Hundreds of California parents are petitioning for the removal of a cellphone and Wi-Fi tower that’s situated on the campus of an elementary school.
The situation is unfolding in Ripon regarding the tower at Weston Elementary School, where four students have been diagnosed with cancer.
Monica Ferrulli said her son was 10 when he was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, and his treatment was brutal, including 13 rounds of radiation.
“He had to learn to walk and talk and do everything again,” she told KCRA.
Ferrulli found out that another student had been diagnosed with cancer the same year and also discovered that there was a cell tower on campus.
Last week, two more students were diagnosed with cancer, prompting fresh outrage and calls for the removal of the tower.
Some 200 students were absent from school on March 11 and about 200 parents packed a school district board meeting that night to call for the tower’s removal. There, parents said that three teachers have also been diagnosed with cancer in recent years, according to the Modesto Bee.
“We don’t know if it caused the cancer, but we don’t know if it’s not the cause,” Ferrulli told KCRA.
The school board has so far refused to take further action, saying: “There is no legal contractual basis on which the district can demand the cellphone company to remove the tower.”
The Ripon Unified School District said it’s talking with a telecommunications company about moving a cellular phone tower from Weston Elementary School because parents suspect it causes cancer. https://t.co/pDEVAZpGKc
— The Sacramento Bee (@sacbee_news) March 12, 2019
According to the American Cancer Society, cell towers communicate with other towers mainly through radiofrequency waves, “a form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum between FM radio waves and microwaves.”
“Like FM radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and heat, they are forms of non-ionizing radiation. This means they do not directly damage the DNA inside cells, which is how stronger (ionizing) types of radiation such as x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet (UV) light are thought to be able to cause cancer,” it added.
Still, the group noted there have been very few studies focusing on cell towers and cancer risk.
Some of the parents hired Eric Windheim, an electromagnetic radiation specialist, who said that the radiation exposure on campus was higher than the exposure found by another specialist who said it was within a safe range.
“I wouldn’t send my kids there at all, it absolutely is dangerous,” Windheim told CBS Sacramento. “Children are still developing and their cells are still being divided. It’s the worst possible time in their life to be exposed.”
“Instead of only going 300 yards like regular Wi-Fi, Y-Max can go 30 miles,” he added, noting the tower is for both cellular signals and superpowered Wi-Fi.
— kcranews (@kcranews) March 14, 2019
Other parents have also spoken out to local media.
“It just seems like coincidence is no longer a reason for all this illness,” Joe Prime, whose son Kyle was the first diagnosed, told CBS.
“Kids shouldn’t be guinea pigs and we shouldn’t be taking chances with the children’s lives,” Prime said. “It’s a real disappointment that it’s taking moms of sick children and dads of sick children to come out and say something needs to be done.”
Richard Rex is the father of an 11-year-old student at the school who was recently diagnosed with a tumor wrapped around his liver. He said his son’s classroom is near the tower.
The boy had to have a portal installed so he could undergo treatment, he told the Bee.
“They said they can shrink it and cut it out. They’re also talking liver transplant. It is very scary,” Rex said.
The father said he wants the tower to be moved.
“It is a terrible thing,” he said. “How many children with cancer will it take?”