2007-03-29 / News

Neighbors concerned about radiation from antennas

By Dotti Farrington

Three neighbors of the town water towers on Howland Avenue asked the Town Council Monday for help with what they said are potential radiation dangers associated with antennas being installed on the new tower near their homes.

Reenie Rubino, Eileen Tiexiera and Gaeli Greene, all of Howland Avenue, asked for council help.

Councilors directed Town Administrator Bruce Keiser to ask Building Official Fred Brown to look into the situation. Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero said he would check the status of contracts the town has with the antenna installers.

Rubino asked for an analysis by a radiation expert to determine the total amount of radiation involved with the antennas, as calculated in combination with the impact of reflection factors of the dual metal towers and with other factors such as the metal fencing to be installed.

She suggested that the individual radiation factors of each antenna may meet Federal Communication Commission (FCC) standards that apply, but the combined radiation from other antennas and with metal objects needs to be determined. "The only way to know" if any unsafe amount exists "is to measure," she said.

Rubino said there may be no law about the interaction of each antenna with others, or with metal in the environment, but science suggests there are interrelationships. She said measurements could assure residents that they are safe, or could alert them if some danger exists. Rubino asked for an immediate halt to the antenna installations, pending a study. Keiser said the antennas are being installed via permits already issued and it may be too late to block them. Rubino said, "It would be prudent for us to know if there is any danger." Ruggiero said he would determine what can be done about the permits and contracts if the radiation factors were found to be excessive.

Tiexiera and Greene each reported their problems with lead paint on the original tank tower, and the fact that each of their sons tested high for lead originally but had low or no lead levels now. They said they are concerned now about possible radiation factors. Greene said, "And I don't want to hear that contracts lock us in place." Tiexiera stressed that, "Excessive or reflected radiations don't just affect neighbors or stay in the neighborhood. They bounce all over town."

Tiexiera also reported on newly installed signs at the towers warning of possible radiation dangers. She said no such signs were placed before the new tower was installed this past year. She said the old tower also had no fencing and children played in the immediate vicinity all the time without benefit of notices about possible dangers.

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