residents living outside the area. Dode (2011) performed a ten-year study (1996-2006) examining the distance from cell towers and cancer clusters. He and his colleagues found a significant increase in cancers in those living within 500 meters of the cell tower. They noted, ‘the largest density power was 40.78 microWatts per square centimeter [i.e. 407.8 milliWatts per square meter], and the smallest was 0.04 microWatts per square centimeter [i.e. 0.4 milliWatts per square meter].’ The current guideline is 1000 microWatts per square centimeter. [i.e.10,000 milliWatts per square meter] (Russell, 2019)."
In conclusion, the author recommended an urgent need to adopt stricter safety limits for radiofrequency radiation. Furthermore, in 2015, a study by Lurchi found lymphomas, lung tumors, and liver tumors at rates that were significantly higher in mice exposed to low to moderate levels of radiofrequency radiation, levels well below current limits by which cell phone providers are required to abide for RF emissions (Russell, 2019).
Many other ill health effects have been observed in those living and going to school near cell towers (e.g. headaches, nausea, vertigo, fatigue, and memory issues). Additionally, in a two year long study conducted by Meo (2018), cognitive dysfunction was seen in children who went to a school with a cell tower in close proximity (Russell, 2019). I urge you to read the article in my references section from the Physicians for Safe Technology website. I quoted the highlights of this article, but it would still be beneficial to read this in full. The FCC maintains that there is not currently enough evidence to revise its safety standards (www.fcc.gov).
Cell Towers and Schools:
Cell antennas and towers being placed on schools and churches is not an uncommon occurrence. Schools and churches especially are approached because they typically have an existing structure that is high off of the ground and an ideal spot to install an antenna(s). The cell phone provider then pays the church or school to lease that space. According to the business manager at St. Linus Church, the cell antennas bring in thousands of dollars annually for the church. There are many instances of antennas being placed on schools and then being removed due to parent protest.
One instance of this occurred in Ripon, California. Parents of students at Weston Elementary were just recently successful in having a cell tower removed from school property after being placed there over ten years ago (Russell, 2019). The removal was prompted by concerned parents after four students and three teachers were diagnosed with cancer, all within a three-year period. The students’ cancers were all rare: two brain tumors, one kidney cancer, and one liver cancer. Ellie Marks, Founder and Executive Director of the California Brain Tumor Association supported the decision to remove the cell tower from school property at Weston Elementary. She said, “Our reading of the situation is that science has established enough proof of harm that regulations should be updated now and appropriate warnings issued. The “jury” actually is back and it has given its guilty verdict (Russell, 2019).”
In my opinion, this sounds very similar to what happened at Mount Greenwood Elementary in Chicago between 2015 and 2017 (Martinez, 2018, October 24). Between those years, four children who lived within a few blocks of each other and went to Mount Greenwood Elementary died of cancer. Mount Greenwood Elementary School had a cellular base station (i.e. cell tower) directly above the school with six sector antennas on it. The antennas looked extremely similar to the ones that are on St. Linus, except that St. Linus has nine antennas, not six. (Three of the nine sector antennas on the church were just taken down and replaced with what appear to be 5G antennas this September 2021. The business manager of the church did not know whether or not the antennas were in fact 5G antennas.) It is my understanding that the antennas at Mount Greenwood Elementary have recently been removed. The University of Chicago is currently investigating cancer rates and causes on the far Southwest side of Chicago partially in response to the pediatric cancer cases in the area (i.e. the COMPASS study).
One last note on cell towers and schools: in 2000, the Los Angeles City Board of Education forbid cell towers from being placed on school property due to the emerging research on the health effects produced by radiofrequency radiation (Russell, 2019).
Based on the research cited above, I strongly believe there is enough scientific evidence available to deem placing cellular base stations on top of schools dangerous and unsafe, and there seems to be a growing population of scientists that would agree with this assertion. Research has shown that radiofrequency radiation from cell towers has a cumulative effect over time, so the longer the duration of the exposure, the greater the risk.
I am extremely concerned and afraid of the consequences of choosing inaction and leaving the cell antennas on the St. Linus Church tower. I don’t want to wait for a handful of students or teachers to development rare, devastating cancers in order for this issue to be taken seriously.
Bioinitiative 2012. [bioinitiative.org]
Cell phone radiofrequency radiation. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. [www.niehs.nih.gov]
Children are more vulnerable to wireless radiation. Parents for Safe Technology. [parentsforsafetechnology.org]
Environmental Health Trust (2018, March 22). Ramazzini study on radiofrequency cell phone radiation: The world’s largest animal study on cell tower radiation confirms cancer link. Environmental Health Trust. [ehtrust.org]
Martinez, N. (2018, October 24). Concerns grow over suspected Mount Greenwood cancer cluster. NBC 5 Chicago. [nbcchicago.com]
RF safety facts. Federal Communications Commission. [www.fcc.gov]
Thomas, C. (n.d.) What is a high EMF reading? EMF Academy. [emfacademy.com]
Wyde, M., Cesta, M., Blystone, C., Elmore, S., Foster, P., Hooth, M., et al. (2016). Report of partial findings from the National Toxicology Program carcinogenesis studies of cell phone radiofrequency radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley SD rats (whole body exposure). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. [www.niehs.nih.gov]