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Seattle resident concerned about cell towers on SHA apartment buildings

The Seattle Housing Authority is getting paid to put cell towers on top of apartment buildings.  Now, some residents are concerned about their health.

The current federal standards for radiation exposure said every one of these buildings is safe for residents.  But there is growing evidence and studies that say the level of radiation in these buildings is a real threat to residents.

Susan Minowa’s two bedroom apartment in the Seattle Housing Authority’s Olmsted Manor radiates serenity.

“I was so lucky because I got a corner apartment and I have trees right out my window,” Minowa said.

Two floors above Minowa’s apartment are cellphone towers that rain radiation down through the building.

Minowa said she feels unsafe in her apartment because of the radiation from the cellphone tower.

Of the Seattle Housing Authority’s 65 buildings, 22 of the apartment buildings have leases for cellphone towers generating one million dollars a year in revenue.

“A for-profit company is paying the government rent to radiate its population, its citizens… it’s just like they’re being completely ignorant and irresponsible,” building biologist Sonia Hoglander said.

Hoglander was hired by Susan to check for radiation levels after the towers were built.  Hoglander said the levels of high frequency radiation found in Susan’s bedroom were alarming.

“That’s the highest I’ve ever seen in a sleeping area in my entire career as a building biologist,” Hoglander said.

High Frequency Radiation is measured in microwatts per meter squared.  According to building biology standards, measurements of more than 1,000 -coming from the cell towers, are of an extreme concern to resident’s health.  The levels in Susan’s room were 16,000 microwatts per meter squared.

“But I think they should at this point just remove them,” Hoglander said.  “And recognize that they should not be on any place where people are living.”

Jesse Jones presented the findings to Seattle Housing Authority and they declined an on-camera interview.  But did provide a statement saying, in part:

“Based on accepted science, the FCC, the International Association of Electrical Engineers and the American National Standards Institute have harmonized U.S. safety levels for radiofrequency (RF) waves at no more than 10 million micro watts per meter squared.”

And about Susan and the other residents’ claims, the agency said:

“Their issue is they don’t believe the prevailing science.”

The SHA can tell that to its residents, but try saying it to firefighters in California.

Dr. Gunnar Heuser conducted a brain study on a  firefighters who worked near cell towers for five years.

“The symptoms included problems with memory, problems with intermittent confusion problems with weakness,” Heuser said.

In a report to the FCC, the organizer of that study found that firefighters also reported impairment with cognitive function, reaction time and impulse control.

“We found abnormal brain function in all of the fire fighters we examined,” Heuser explained.

The California firefighters’ symptoms seem to mirror those of Susan Minowa’s at Olmsted Manor.

“I have trouble sleeping,” Minowa explained.  “Really, a lot of trouble sleeping.  I felt like I was aging very quickly.”

The level of high frequency radiation in Minowa’s apartment was 16,000 microwatts per meter squared.

What was found in the firefighter’s station?  10,000-20,000 microwatts per meter squared.

“This is not good…This is not good,” Minowa said.  “Because I’m living here, I cannot get away from it.”

Currently, more than 1900 SHA apartments are underneath cell towers.  And the wait times at some buildings are up to five years long.  All to live like Susan, by a window, near a tree and under a cell tower.

“Ask yourselves if you would like your mother to be living here?  If you would like your children to be living here?  And if you would yourself want to live here? And that seems to be the crux,” Minowa said.

The SHA said it will continue to monitor developments in the global scientific community regarding safety of cell towers.

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