Will cell phone towers hurt
Published: August 23, 2013
A PAIR of cell phone antennas
disguised as hotel chimneys got the go-ahead from the Pacific
Grove City Council Wednesday after a group of activists argued
that radio signals from the devices could harm the city’s
The council rejected a request by Nina Beety to continue a
public hearing to consider an appeal of the city planning
commission’s July 18 approval of the antennas. Beety is among
more than 10 people — many of whom said they don’t live in P.G.
— who spoke out Wednesday night against AT&T’s plan to
install the antennas.
“The butterflies will be long gone if we don’t do something
about this,” according to a change.org petition organized by
Augustina Ursino that had received about 400 signatures by
Numerous people at the council meeting also spoke in favor of the antennas, which some said are necessary for emergency phone calls.
AT&T wants to place the antennas inside faux chimney
enclosures at The Wilkies Inn at 1038 Lighthouse Ave. While the
27-foot antennas are expected to greatly improve cellular phone
signal in that neighborhood, opponents believe they will emit
radio signals that are harmful to adults, children and even the
migrating monarch butterflies.
“Microwave radiation from cell towers and wireless devices
harms all life by damaging DNA, the immune system, reproduction
and fertility, cells and cellular membranes, and causing cancer
and tumors,” according to an anonymous flyer distributed in P.G.
The council, however, voted 5-1 in favor of AT&T’s
proposal. Councilman Dan Miller dissented and Ken Cuneo recused
himself because he said he owns AT&T stock.
Beety and Ursino contend AT&T provided misinformation about
the antennas and omitted information about potential harm to the
city’s monarchs, habitat and the insects’ sanctuary off of
“We know that radiation from cell phone antennas disrupts the
butterflies’ immune system, behavior, development and senses,”
according to a “Save P.G. Butterflies” Facebook page created to
spread the word about the antennas.
The activists contend an environmental impact report should
have been prepared. However, the initial study for the project
found that the amount of radio frequency electromagnetic fields
produced by the antennas would comply with standards for
limiting public exposure to RF energy “and would not cause a
significant impact on humans and the environment.”
The study also found that the only potentially significant
impacts to humans would occur during construction and would
involve “short-term increases in ambient noise levels.”
The chimney antennas will replace a mobile cell antenna that
AT&T set up at the city’s cemetery.