Here is a letter from Scarsdale resident and concerned parent Marjorie Rosenblatt on the proposal to install distributed antenna systems in Scarsdale neighborhoods: I consider Scarsdale an educated and forward-thinking town, and as such, I cannot understand how we, as a community, are not vehemently opposing the plan to allow placement of distributed antenna systems (DAS) in our neighborhoods. Perhaps the community does not realize that NextG has requested that the Village amend the Village Code to permit the operation of DAS technology in the Village right-of-way. This involves distributed antenna systems in 15 neighborhood locations around Scarsdale; I feel strongly that Scarsdale should resist this plan; our first step should be to attend the Planning Board work session on the proposed zoning code amendment on May 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm in the third floor meeting Room in Village Hall.
There is clearly conflicting information available to support whatever perspective one chooses with regard to the safety of exposure to non-ionizing radiation, as is transmitted by a DAS. Suggesting that there is no definitive proof of increased malignancy as a result of RF transmitter exposure is dramatically different from stating that it is definitely not harmful. I personally would prefer to err on the side of caution; history is littered with mistaken assumptions resulting in unfortunate medical outcomes– thalidomide, estrogen replacement therapy, cigarettes, to name a few. The cost of increased incidence of malignancy in our children is too great when weighed against better cell phone reception and financial reward for NextG. All members of the Scarsdale community with whom I have spoken to date share this view.
An FCC website reports:
"At a given cell site, the total RF power that could be radiated by the antennas depends on the number of radio channels (transmitters) installed, the power of each transmitter, and the type of antenna. While it is theoretically possible for cell sites to radiate at very high power levels, the maximum power radiated in any direction USUALLY does not exceed 50 watts."
Moreover, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a component of the World Health Organization, has recently classified radiofrequency fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
Additionally, the proposed concept that we are already exposed to non-ionizing radiation so a bit more does not significantly matter, is ignorant and shortsighted. Radiation exposure, ionizing or non, should be limited to that which is necessary. BOTH have resultant tissue changes (non-ionizing radiation has clearly been documented to increase temperature in the adjacent tissues, and to increase glucose metabolism in the brain).
I believe that our local government should actively try to prevent something that most of prefer not occur. Other communities are vigorously opposing placement of these transmitters in neighborhoods (Greenburgh, for example) and waging battles in court. We may not be able to afford to be complacent – it would be tragic were we, years from now, to discover that these devices are in fact harmful, when the damage has already been done.
I pose the following questions:
1. I discourage my children from using their cell phones because of potential risk of increased malignancy with RF exposure, as suggested by many experts, both medical and otherwise. Why would we not try to prevent additional exposure? Is it not bad enough that one of these transmitters is currently placed directly across the road from Quaker Ridge School? Do we continuous exposure for our children at home as well?
2. How much output will there be from the DAS in question as compared to the existing cell towers, which are purposefully placed at locations removed from neighborhoods?
3. Need we consider the possible decreased value of houses in close proximity to a DAS. A new multimillion-dollar home is currently being built at 11 Wynmor Road – will, for example, putting the planned DAS on the telephone pole directly outside this home, reduce its market value or deter potential purchasers? I know that it would be a deterrent for me.
5. Do we really NEED a distributed antenna system? How will a DAS improve our lives? Are we exchanging minimally improved cell reception under select carriers for potential health hazards?
6. Scientists are not always immediately correct; it often takes many, many years for health risks to be uncovered. Fluoroscopy was at one time used to determine if shoes fit correctly in shoe stores before we knew that it definitively increased malignancy, estrogen used to be deemed healthy for postmenopausal women before we proved with certainty that it increased one's risk of breast cancer, and smoking was not considered problematic until its clear link to lung cancer became evident - must we allow more malignancies before we find ourselves wrong again? As a radiologist, I view myself as a radiation "gatekeeper," with my responsibilities including avoiding unnecessary exposure for my patients; don’t our representatives have a similar responsibility to attempt to protect their "constituents"?
7. Is there a great financial benefit to someone in a position of power? Are we, the town of Scarsdale, charging a franchise fee to NextG, as we do to Cable Vision? .
We need to insist that these questions be answered for us and not allow others to dictate policy to us that may have dire future consequences. Please attend the Planning Board meeting May 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm in the Third Floor meeting Room in Village Hall to learn more about this issue, and to have your view heard.