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Parents Sweat Cell Towers on Schools

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Parents Sweat Cell Towers on Schools

Verizon Wireless wants to perch a cell phone tower atop Franklin Fine Arts Center’s smokestack. (Photo courtesy of Concerned Parents of Franklin Fine Arts Center)

Schools across Chicago are making extra cash letting cell phone companies put towers on their buildings. Now some parents are sounding alarms about whether the towers could be harming students.

Cell towers send out radio frequency waves -- the question is whether that radiation causes cancer or other risks. The companies and regulators say the towers are safe, and more than a hundred Chicago Public Schools have them.

Last night, parents packed an auditorium at Franklin Fine Arts Center to hear from both sides. The Near North-Side school is considering renting space to Verizon Wireless. Scientists dueled over the data but parent Roger Luri said maybe any level of risk is too much.

LURI: Does anybody feel that if even one kid is affected, it’s worth it for $24,000 a year?

The American Cancer Society say there’s no measurable cancer risk. Some individual scientists doubt that conclusion, and nearly all agree the technology is too new to know the long-term effects for sure.

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