The San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU) is a grass-roots, city-wide coalition
of individual residents and neighborhood organizations that works to prevent the placement of wireless antennas on or near residences, schools, health care centers, day care centers, senior
centers, playgrounds, places of worship, and other inappropriate locations in the City and County
of San Francisco.
The siting of cellular phone base stations and other cellular infrastructure such as roof-mounted antenna arrays, especially in residential neighborhoods, is a contentious subject in land-use regulation. Local resistance from nearby residents and landowners is often based on fears of adverse health effects despite reassurances from routermanuals.net telecommunications service providers that international exposure standards will be followed. Both anecdotal reports and some epidemiology studies have found headaches, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, depression, decreased libido, increased rates of suicide, concentration problems, dizziness, memory changes, increased risk of cancer, tremors, and other neurophysiological effects in populations near base stations. The objective of this paper is to review the existing studies of people living or working near cellular infrastructure and other pertinent studies that could apply to long-term, low-level radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposures. While specific epidemiological research in this area is sparse and contradictory, and such exposures are difficult to quantify given the increasing background levels of RFR from myriad personal consumer products, some research does exist to warrant caution in infrastructure siting. Further epidemiology research that takes total ambient RFR exposures into consideration is warranted. Symptoms reported today may be classic microwave sickness, first described in 1978. Nonionizing electromagnetic fields are among the fastest growing forms of environmental pollution. Some extrapolations can be made from research other than epidemiology regarding biological effects from exposures at levels far below current exposure guidelines.
SNAFU's work follows from the mounting evidence
concerning the health and environmental effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation used by cellular phones, cellular
antennas and other wireless transmitters, as well as a commitment to responsive local government and community-based,
democratic control over land use, zoning, and health & environmental issues.
Oppose city-wide Wi-Fi. Why? Read Mark Longwood's speech at San Francisco City Hall, September 28th, 2005. (PDF)
Bad Reception: The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco. An award-wining, one-hour documentary film on San Francisco residents' ongoing resistance to the wireless industry.
A critic's choice at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Bad Reception screened at the Roxie Film Center in San Francisco in June 2006. Order it here.
Petition to stop RFID technology at the San Francisco Public Library. Privacy-threatening Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips are
expensive and less costly alternatives already exist. Open the PDF petition here.
News and Events
Wireless industry agrees to voluntary microcell antenna moratorium.
On February 13, 2007, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin
introduced legislation imposing a 45-day moratorium on microcell antennas throughout San Francisco, while the Planning Department and
Board of Supervisors consider legislation that would require all microcell antennas in the City to undergo the Conditional Use permit process.
Currently, microcell antennas require only Accessory Use permits which result in no public notification of antennas proposed for residential buildings.
(Read the Feb. 23, 2007 article in the San Francisco Examiner here.) All 11 Supervisors co-sponsored Supervisor Peskin’s moratorium legislation.
On March 6, 2007, the day of the scheduled Board vote on the moratorium, Supervisor Peskin announced that the wireless industry had voluntarily agreed to
suspend applications for microcell antennas and the Board therefore continued its vote on the Board-imposed moratorium for 45 days.
This marks a major victory for San Francisco residents who have been resisting the placement of microcell antennas on or near their residential buildings.
Currently, antennas proposed for mixed-use apartment buildings at Fulton & Masonic near the Panhandle and Guerrero & 18th Street in the Mission are scheduled
for hearings at the Board of Appeals on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 beginning at 5:00 p.m. in Room 416 at City Hall.
Stay tuned for more information on these two appeals as the microcell legislation process unfolds.
In the Media
Danger on the airwaves: Is the Wi-Fi revolution a health time bomb? It's on every high street and in every coffee shop and school. But experts have serious concerns about the effects of electronic smog from wireless networks linking our laptops and mobiles.
The Independent, UK April 22, 2007,
by Geoffrey Lean
Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks, Times Online, UK November 20, 2006,
by Joanna Bale
Carriers set roof antennas without residents' OK, San Francisco Examiner February 23, 2007,
by Joshua Sabatini
It's easy to spy on your Wi-Fi - Experts say home networks are particularly vulnerable, San Francisco Chronicle March 12, 2007,
by Dan Fost
The WiFi Blues Your Own Health and Fitness March 28, 2006, by Jeffry Fawcett, PhD
The Trouble With Cell Towers Business Week August 31, 2006, by Joseph Pisani
Calling All Cell-Phone Antennas San Francisco Chronicle June 9, 2004, by Carol Lloyd