Parents who believe a cell phone tower near an elementary school is linked to an outbreak of cancers are battling to have the tower moved.
Four students who attend the school have been diagnosed with cancers in recent years, and parents say that’s no coincidence.
After school officials at Weston Elementary School in Ripon, California, refused to remove a cell phone tower near the school and said their studies showed there was no danger, parents hired an outside expert to study the situation, KOVR reported.
Eric Windheim, an electromagnetic radiation specialist, said that radiation exposure from the tower was far higher than what the school’s research stated it was, KCRA reported.
“I wouldn’t send my kids there at all, it absolutely is dangerous,” Windheim said. “Children are still developing and their cells are still being divided. It’s the worst possible time in their life to be exposed.”
“It is a terrible thing,” parent Richard Rex said, according to the Modesto Bee. “How many children with cancer will it take?”
More than 200 parents jammed a Ripon Unified School District board meeting Monday to demand the tower be moved.
“Just the simple fact that (the cell tower is) a carcinogen should be enough for the district to not want it on campus,” said parent Monica Ferrulli, whose son, who was 10 at the time, was treated for brain cancer in 2010.
“We had a doctor tell us that it’s 100 percent environmental, the kind of tumor that he has,” she said.
“He had 14 hours of surgery and 13 rounds of radiation,” Ferrulli said. “He had to learn to walk and talk and do everything again.”
Ferrulli said there is no need to debate the extent of risk students face; that they face any should be enough to get rid of the tower.
On Monday night, school board president board president Kit Oase said the board can’t act because there is no opt-out clause in the 25-year lease the district has with Sprint. He said Sprint would have to agree to move the tower.
“When it comes to the deployment of network infrastructure, we always strive to achieve a win-win process with local municipalities and residents,” said Sprint spokeswoman Adrienne Norton. “We have been working with the community in Ripon to address their concerns.”
Parent Joe Prime, whose son, Kyle, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2016, said the evidence is clear that there is a danger.
“It just seems like coincidence is no longer a reason for all this illness,” Prime said.
“Kids shouldn’t be guinea pigs, and we shouldn’t be taking chances with the children’s lives.”
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