Lessons from Malakoff and my Backyard

Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Dave's Blog | 0 comments

On July 21st, the Nevada County Planning Commission will consider a request by a Verizon-affiliate to install eight antennas on top of the Friar Tuck Building. Peer reviewed studies point out harmful health effects for those living near such antennas. However, federal law prevents this as a consideration. Local history may provide perspective.

In 1853 hydraulic miners dissolved mountains to harvest the gold in an area now known as Malakoff Diggins. The silt traveled downstream. Farmers in the valley began to complain about the tailings that flooded their land. In the late 1860’s, Marysville and Yuba City were buried under 25 feet of mud and rock. Sacramento flooded repeatedly. The San Francisco bay was filling up one foot a year. In September 1882, a Marysville farmer named Woodruff filed one of the first environmental lawsuits, Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Citizens. On January 7, 1884 Judge Lorenzo Sawyer declared that since sending debris downstream was illegal, therefore, hydraulic mining was illegal. Had the gold mining industry successfully lobbied the federal government to authorize such debris, nearby mountains might have become the Sierra Flatlands.

Like the mountains of the Malakoff diggings, the air is a “gold mine” for the telecommunications industry. Companies have bid for and obtained the rights to use different electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) to facilitate the ongoing telecommunications revolution. Researchers have identified known health risks.

The industry funded a $28-million, seven-year study on the health effects of EMF. Dr. George Carlo was in charge of this effort. His team identified multiple health concerns. His work and the work of others have been discredited by the industry. Regardless of the astroturfers, the science is not uncertain.

After 15 years researching and writing three books I have come to the unhappy conclusion that our government represents corporations more than “we the people.” For example, even though cancer clusters and other health risks have been identified around such towers, the 1996 Telecommunications Act written by the telecommunications lobby specifically forbids considering health risks in the placement of cell phone towers.

A few months ago, I felled a huge tree in my backyard and began to burn the stump. In two days I had two visitors, one from Lake Wildwood and one from Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District. A neighbor had twice complained about the smoke. Both employees agreed that the smoke was minimal and reaffirmed for me that it was a burn day. The smoke was minimal and temporary.

While one neighbor complained about a few days of smoke, nine of my neighbors were transmitting debris from Wi-Fi systems into my property, not to mention the number transmitting cell phones, DECT phones and smart meters 24-7. Like the silt that traveled downstream, the electromagnetic waves that carried their phone calls, their movies, their PG&E electric bills coursed through my body. Studies proving that these same waves alter DNA in animals and humans have been repeatedly documented in the scientific literature. Imagine living near an antenna where this debris is concentrated. Time for the precautionary principle?

Someday in the distant future, the proverbial chickens will come home to roost. Symptoms associated with electrical hypersensitivity such as rashes, headache and insomnia will become endemic. EMF refugees will roam the country looking for safe places to live. Impacts on our eco system will be as self-evident as the role of smoking in cancer is now. When this occurs, Nevada City and other cities will find ways to reduce electro smog while maintaining connectivity. One such solution is Li-Fi in which light waves carry the signals.

What are a few more antennas in a community already saturated by EMF? The gold miners might have expressed the same attitude when deciding to wash another mountain into the sea. Future citizens will be as baffled about how we think of cell phone antennas today, as we are baffled about how they thought of hydraulic mining in the late 1800’s.

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