Naturopath Questions Presence of Cell Tower Near NCNM
Portland naturopath Ariel Policano has written and self-published a book about electomagnetic frequency radiation – what she and others sometimes call “dirty electricity” – warning of the dangers of cell phones, cell towers, microwaves and other forms of dirty electricity, which she says can cause neurochemical imbalances and is linked to cancers.
Recently, she purchased a German instrument called an acoustometer and started doing readings of the levels of EMF radiation in clients' homes and in other areas in the community, including those close to cell towers – eventually measuring the radiation levels at her alma mater, the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, whose campus is located directly across from a cell phone tower.
Policano has posted a video to YouTube of her carrying the acoustometer through the school's parking lot and into the building, where she got a reading of 50,000 microwatts per meter squared.
“These readings are absolutely off the chart and incredible in a school,” Policano said, which is doubly concerning given that patients are also seen in NCNM's teaching clinics.
“I am deeply concerned about these students. They are receiving levels of radiation that are frightening,” she told The Lund Report. “They have been informed that the tower is 'low emissions' by the school administration. This is a lie or a gross exaggeration of the truth. It is not a stretch to say that the very kind souls who are at this school to help others heal may have their own health seriously negatively impacted. However, no one is telling them anything about the potential dangers.”
According to Marilynn Considine, communications director for NCNM, the tower was in place since long before the school purchased the building in 2007, and the terms of sale stipulated that NCNM would own the land but was legally required to continue to lease the cell tower to AT&T and Verizon, per its agreement with the building's previous owner. The school doesn't own the tower or the residual equipment, only the land it resides on, she said.
Policano notes that when it comes to the placement of cell towers, citizens and institutions don't necessarily have a lot of say – since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 prohibits zoning laws that regulate where cell towers can be built (though neighborhood campaigns to keep such towers out have been somewhat successful). And in the video she urges viewers to “take back their power” for healthier communities.
But officials from the school also say the science regarding the health effects is still mixed. Policano points to the Bionitiative Report, which says existing public health standards are inadequate to address the impacts of electromagnetic radiation.
MaryKGeyer, a licensed naturopath and associate dean of the School of Naturopathic Medicine, said while the National Toxicology Program, the US Environmental Protectional Protection Agency and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have all classified cell towers as not having carcinogenic potential at this time. In 2011, the President's Panel on Cancer report called for more research on the health effects of cell towers.
“As naturopaths, I have to say, we tend to be very suspicious, or just very thoughtful about paying attention to things like this,” Geyer said. “We continue to watch it, and the data has been continuing to come in over the last year, especially in regards to cell phones and cancer. So that's something that we're very thoughtful and cognizant of.”
Still, the specific type of radiation cell towers emit is different from the radiation that's been shown to cause harm – such as ultraviolet rays, X-rays and microwave radiation that is emitted by cell phones themselves have a different shape, which has been shown to cause more damage.
“These waves are non-ionizing radiation, which means they can't directly damage DNA – which is a concern that's been specified in a lot of articles I've seen, and books I've seen, but that's not actually the way it works with non-ionizing radiation,” Geyer said. “We also know that RF waves have long wavelengths, which makes it highly unlikely that they can concentrate enough to disturb individual cells.”
“We're exposed to a lot of things and they do add up,” Geyer added. “We love our cell phones as a society and we're going to continue to, so how do we address things that we can address and that's the conversation we really want to push and be a part of as a naturopathic institution. You know, how do we really prevent disease in the long run but realizing that some things we won't be able to control.”
For her part, Policano plans to continue to educate the public – including NCNM students and patients – about the consequences of cell phone radiation.
“They can't grasp, it's odorless, it's colorless, it's not on the 11 o'clock news, people don't hear about it,” Policano said.
Christen can be reached at [email protected].