Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I be concerned?
Cell towers have adverse effects on human health and wildlife. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has categorized microwave radiation emitted by cell towers in the same category as aflatoxin, DDT, marine diesel fuel, BHA, gasoline, hydrazine, lead, naphthalene, vinyl acetate and welding fumes, as a possible carcinogen (click here for the WHO classification system). The US Department of the Interior has expressed concern over the impact of cell tower radiation on migratory birds including eagles. Other evidence points to adverse impacts on other life forms such mice, tadpoles and bees. This is particularly important for the Amazon Creek corridor, recognized as a protected natural environment with threatened and sensitive species. The proposal to build a cell tower in the heart of the Amazon Creek corridor poses a serious threat to the character of this prized area as well as the humans and other life forms living within it. Decreased property values are also a concern.
Q: Why do the telecom industry, the FCC, the American Cancer Society and other organizations say that cell tower microwave radiation is safe?
The FCC regulations were written by the telecom industry to promote its expansion and commercial success. The head of the FCC is a former telecom executive and lobbyist. The regulations were designed to override local autonomy of communities and prohibit any consideration of environmental or health effects of microwave radiation from cell towers. The Precautionary Principle, which calls for proof of safety, was simply ignored. As we know historically from the tobacco and asbestos industries, corporate cultures go to great lengths to deny and minimize evidence of harm from their products–including the amoral practice of disinformation strategies. In the case of the FCC and telecom industry this takes the form of denying the science on the non-thermal effects of radiation emitted by cell towers, citing the conclusions of so-called “expert panels” composed of industry-funded scientists with conflicts of interest, and basing regulations on the false premise that radio frequency radiation causes only thermal effects (heat effects on your body standing next to a transmitter). Despite overwhelming evidence–that continues to mount–in 2015 there are still NO safety standards in the US recognizing non-thermal effects. Still, the FCC is technically a government agency, and people want to believe their government protects their best interests. Thus, the public as well as organizations (like the American Cancer Society) are inclined to trust the telecom industry’s messaging on safety and not question it since, after all, it follows the federal regulations (circular reasoning). This is a very unfortunate development for present and future public health. It is likely to be rectified only after substantial suffering and litigation, as was the case with tobacco and asbestos. As stated by Joel Moskowitz of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, “If we continue to allow powerful corporations to manufacture doubt by co-opting journalists, scientists, and policy makers, we will all suffer the consequences of this global experiment.” 
Q: What research has been done and what does it say?
The majority of studies on the question of whether microwave radiation of the type emitted by cell towers has biological effects do find effects. These include DNA damage (a precursor to cancer and other diseases) and other indicators of concern associated with proximity to a cell tower. The evidence directly contradicts the blanket assertions by the FCC and telecom industry that there is “no evidence” of such effects. See The Science for a summary of research and links to important articles and resources. 
Q: Have cities been successful in blocking cell tower installations at inappropriate locations?
Yes and the momentum is building. Glendale CA passed an ordinance regulating cell towers that is widely regarded as a model for other cities. Bend OR passed similar legislation. Hampstead NY and other cities across the US and the world are pushing back with similar efforts (see Elsewhere).  Change is hopefully coming soon to Eugene too. Some City officials don’t want to be labeled as “anti-business” and are afraid to offend the telecom industry’s ambitions. But, there are some bright lights on the City Council, and the number will grow as more citizens make their concerns heard. The Eugene code needs to be revised to protect neighborhoods.
Q: Will I be able to use my cell phone?
Yes! We are not anti-cell phone or anti-technology. We advocate responsible and safe use of wireless technology and cell phones, and appropriate tower placement away from sensitive environmental areas and community areas like schools, nursing homes, places of worship and residential areas. Use your phone responsibly — for example, use your speakerphone and hold the phone away from your body, keep it in airplane mode when not needed (especially at night), and do not carry it close to your body, especially in your bra.
Q: What if I want a stronger signal where I live?
A “booster” like AT&T’s MicroCell is the solution for homes in pockets of sub-optimal coverage. This not only gives you great coverage in your home, it offers big advantages over a cell tower: you can take it with you if you move, and turn it off when not needed, like at night, saving your family from unnecessary radiation exposure while sleeping. Tip: For a healthy radiation-free environment at night, put your WiFi router and booster on the same power strip, then switch it off at bedtime and on in the morning. You’ll sleep better without the constant pulsing of microwave radiation through your neurological system. To seal the deal, put your phone in airplane mode at night.

Q: What is the safety difference between a cell tower and a cell phone?
Researchers are concerned about radiation from both. A cell phone is not safe to hold against your head especially for children. Many countries ban or prohibit cell phone use for kids (India, Israel, Russia, Japan, UK and France). Towers emit the same kind of radiation as cell phones (as does wi-fi). President Obama’s cancer panel recently gave strong cautions and recommendations against cell and wireless radiation. This caution extends to cell phones, cell towers and wi-fi.

Q: Where should AT&T go if we push back on their proposal?
Away from residential areas, sensitive environmental areas, and sensitive community areas like schools (Parker Elementary School is near the proposed site), nursing homes, and daycare centers (two of which are across the creek from the proposed site). Cell towers should be placed in industrial areas away from residential and community areas, and on the periphery around the outskirts of residential areas. Setbacks of 1,200-1,500 feet are now required in some jurisdictions. Proximity to the tower is the key determinant of adverse effects — the further away, the safer.

Q: Why isn’t the City of Eugene doing anything about it?
The City of Eugene has lenient policies regarding placement of cell towers, which is what makes it possible to even consider a tower in a residential zone a few feet from people’s bedrooms. Some City officials claim their “hands are tied” by the 20th century regulations that attempt to intimidate local governments from regulating tower siting. Bizarre as it sounds, the FCC law even says cities cannot voice concern over health risks! This law, with its twisted logic, is no longer scientifically defensible and will change eventually. In the meantime many communities around the country (e.g., Glendale CA, Hampstead NY, Bend, OR) are pushing back, standing up for their citizens, and creating their own strong local ordinances and policies. While cities cannot regulate the functioning of telecommunications installations, they CAN regulate their location through zoning and land use laws. The City CAN and SHOULD do something about this now, and does not have to wait for the FCC law to be updated with modern scientific understanding.

Q: What can I do to help?
Visit our Take action page. Be informed. Follow the links to more information on this site. Attend our community forums. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Contact us to offer what help you can in this effort, and get email announcements. Check our Updates page often. Make a tax-deductible donation to support the legal fund for defending the Amazon Creek neighborhood and natural environment.

Q: Is there a place I can learn more?
See these sites:


Resources for immediate release:

View the AT&T/Crossfire Tower application