Santa Monica City Council will hear an appeal of a February 2004 Planning Board decision to allow AT&T [now Cingular Wireless] to build a cell phone tower on the roof of a Public Storage building at 3010 Wilshire Boulevard, over the objections of neighborhood residents who alleged it might be hazardous to their health.
According to Matt Baird, who lives on 3009 Arizona Avenue, which is less than a block from the proposed tower, studies show that “residents who live next to microwave cell phone towers” will be subjected to “substantial health risks such as cancer, brain tumors, loss of memory, and high rates of suicide due to loss of serotonin.”
When Baird asked the City where other cell phone towers were located, he was told that no database is kept, which, he said, suggests that no one is monitoring the microwave radiation spectrum in the city.
“How do we know,” he said, “if the accumulative radiation within Santa Monica is safe if no one knows where the antennas are?”
Jonathan Lait, Acting Principal Planner with the City confirmed that the City keeps no data base but said,“It is possible to obtain the information … with considerable effort from files that contain information about who’s applied and what’s been built.”
He went on to say that the “threshold of permitted radiation is set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Therefore, the City cannot make a determination regarding an application based on health issues,” and, in the City’s view, the application is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).Baird also contends that due to the health effects “studies prove that properties adjacent to microwave cell-phone towers can decrease up to 20%.” Lait responded that “No economic report that substantiates this claim exists to date.”