For the second time in three years, wireless phone company T-Mobile is seeking permission to construct a network tower in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. And for the second time they are facing outspoken resistance from townspeople, who crowded a township meeting to voice their opposition.
T-Mobile’srequest for permission to build a cell tower in a small grove of trees on the grounds of the township’s Willow Grove Swim Club prompted more than 80 residents to attend the standing-room-only township meeting on June 30 in a municipal courtroom. Chief among their stated concerns were the amount of radiation that the tower might produce and the impact the tower might have on the environment and property values.
“We’ve evaluated potential locations throughout Scotch Plains where residents demand enhanced wireless coverage,” said T-Mobile spokeswoman Jane Builder. “We believe that our application for the Willow Grove Swim Club strikes the optimal balance between the needs of local wireless users and the interests of families, many of whom rely on cell phones today to stay connected to friends, family, and emergency services.”
Safer Than Hugging Children
According to a July 4, New Jersey Star Ledger article by reporter Jeremy Walsh, the guest speaker was radio frequency exposure expert Dan Collins. Collins told attendees the proposed 117-foot tower would emit radiation less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the levels the FCC deems the maximum safe level for humans.
Collins said the amount of radiation from the tower represents less than 50 percent of the radiation produced naturally from the human body and “about 50 times less than the ambient radiation levels inside the average home…. If you’re worried about the number I calculated here, you shouldn’t go home and hug your children,” Walsh reported Collins as telling the gathering.
“T-Mobile’s use of radio frequency is the same type of energy used for baby monitors, radio and television broadcasting, and cordless telephones at home,” said Builder. “The FCC provides strong regulation of the wireless industry by setting conservative, science-based guidelines to protect public health. T-Mobile sites operate well within the federal safety standards established and enforced by the Federal Communications Commission.”
Real Safety Needs
Builder emphasized additional wireless coverage promotes more safety than misplaced concerns over the cell tower: “Nowadays, 50 percent of children ages six to18 say they’ve used their cell phones in an emergency. It’s no surprise, really. Half of all 911 calls are made from a wireless phone. Of course, families also rely on cell phones every day to send emails, photos, and text messages when they’re at home and on the go. It takes a robust network to successfully make all of those wireless connections.
“We know the importance of keeping families connected,” Builder continued. “Nearly 90 percent of all Americans use cell phones. And with that greater mobility comes peace of mind.”
Bruce Edward Walker ([email protected]) is managing editor of Infotech & Telecom News.
“T-Mobile tries again to build cell tower at Scotch Plains swim club,” New Jersey Star Ledger: http://www.nj.com/news/local/index.ssf/2010/07/t-mobile_trying_again_to_build.html.