At least one neighbor — Adobe Creek Center owner Elizabeth Betterton — is worried that the new cell-phone tower in Kittredge is dangerous because of the radiation it emits.
Betterton said she plans to buy a radiation-monitoring device to check emissions from the disguised cell-phone tower erected recently by Verizon Wireless just south of 26040 Highway 74. She is worried that radiation from the tower could cause leukemia and cancer in nearby residents.
Betterton is especially worried about children who attend the nonprofit music school she operates at the center, saying she plans to paint the outside of the building with a special refractive paint and monitor the windows to protect people inside from potential radiation emissions.
“I’m very, very concerned that people need to be informed, and they were not,” Betterton said. “It’s never going to be monitored; so, yes, it’s a concern.”
The owners of Canyon Tack & Feed leased the land to Verizon for the tower, said Luann Morris, who co-owns the business with sister Lynette Raymond and mother Linda Snider. Radio frequency emissions are less dangerous than emissions from high-frequency power lines, according to studies she has seen, Morris said. Morris declined to say what the lease price is for the land.
The cell tower meets all Jefferson County requirements for the spot on which it sits, said Jeremy Cohen, a permit review supervisor for the county. The tower was approved in April 2012, Cohen said.
Verizon has not heard any complaints about the tower, said company spokeswoman Meagan Dorsch. Verizon built the tower to resemble a pine tree to meet Jefferson County design requirements, Dorsch said.
Cell tower neighbor Ken Juliano, owner of Adobe Creek Framing, said he has no problem with the installation. He said he’ll be happy to have cell service at work.
“My feeling is, if it was truly dangerous, they wouldn’t have them up, but, you know, driving a car is dangerous, too,” Juliano said. The frame store is in the Adobe Creek Center building.
Kittredge Auto Rebuilders employees also are happy to have better cell service, said owner Kenny Erhardt. The company is across the street from the new tower, which is behind Canyon Tack & Feed.
The Federal Communications Commission does not typically monitor or evaluate cell-phone towers, according to information on the government agency’s website. In general, radio frequency radiation from cell-phone tower antennas is at “exposure levels on the ground that are typically thousands of times below safety limits,” according to the website.