Microwave - and other forms of electromagnetic - radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process the Russians described in the 70's as Microwave Sickness.
Parents, concerned about a proposed AT&T cell phone tower at St. Perpetua's Catholic Church in Lafayette got a chance to ask the tough questions Tuesday night.
AT&T is proposing building the new tower to improve service in the Lafayette area. "It's not unusual, it's not atypical," said Alexandra Krasov from AT&T. "It's just another site that we're proposing to cover the gap to upgrade our service and make sure our customers have the best possible wireless experience."
Some parents of children who attend St. Perpetua School are worried about radiation levels the proposed tower would emit.
"I think our main concern is just the health and safety risks to the kids," said Chandra Robak, whose son Andrew attends the first grade at St. Perpetua's.
AT&T set up a number of booths to address concerns, ranging from coverage, to the appearance of the proposed tower. By far the most popular booth was the one addressing RF, radio frequencies.
Parents asked pointed questions about radiation levels, and what research has been done on long term risks associated with living, working or playing near a cell phone tower.
Engineer William Hammett, a consulting engineer from Hammett & Edison says the towers put out less radiation than is determined to be a danger by the FCC.
"The quote is: there's no measurable risk at exposure levels like this, excuse me at exposure levels of the standard" said Hammett. "This one's 50 times below the standard."
But some parents said they left with just as many questions as when they arrived.
"I don't think that really anything was answered here tonight," said Robak. "They say they're going to install something where the people don't want it installed."
The issue now goes to Lafayette's planning commission for a final review on February 3rd. A final decision on the proposed tower is expected at that meeting, but interested parties can appeal to the city council.