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THE VOICE welcomes your letters to the editor. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Please include your name, address, and phone number. (Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.) Be aware that letters may be edited for brevity or clarity. We look forward to hearing from you.
'Free Wi-Fi' May Cost a Bundle
Thanks for alerting your readers that we're now part of a vast uncontrolled experiment, courtesy of Meraki's "free" wi-fi access ("Tech Firm Brings Free Wireless to Noe Homes," May 2008 Voice). A resident quoted in the article may think it's fantastic, but I think it's an outrage. I resent being a lab rat, and so will anyone familiar with the science on radio-frequency radiation.
Wireless devices such as cell phones, personal data assistants (PDAs), laptops, baby monitors, cellular and broadcast towers, and wi-fi and Wi-MAX networks all emit radio-frequency radiation, a type of electromagnetic field (EMF) associated with serious and even life-threatening health effects.
A new analysis of more than 2,000 research studies links EMF exposure with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's, as well as cancer in adults and children. Written by internationally respected scientists, this independent analysis--The BioInitiative Report, see www.bioinitiative.org--concludes that safety standards in almost every country are inadequate to protect public health. This report drew widespread media attention in Europe and Asia and an endorsement by the European Environmental Agency (http://www.eea.europa.eu/highlights/radiation-risk-from-everyday-devices-assessed), but it has not been mentioned in the U.S. media.
The German government has warned its citizens about potential health risks of wi-fi. The link to the story from the UK's Independent is http://environment.independent.co.uk/lifestyle/article2944417.ece .
San Francisco narrowly escaped becoming a wi-fi city when Earthlink pulled the plug on a collaboration with Google. Local media have been no help in educating the public about the science on health effects of radio-frequency EMF.
It's not surprising that EMF exposure could have health effects. We are bioelectrical beings--our hearts and brains are bioelectrical systems--the systems basic to life itself. You can choose not to use a cell phone--although few of us do--but if Meraki blankets Noe Valley with wi-fi by July, all of us will be exposed 24/7 to radio-frequency radiation.
Meraki is making wi-fi available "free" to its Noe Valley lab rats. This approach lets Meraki avoid liability for future health effects of the free wi-fi. It's time for us to say: Better safe than sorry. There is more than enough evidence to take a precautionary approach to these technologies. Failure to use a precautionary approach could be costly. Think about tobacco, lead, asbestos--corporations touted the benefits and concealed the scientific evidence of harm. Marketing got ahead of science. Consider what the cost would be to the health of Noe Valley residents, especially the long-term health of the many babies and young children who live in this neighborhood.
Many consumers are concerned but largely uninformed about possible risks from increasing EMF exposure levels from multiple sources. Consumers need to know the whole story before exposing themselves or their children to a potential carcinogen or neurotoxicant. We know there's no free lunch, but in the meantime, we deserve a closer look at the price tag.
Cesar Chavez Street
Spats Over Dogs at Noe Courts
Showdowns have been escalating between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the dog owners who use Noe Courts park at 24th and Douglass streets.
Every day for the past month [mid-April through mid-May], a Rec and Park ranger has been stationed outside Noe Courts for an hour or two (with engine running) to keep a vigilant eye out for off-leash dogs. While the park is signed on-leash, the neighborhood has been letting their dogs run around for decades with few incidents. As you know, last year the city spent $300,000 to improve the children's play area and put in a good fence. Ever since, Rec and Park has cracked down on us and a couple other parks.
In late April, several dog owners refused to put their dogs on leash, so the ranger called the SFPD. Unpleasantness ensued, with one of the dog owners being cited.
So not only is a ranger being paid for several hours a week to watch a mostly empty park, but police officers are being diverted to chastise peaceful dog owners. Surely there are more serious issues (drug users in Golden Gate Park, violence elsewhere) for park staff and police to be dealing with than a couple of dogs running happily in a small park.
Spare Those Pajamas
Just read the amusing article, "First Food Ceremony," in the May edition. Please tell me Robin Dutton-Cookston didn't really toss "another" pair of pajamas in the trash because her kid "pooped" on them. Did she perhaps mean she tossed them in the laundry?
Robin Dutton-Cookston replies: Oops, you're right, my writer's brain tossed them in the wrong hamper. Of course, the pajamas were washed, dried, and recycled.