FOLSOM — A day care center in Folsom says it was blindsided by the construction of an 80-foot cell phone tower less than a hundred feet from its playground.
Although there is no scientific evidence that the microwaves produced by cell towers are harmful to humans, it’s having a devastating effect on the business.
“We’ve had about 34 families that have given their notice to leave us,” Kids, Inc. owner Kelli Vaccaro said.
Vaccaro says there was no mention of plans for a cell tower when she signed her lease several years ago.
“This was in the works since 2016 and for them not to give information to the people that are around this area, what were they trying to do, hide something?” Vaccaro said.
There is research showing long-term exposure to cell signals at high levels produce tumors in mice, but the American Cancer Society and regulatory agencies say the radio frequencies used in cell towers fall between microwaves and TV stations in the RF spectrum.
Some studies show that exposure from cell towers is 100 times less than placing a cell phone to your ear.
“Even if it’s not for sure the kids are not guinea pigs to be tested around,” teacher Fatemeah Chini said.
Chini not only works at the day care but her 4-year-old son is also enrolled there. She is one of several staff members who are thinking about quitting.
“I’m concerned about him being here right next to the tower. I’m concerned for myself and, of course, all the kids I work with,” she said.
Employees at a Kaiser Permanente outpatient surgery center across the street are expressing concern and, in some cases, outrage. One nurse and mother who didn’t want to be identified says she loves the care and staff at the facility but thinks the scientific evidence is inconclusive.
She’ll be pulling her child out.
“If in five years, something is wrong with my child because I didn’t make the decision, how do you live with that?” she said.
She adds her colleagues at the Kaiser center are concerned too.
“Our doctors do 13-hour days,” the nurse said. “That’s a long, long day to be exposed to this.”
Kaiser Permanente sent the following statement to FOX40 regarding the tower:
We take concerns raised by our employees and members seriously. We recently became aware of this potential issue and are seeking additional information from the city.
Earlier environmental assessments for the tower apparently mention a school several miles away but do not mention the day care center less than 100 feet away.
Vaccaro says she doesn’t blame parents or staff for leaving.
She’s looking for another location and hoping that the Palladio will let her out of her lease, given the effects on her business.
“That would be the right thing for them to do,” she said.
Palladio management was not available for comment on Wednesday.