The following year, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act set the standards for emissions and included Section 704 (a), which made it illegal for any community to consider health or environment in regulating cell towers. Los Angeles Unified School District is demanding that section of the law be revised.
“Thanks to Clinton and the Telecommunications Act, you are not allowed to discuss the health risks, only the devaluation of real estate,” said Dr. Dan Harper in a recent interview, speaking about Section 704 (a). Harper, whose medical practice is based in Solana Beach, has appeared before several local city councils to speak against proposed cell towers. He has amassed hundreds of studies on the harmful effects of radio frequency exposure. According to testing he has done with his own meter, “radiation exposure levels in San Diego have increased over 2 million times since l990.” Harper says San Diego is second only to Washington, D.C., in radiation levels.
The Sweetwater schools that have cell phone towers are Castle Park High (4), Chula Vista High (3), Eastlake High (2), Hilltop High (2), Mar Vista High (1), Montgomery High (3), Olympian High (1), Otay Ranch High (5), Palomar High (1), Rancho Del Rey Middle School (2), San Ysidro High (4), Southwest High (2), National City Middle (1), as well as Imperial Beach Adult (1).
Though the risk of adverse health effects from exposure to cell phone towers on campuses is uncertain, the cash they generate each year for the district’s 42,000 students can be calculated: about $12 per student.