Undestanding Cell Phone Tower Health Risks

There is a lot of paranoia surrounding cell towers s and possibly human health risks. What is important to understand is that radio frequency field intensity is related to the inverse of the distance squared. The exposure that you get from being in the vicinity of a cell tower is hundreds of times lower than the exposure you get using a cell phone.

The only exception to this might be in a situation were cell phone antennas are operated on top of a roof and people are allowed access to that roof top so you can get right up close to the antennas.

Some early studies of cell phone usage showed some adverse health effects, a slightly increased risk of brain tumors and cataracts among them. However, the largest and most recent study did not show any increased risk.

This isn’t to discredit earlier studies however. The earliest cellular handsets operated at power levels up to four watts. Without any external input your brain normally produces about 12-25 watts of heat. An additional 4 watts is a significant heat load and it’s not heat that is distributed evenly but rather concentrated near the antenna. So it is extremely likely that there were significant health risks with these phones.

The next generation cut that power to 1 watt maximum. Still enough for mild thermal effects and possibly some marginally increased risks.

The next generation after that which still operated at 900 Mhz had a maximum transmit level of about 250 milliwatts, a quarter of a watt. This is really approaching a power level where thermal effects are becoming insignificant. These phones only operate at maximum power if they are in a poor signal area.

The very latest generation operating at 1.8 GHz uses a maximum power of 100 milliwatts and will step down to as little as 1 milliwatt if the signal level is good. This is not enough to cause significant thermal heating and is safe.

The field strength you are subject to from cell towers is a small percentage of the field strength you are subject to using even one of these modern phones. They represent no threat.

For cell phone users, more towers reduces your exposure because your modern cell phone steps down it’s power when the signal is strong. If you’re a few hundred yards from a cell tower, that cell tower doesn’t require that your phone transmit at a high power level for it to receive it. If you are several miles, then your phone must transmit at a higher, but still safe, power level.

50 thoughts on Undestanding Cell Phone Tower Health Risks

  1. Hello, I live below 4 cell phone towers in New York City, and have a terrace of which they are above me. Is there a way to get a RF reading done, without buying one for 800 dollars? Should I contact the cell phone company?

  2. If you are further than 25-30 feet away from the cell towers then the radiation you are receiving is less than what you are going to get from your cell phone.

    Further, the antennas are going to radiate primarily in the horizontal plane, relatively weak lobes up and down, so you’re not going to get much if you’re significantly below them.

    Other than paying for an expensive meter I don’t know how you would get readings done. I suppose you could enlist the aid of an engineering firm but I’ll lay odds that will be far more expensive.

    Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it. Those towers typically will operate with a power of around 35 watts. When you compare that with the power of a UHF television station or a high power radar station which may operate with millions of watts, it’s nothing.

    If you are still concerned you could wrap yourself up with aluminum foil, or get a basement apartment where most of the incident radiation will be blocked by earth.

    Seriously though, I don’t think there is any cause for concern.

  3. If you are talking 1980s era cell phones which operated at power levels of several watts next to your skull, then I would agree. There you have significant THERMAL effects heating tissues considerably above their normal temperatures for extended periods of time, of coarse THAT will cause tumors.

    However, most modern cell phones have power levels of a maximum of 100 milliwatt, 1/10th of a watt, not enough power to cause measurable thermal heating. There is no statistical cancer link at these power levels and there is no reason to believe there would be one.

    So if you’ve got a 1985 brick, then, yes, go trade that puppy in now.

    With respect to the towers, because the RF field strength falls off rapidly as you distance yourself from the source, the energy you are going to intercept from a cell tower is far less than what you will from a telephone even though they operate at significantly higher total power levels, because the telephone is millimeters from your ear and the towers tens or hundreds of meters. The only possible exception being if you have a cell site on your building roof and you get up on the roof. Then you may be exposed to fields that are potentially dangerous, particularly if you are exposed over time.

    There are known non-thermal cancer ties to low frequency (60 Hz) power, particularly, those frequencies cause ions to spiral as they go through ion channels in cell walls and this impedes their transfer and has been implicated in cancers.

    But at cell frequencies, 900 Mhz, 1.8 Ghz, 2.5 Ghz, at these frequencies issues are only really known at thermal levels. If you can find any credible research to the contrary I’d be interested in a reference but I haven’t found any.

  4. Hi, this is Lohan. I happen to live in India currently, and recently I heard that cell phone companies here use 7620 microwatt/m2 in their towers while the allowed level is just 600 microwatt/m2. I have no clue about this, and would like to know your openion. By the way, I stay about 50 meters away from the closest tower. Thanks.

  5. I am not familiar with India’s radio regulations. I had a first class radio telephone license here in the United States but the laws and regulations are different.

    However, a field of 7620 microwatts per square meter is still just 7mw. The human brain dissipates between 25 watts and 100 watts of energy depending on how busy it is, what it is doing. 7mw is not enough to cause even very localized significant temperature differences.

    There is no known mechanism for microwave induced carcinogenic effects below thermal levels.

    Unless you’re very close to a cell tower, as in standing right in front of the antenna, you are not going to intercept enough energy to have thermal effects.

    If you are 30 feet away, the power that you’d receive from a cell phone held to your ear is far greater than that from the cell tower even though the cell tower operates at far higher power because field strength drops off rapidly with distance from the radiating antenna.

    Cell towers were never a hazard, telephones that posed a significant threat are the 1980′s vintage 5-watt, 3-watt, and maybe to a mild extent 1-watt units. Todays 250mw and 100mw units do not have enough power to produce significant thermal effects even held up to your head.

    If you have a building and you have cell antennas on the roof, then I would be concerned about spending time on the roof in close proximity to those antennas. That’s about the only situation where the radio frequency field strength is going to pose a threat to human health.

    At lower frequencies you have some entirely different issues. At 60 Hz power line frequencies there is an effect where the AC magnetic field causes ions to swirl as they go through ion channels in cell walls reducing the efficiency of ion transport. This particular mechanism is associated with cancers at below thermal power levels, most commonly with leukemia and lymphoma.

    As you go higher in frequency the effect on ion transport decreases and by the time you’ve even reached medium wave frequencies it is not significant. It is only barely significant at power line frequencies.

    Old statistical data, when 3 and 5 watt hand-held units were common, did show some correlation with brain tumors but modern statistical data, even some very large studies involving half a million subscribers, do not, at least none that I am aware of. If anyone knows of any modern large scale studies that do I’d be interested in the specifics.

  6. Just a minor correction, when I said, “only situation where the radio frequency field strength is going to pose a threat to human health”, I was referring specifically to cell phones.

    There are to be sure other situations that I do find troubling, specifically UHF television transmissions using power levels in the megawatts, there, if you’re close, you’ve got power levels about that which can cause thermal effects, VHF and FM transmitters at 100KW, you’d need to be very close, but still there is concern for thermal effects.

    Military applications, the military operates multi-megawatt radar systems, I’d be worried about effects from those if I lived near such an installation.

    HAARP, transmits gigawatts of energy into the ionosphere in the high frequency range, but they intentionally beat two high frequency signals together (mixing occurs in the non-linear ionosphere) to get a low frequency (audio) signal that can penetrate the earth to be able to see below earth structures.

    The frequencies they use are in the sub-audio and low audio range. Those have significant potential to induce cancers. In addition, those in the human brain wave region are a threat to mental health. It is known that the human brain will entrain to external magnetic fields of sufficient strength. This could cause various mood changes, excitability and irritability, or sleepiness and lethargy.

    There is much speculation that HAARP is in fact intended to do this, but being a government military project, real information is unobtainable. What is obtainable makes it all sound rather innocent and harmless, but there is no way the kind of resources would be poured into such a project without more significant applications than those publically acknowledged.

  7. I have just moved into an apartment building and found out from a neighbor that wireless company is putting tower on the roof of my new apartment. The building has 3 floors and I live on 2nd floor. My apartment is not directly below antenna but about 60feet (20 meters) to the side. Should I worry about it, also is there some kind of insulation they should put below it to reduce radiation. Another thing is that I have not seen any work permits or licenses, and they are still working there. I am wandering if they even have license to do it.

  8. I (my organism) always don’t likes any long exposeds to RF emitters (gms tower and phones, wi-fi lan) -i have malaise….
    Madnes or oversensitisation?

    Did you test rf meter nearby (300-1500m) cell tower?

    Did you read Benevento Resolution? http://www.icems.eu/docs/BeneventoResolution.pdf

    I live on rustic area and gsm company want to build cell tower in the centre of village …
    Community say NO! But still no effect. Priority: gsm company! Possible risk is meaninglessly! :(
    where is precaution?
    Dirty game!

    I find this page today:
    Safe?Risk?
    http://www.ortho.lsuhsc.edu/Faculty/Marino/CellTowers/CellTowers.htm

    sorry form my eng.
    Pawel/.pl

  9. Pawel: Your English is adequate for me to understand what you are saying.

    I really would like to see a double-blind study that takes people who, like yourself, believe themselves to be sensitive, and determine if they really are. In other words, separate the physical effects from the psychological effects.

    If you didn’t know there was a tower there would you still be sensitive? I’m sure that you would assert that you would, but in reality I don’t know. It’s not something I can totally dismiss but at the same time the field intensity of a cell tower is going to be less than a cell phone you or someone near to you is using because of the rate that signals fall off with distance unless you happen to be on a roof standing right next to the antenna.

    There are signals in our environment that are so much stronger as well. A cell tower might operate at around 30 watts or so per antenna. UHF television stations operate with multiple megawatts of power (a megawatt is a million watts), radar installations might have peak power well above the megawatt level, wireless subscription tv services operate at somewhat higher power levels (several hundred watts).

    So if one really was sensitive to these frequencies, I would expect to be swamped by all these other sources. But I do believe there are sensitivities that are hard to explain scientifically.

    I used to live within a couple of blocks away from a 100kw FM station and a 40Kw FM station. Next door to the stations, the signals at ground level were so high you could unplug Christmas lights and they’d glow at about half brilliance. I had a friend that lived next door, and another friend who ran a television repair shop on the other side. He had free security lighting because when you turned the power off, the fluorescent lights would glow about half brightness.

    With all that RF floating about, I didn’t notice any real negative effects, but I did notice that I’d think of a song, turn on the radio, and it would be playing, almost as if on a subconscious level I could somehow detect the modulation.

    We used to take a 7 watt Christmas lamp and hook a loop of wire to it and walk around showing people how we could light up a Christmas light with nothing more than a wire, no battery, no cord, and we could do it indefinitely.

    Anyway, I’d sure like to see a study of folks like yourself to see if that sensitivity really could be scientifically detected.

  10. If only sense were common. Your post demonstrates that it is not. The fact that people are upset about antennas doesn’t make them a health hazard, except in as much as stress hormones associated with worrying about them do.

    Rather than trusting me, or trusting common sense, the more sensible thing to do is actually educate yourself. That means, actually learn the science, learn how RF fields propagate and how signal levels relate to power levels and distance. Learn about the direction characteristics of cell tower antennas. Once you actually educate yourself you’ll learn that people who are espousing common sense are actually possessed of something far more common than sense, paranoia.

  11. Tmobile plans on placing a 150ft monopole cell tower about 15-25ft from my backyard where my children play for hours at a time. My bedroom is about 50ft from this pole. Is this dangerous for us? If not why? How do you know so much about rf’s? If this is not dangerous why are so many cities passing laws to keep these off of their property around the children?
    Thanks

  12. some research about it and found conflicting reports. I graduated from Law School and during my studies I learned that we cannot trust regulators as politicians receive a lot of money from corporations to pass the laws. One view of our government is that corporations in the fear of lawsuits will not put anything dangerous on the market. I live right below the cell phone tower, in the beginning I worried about it and researched it. After I read about it I found out facts and I feel OK living under it. There are more dangerous places such as right by high voltage power lines, airports radars, etc. I guess if I had kids I would worry more. I would look for RF meter and checked the radiation before and after installation. Also, if you are organized community I would file the lawsuit against installer, cell phone company and everyone involved in building it to pay for the measurements. I remember some kind of lawsuit in which the holding was that corporation must take fear of the community in to the account even if the fear might not be scientifically supported. I doubt that they will stop work, but they might pay for measurements.

  13. Trust me when I say I don’t trust regulators. If you’ve read much of this blog that should be obvious.

    Of coarse measuring is the only way to determine exactly the field from a cell tower at any given location, but calculations give good approximations and at distances greater than 30 feet or so you’re dealing with levels orders of magnitude less than a hand-held cell phone held to your head.

    So precision isn’t really required. The studies regarding cell phones held right against your head are inconclusive on the whole. Some that I’ve seen show an increase in tumors 2x that of non-cell phone users, others show no significant difference. Those that show large increases tend to be older studies when cell phones were higher powered.

    If you are a cell phone user, you’re better off being near a tower because then your cell phone, which is going to be the majority of your radiation exposure, will transmit at much lower power.

    I am sufficiently uncomfortable with cell phone exposure that I minimize the use of mine, however, I am not troubled by the existence of a tower a few hundred feet away.

    60 Hz high voltage power transmission line radiation, that’s something I am concerned about. The high power lines should be converted to DC transmission, it eliminates radiation, improves efficiency, eliminates susceptibility to space weather and cascading failures, and improves capacity using the same wires and insulators.

  14. If you don’t like the message, attack the messenger right?

    I don’t, nor have I ever, worked for a cell phone company.

    I have worked 17 years for a normal land-line telephone company and I also have had a 1st class radio telephone license and worked in broadcast engineering where power levels 100,000 times those of cellular phone towers are used, and you are being immersed in that radiation but instead of being concerned with that you worry about something with 1/100000th the power.

    This is not rational on your part.

    But let’s look at some of your references. The very first one you give, bioinitive.org says this:

    “The overall epidemiologic evidence suggests that mobile phone use of less than 10 years does not pose any increased risk of brain tumour or acoustic neuroma. For longer use, data are sparse, since only some recent studies have reasonably large numbers of long-term users. Any conclusion therefore is uncertain and tentative. From the available data, however, it does appear that there is no increased risk for brain tumours in long-term users, with the exception of acoustic neuroma for which there is limited evidence of a weak association.”

    And this is just said of phones, which are a far greater than hazards due to the inverse square distance law; the fields a user is subjected to from the phone is far greater than the towers.

    And this has been my position, there is possibly some hazards associated with the phone although as your own source points out this is extremely weak and tenuous at best.

    I do agree with what bioinitiative.org has to say about low frequency (power line) and RF radiation standards, I do believe low frequency 50hz and 60hz fields are unhealthy and in addition that radiation represents wasted energy. Switching to DC power transmission would eliminate that radiation and we’d got approximately 15% more power for essentially free by just eliminating the losses.

    I also agree with bioinitiative.org’s argument that RF field exposure limits need examination, two areas that I believe are particularly in need of examination are the broadcast industry, (where unlike the cellular telephone industry, I have worked), where millions of watts are used in UHF TV transmitters that are very near cellular frequency, AND those higher UHF channels are very near cellular frequencies but operating at 100,000 times the power, and with modulation schemes that involve among other things a 60 Hz component. These transmissions, I would absolutely argue are harmful.

    Another area that I think needs attention is high powered radar, some of the military radars operate at tens of megawatts, or a million times that of cell phone towers. These are real concerns that rational people who actually take the time to learn the science should be concerned about, and the folks at bioinitative.org are. Since you are citing them as a source, you should at least read their material.

    The good news on the broadcast industry is that the digital formats used for television and radio operate at power levels far lower than their analog counterparts and in the case of television, that 60hz component is lost in the digital transmission. This is important because any electrically non-linear item can demodulate an AM transmission (which the video component of analog TV is), and many aspects of the human body are non-linear and in my opinion there is adequate proof that both 60 Hz fields are harmful and UHF signals that are at or above thermal levels are harmful and a 5 megawatt UHF television transmitter is definitely above thermal levels.

    Your second reference, http://www.brain-surgery.us, perhaps you can provide a more specific URL, I’ve looked at the domain, I see no reference to RF, cell phones, or cell phone towers. Let alone any studies.

    http://cellphonesafety.wordpress.com/2006/12/21/cancer-fears-and-cell-masts/

    Now this a good example of paranoia. Six people on an apartment flat get cancer in a ten year period, after cell towers were installed.

    This doesn’t constitute a study at all and what the paranoid writer implies is completely contradicted by the actual study information provided by your first reference.

    But again, it’s by paranoid people that don’t understand the science.

    Among other things, cell phone antennas are highly directional in the vertical plane and send a signal straight out, very little radiation emerges significantly off of 90 degrees from vertical, thus people UNDER these antennas aren’t subject to significant radiation from them.

    A scenario where you could get exposure is where let’s say you have a fifteen story building right next to a thirty story building and there are cell phones on the roof of the fifteen story building and they for some reason put the antennas right on the edge of the roof next to the thirty story building.

    Now, you’ve got an apartment on the thirty story buildings 17th floor, which just happens to be exactly parallel with the roof of the 15 story building, and your apartment balcony is closer than 30 feet from antenna tower.

    Now that would place you in a situation where you would be receiving radiation stronger than a cell phone emits (if you are within 30 feet and at the same height as the antenna) and given that there is tenuous evidence that the cell phones are actually harmful then you would have a scientifically valid reason to be concerned about cell tower radiation. But not in the situation described in this paranoid article by a another blogger which is in no way a study. All this is is a statistical anomaly, and not even a very significant one when you consider than about half the human population will develop a cancer in their lifetime and this is an entire apartment flat over a ten year period.

    It also says absolutely nothing about the age of the people involved or other environmental factors, but the RF factor isn’t significant just based upon the design of cellular antennas.

    Your forth reference, http://www.canceractive.com/page.php?n=1440, developed a case of breast cancer and decided it must be caused by the cell company even though this contradicts the actual studies cited in your first reference which showed NO correlation between human tumors with the exception of a tenuous link to one involving auditory nerves, and cell phones, let alone towers.

    This person further goes on to state that 77 percent of the 15 closest households experienced some major health issues but did not define major or what those issues were, and further that when the towers were removed they had a renewed sense of wellness, which frankly if you have some idiot in your neighborhood that has you convinced that you’re going to get cancer from them, of coarse you’d have a renewed sense of wellness. It’s purely psychological but yes, you’d feel better if you believed that.

    And then what also is ignored, but stated in the article, is that she had a “successful photography business”, do you know how carcinogenic chemicals used in photographic film development and printing are?

    You’re fifth source, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1027699/index.html, again more anecdotal evidence, no study involved, and frankly if you understand statistics and cancer risks you wouldn’t be surprised even if the tower weren’t present.

    Your sixth source, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1687491.ece, not a study but simply an article about how a phone company gave in to paranoia and removed the tower.

    Your seventh source, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/heavy-use-of-mobile-phones-can-lead-to-fertility-problems-in-men-421362.html, suggests a relationship between cell phones and male fertility issues.

    I’ll start by volunteering the fact that I have four children.

    Now, this is also not a controlled study; this isn’t a study of a random population that determines if cell phone usage is associated with cell phones, it’s a study of people who already have fertility issues relating those to phone usage. It doesn’t mention that things like stress also cause these issues and that someone who spends more than four hours a day on a cell phone might potentially be under more than the normal amount of stress?

    And again, it’s talking about cell phones not cell towers.

    And then your eight reference, the most humorous of all since I happen to know a bit about this particular issue. This article at http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/are-mobile-phones-wiping-out-our-bees-444768.html suggests that cell towers are responsible for colony collapse disorder in bees.

    The article itself contains old information suggesting 70 percent of commercial bees are missing on the east coast.
    That was true two years ago but isn’t today.

    The mystery of colony collapse disorder has been resolved. First, it almost exclusively affects commercial bees being hauled around from site to site for pollination and has very little effect on native bee populations. The commercial bees are stressed more than the natural population.

    But, the cause of colony collapse has been determined to be a fungus that eats at the bees gut and they starve to death. Further, the bees on the east coast have already genetically adapted to this fungus and their populations have returned in spite of the fact that the cellular towers are still there and this problem has now moved to the west coast where the bees have not yet adapted to this fungus, but we know from experience it took about two years for them to adapt on the east coast so they will likely do the same here. So this article is just totally off-base.

    Your ninth reference, almost sounds like a study, until I looked at in detail, http://groups.google.com/group/mobilfunk_newsletter/browse_thread/thread/209e00af0cfe991f. First off the “possible new link” they mentioned involves power levels of 2 watts / kg. Modern cell phones operate at 100mw max, some models 250mw max, so these power levels never are reached, even at maximum power, which unless you’re very far from a tower they won’t be at, but there is an argument for more towers instead of less. Again, no mention of towers just phones, and all speculative no actual study. But then it gets even better, I look at where that was originally sourced from, Business India Wire; and I invite everyone to go Googling and find other articles from that source and decide for yourself how credible it is.

    Your tenth source, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/mobile-phones-more-dangerous-than-smoking-or-asbestos-802602.html, again no study, just paranoid speculation. Since tumors can take more than a decade to develop, studies that haven’t found cell phones cause cancer must be flawed. Um yea, if you can’t prove over a ten year period that they cause cancer then you just haven’t waited long enough.

    Your 11th source, http://www.topnews.in/health/mobile-phones-risky-kids-says-researchers-23182, still more speculation. The speculation being that children’s brains are more susceptible to radiation and therefore, even though we have no actual evidence that cell phones cause cancer, children should be banned from using them. Even in that speculation, no reference to towers only to the phones themselves.

    Your 12th source, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkeMLOIAEKU&feature=related, no real information except the tragic tail of a 7 year old who developed cancer and there is speculation that cell phones, other electrical devices, or power lines may be involved, and then a doctor siting anonymous studies that show a 40% increase in brain tumors across the board, but absolutely nothing that specifically implicates cell phones or towers. Yes, radiation levels on the whole are up, and cell phones and cell towers account for a very small percentage of that, and yes again I agree with the bioinitiative.org’s premise that EMF exposure limits need to be looked at, and I am absolutely convinced that AC power transmission, the 50Hz and 60Hz magnetic fields ARE dangerous, and actually I believe the 50Hz to be slightly more dangerous (and in general as you go lower in frequency even more so) because these frequencies cause issues with ion transport through cell wall membranes by causing the ions to spiral through the ion channels. This disrupts normal biological activity in the cell, but this is a power line frequency issue.

    I am also convinced that the power levels of OLD cell phones were definitely hazardous, especially the 5 watt and 3 watt models. There is much less of a case to be made for newer 250mw and 100mw (1/4 watt and 1/10th watt respectively) models.

    And herein lies a problem with the issue of cell phone safety. Studies that don’t go back more than ten years are not seeing a correspondence between cell phone use and cancer; those that go back more than ten years are dealing with old high powered technology that was sufficiently high power to have thermal effect and there is no question in my mind that those were dangerous. But again, because of the way RF fields fall off, the inverse square law (or in free space with no gain it would be inverse cube, in the real world it’s actually somewhere between those two extremes because of reflections), cell tower radiation is far less than what a cell phone user gets from the phone.

    Your 13th source, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up4EiRZ8IC8, a guy trying to cell stupid gimmicks that purport to protect you from cell phones.

    First, if you actually listen to this and don’t have a brain tumor already, you will know it’s so much BS, no studies, and a lot of totally bogus claims.

    Your thirteenth source http://www.electropollution.org/ sites “the Globe”, and hell if you can’t believe the Globe who can you believe. Again only relating to cell phones and not cell towers but even the claims made about cell phones are patently absurd and disproven by actual studies referenced in your first source.

    Your 14th reference, http://www.emfnews.com/, since he’s convinced that cellphones are a hazard it must be so, but even better, he sells “RF Headsets” to protect you from the danger.

    Hey, better and cheaper, go to the grocery store and by some Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil. Wrap your head in it and preferably everything above the neck and you should be protected.

    Your 16th source and 14th source are different URL’s to the same video information.

    Your 17th source, http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/49330/Suicides-linked-to-phone-masts-, no study just anecdotal evidence, we found 22 people who committed suicide that were closer than average to cell towers. Never mind the 10,000 more that were average or farther than average.

    It also suggests that higher speed data involves higher power levels and not really the case. Actually the trend is the opposite.

    Your last source, http://www.indianexpress.com/story/243721.html, they’ve developed a protocol to study but haven’t yet.

    So you’ve provided 18 references, only ONE references a specific traceable study, none of them ARE actual studies, and it agrees with my position.

  15. Those of you who feel highly emotional about this topic, don’t believe me, but also don’t go to whack sources and believe them. Take some time to learn the science. Study how RF fields decrease with distance, study possible biological effects at what power levels and frequencies they occur, because you’re not going to believe me, and allowing our policies to be dictated by the paranoids will also be harmful to society.

    The best thing you can do is actually educate yourself.

    That said; I maintain my position that, with the exception of the scenario I outlined here, the cell towers aren’t a risk, cell phones MIGHT be but again everything I can find suggestive to that is more than ten years old involving higher power levels.

    I would be interested in any controlled double-blind studies showing cell phones (or towers) to be hazardous.

    Please though real studies, not wacko speculation or anecdotal evidence or evidence that is more than ten years old when power levels are as much as 50x higher than with modern phones.

    I do not believe cell towers will show up as a risk in any controlled double blind study; I think there is potential for that with cell phone but I think it is low.

  16. now i am certain nanook is a paid debunker. paid by the cell company mafia. This is standard operating procedure. All public forums are infiltrated with paid debunkers like nanook. Just imagine the time and effort you have put into painstakingly debunking the information put forth by me.

    My second reference http://www.brain-surgery.us is a paper presented by a reputed neurosurgeon from the Australian National University.He has won many awards for his work.

    All the other references that you cite as paranoia on my part are actually real news. News that deserves attention and calls for caution at the very least.

    What do you want as evidence ? A brain tumour in your family before you will agree to the ill effects of microwave radiation on human tissue.

    Also check out Dr George Carlos site http://www.safewireless.org. Dr carlos was hired by the telecom mafia in the US to study the effects of radiation oh human health in 1993. What he found was so startling that the telecom mafia tried to suppress his findings in that report. Dr Carlos quit and founded the wireless initiative.

    Listen to his audio interview (10th interview under audio) on the resources page and watch the videos. get hold of a documentary “Cell Phone Wars” EDUCATE YOURSELF – like you say.

    Also google “RF mind control patents” and you may get an idea as to why those 22 kids committed suicide.

    Any technology that kills more people than it saves is worthless.

    Any civilization that is far too clever to survive without wisdom will in all probability perish.

  17. If I were a paid debunker, paid or otherwise, why would I have left your original post or all of your material up?

    I left it up so everyone could go look at it themselves. Not a single study amongst them and only ONE of all your sources referenced studies, and it doesn’t support your position.

    Why don’t you take the time to get a little education instead of just regurgitating other peoples paranoia?

  18. It was difficult to find a site that rationally approached this situation with scientific data rather than anecdotal evidence. Thanks for taking the time to provide this information

    For those of us not mathematically inclined, can you give an example of how intensity of the signal of a cell phone near your head compares with a cell tower, say 300 feet away? It would be helpful to see the actual computation. And how does this compare with safety standards for exposure?

    Again, thanks for taking the time to provide this information.

  19. Well, I can sense microwaves from cell towers and wireless internet. I realize not everyone can, but if you look at, say, skin sensitivity to the sun it is easy to realize we do not all have the same sensitivities. I for one can sit out in the sun for hours and not get burned, but I do not turn around and tell people who get burned quickly that it is all in their minds.

    I live about 200 feet from cell antennas on a two story building. The level in my yard was .03microwatts/CM², when I had the levels checked. This was with the meter setting in the narrow frequency band setting for cell towers.

    If I am in my yard my head gets a feeling of pressure. If I stay out longer than 15 minutes I get heating. WiFi causes heating in my head as well. I find that my sensitivity is linked to my exposure. The more direct exposure I get to the cell tower, the more sensitized I become so my strategy is to avoid the direct line of sight and, while aluminum foil does offer shielding properties it would be rather hot to wear in the summer. I could see sewing it into a hat for the winter. I have a silver/nylon mesh scarf that I wear for the very limited time that I spend in my yard. I also wear it at night while I am sleeping. It is my understanding than in addition to causing the polarity to twist in cells in our bodies and thereby interfering with all cellular functions, the microwaves are interpreted as light by our pineal glands and interfere with its function.

  20. Safe huh? Is that why towers need massive cables that can handle HUNDREDS of AMPS of power! Wake up people your being exposed to high radiation.

  21. First, the cell towers certainly do cause paranoia, as does just about any other technology people don’t understand.

    Actually learning the science would go a long way towards eliminating that but this is the nation that voted for Bush two terms in a row so I’m not optimistic about that happening.

    Cables are heavy because low voltage DC (+24 volt) is used, so it takes a lot of current. They have to be heavy or the resistance would cause too much voltage drop.

    The RF output power per bay averages about 35 watts, but it is an extremely complex waveform requiring linear amplifiers and a huge peak to average ratio (peak envelope power of around 900 watt). Solid state power amplifiers in the microwave region tend not to be all that efficient under the best of terms, but linear amplifiers operating at an average power level far below their peak are extremely inefficient.

    I do feel fairly passionate about this issue, and for those that keep accusing me of being a cell company employee or lobbyist, I am not, but here is why I am concerned.

    Right now most people have two wires that can potentially bring information into their house, the cable company, and the phone company. Both have a pretty effective monopoly on wire facilities and as a result they can keep prices artificially high and limit content.

    In my view this represents a real threat to freedom because if you’ve only got two information pipes and they’re both highly regulated, then anytime the government thinks the Internet is a dangerous thing, they can choke it to death at those two choke points.

    Even in the absence of that, having only two causes prices to be artificially high.

    I do run an ISP, and for the most part I can only connect to my customers through one of these facilities, both are overpriced and under-maintained. Access is restricted.

    The only hope to get around that regulated duopoly is through wireless services. Since wireless carriers don’t enjoy the monopoly the cable and telco does, there is more hope for freedom and reasonable prices.

    This isn’t true so much of wireless cellular carriers which are limited by government leases, but newer WiMax technology that can operate on public open bands does hold much promise.

    Now, if a handful of paranoids ruin that then a very useful information channel will be loss, and for no good reason.

    The proliferation of these wireless carriers could actually radically decrease the total amount of radiation you are exposed to by eliminating broadcast services in which a single channel occupies an entire bandwidth and at power levels of several megawatts in the case of UHF TV stations.

    35 watts where the antenna is elevated and directional in the vertical plane so it radiates very little at ground level, is not a threat. Several million watts is a real hazard.

    If wireless broadband access becomes ubiquitous, then the need for these megawatt television stations will be eliminated, as well as many other transmitters, reducing the total amount of electromagnetic radiation being put into the environment, and substantially reducing power levels since 35 watts is nothing compared to high powered TV stations or even 100,000 watt FM radio stations.

    And that’s before you even start to consider the convenience of being able to open up a laptop and have broadband connectivity anywhere. The freedom of being able to work from a sunny beach instead of an office when the weather is nice for example.

    So from my perspective, paranoid people who are too mentally lazy to learn the science and learn about real threats are a much larger hazard than 35 watts of cell tower radiation.

  22. Thanx Nanook.

    This has been really informative.

    I had to leave my ELF Gaussmeter with my wife as she is buying a new apartment for us…but I am going on a long business trip so I am having another Fedexed to me. I am terrified of being in a hotel room with more than 2 mG (200 Nanotesla here in Europe).

    You agree that the 50Hz constant fields are dangerous at a higher flux density…commonly found near alarm radios and when some neighbor’s TV is up against the wall your head is sleeping next to.

    In making my purchase, I started to wonder if I should also urgently purchase an HF meter to detect if a hidden cell tower will be near the apartment my wife picks out. Your analysis makes me less urgently inclined to do that, because you seem to be saying that an HF meter CANNOT detect a hidden cell tower or tell me how many meters the nearest tower probably is.

    Correct?

    My cell phones are all the latest Nokia and Samsung models, freshly designed and produced. I am not worried enough about them to even purchase the protect skins…or should I consider at least doing that?

    I have found, when using a meter once, that clamshell phones give off more radiation when opened but not on a call, but they give off nothing when they are closed or if they are the non clamshell versions.

  23. So you are saying that the death of TV will spare us more as WiFi develops?

    I agree with your freedom argument totally.

    But you are saying that there will be a net benefit from less radiation as well?

    Don’t you mean in terms of those souls who live near TV transmitters?

    I once lived 4 blocks from the Empire State Building on the 14th floor of a luxury condo building (First Avenue compared to Fifth Avenue).

    I mostly felt sick as a dog there and ended up moving in with a girlfriend on 86th Street far, far away from the Empire State Building.

    I know the original microwave workers for that building had a heavy cancer death rate as they used to warm themselves in the winter by standing next to the dishes.

    Would you worry for the residents of Murray Hill in Manhattan – next to the Empire State Building? It is a fancy area but I always felt sick there. I have moved from there uptown more than once.

    All three times I lived there and moved, I thought it was because the Con Edison Plant next to the UN Buildings was giving off gases around 4AM when they thought we would not notice or complain.

    Now I am beginning to wonder if I was waking up nauseous there because of the strongest TV transmissions in the world coming from the top of the Empire State Building 2-4 blocks away.

  24. Hello – I am a first to blogging in general, but I am eager to get opinions about my situation.

    I live in Portland, Oregon and the city is now installing several cell phone transmission centers all over the city via fivecell phone companies. I did not pay much attention until I saw a 25 foot pole at the end of my driveway. It is slated to be a cell phone relay station.

    The issue that I have is that it is in a residential neighborhood – on a telephone pole (25 feet tall) – and top of the pole, given the topography of my property, is at eyelevel to my 4yr old’s bedroom (about 5 feet)

    How can I get base line data? I must go to put children to sleep – please help!

    Dieter it PDX

  25. Dieter,

    Yours is a genuine safety issue. The cellular antennas are highly directional in the vertical plain. This means they’ll be beaming signals right at your child’s bedroom and the distance isn’t sufficient to attenuate it to safe levels.

    I would definitely file a complaint with the FCC and company involved. They should, at the very least, raise the antenna height so that it is not parallel with your child’s bedroom.

    I would not allow my child to sleep in that environment given a choice.

    If you can’t get them to voluntarily take action, I would consider a lawsuit, and if you fail to prevail there, consider installing some shielding such as copper or brass screening in the walls and perhaps even over the window.

    Constant exposure at the close distance in the plain of the antennas radiation over long periods of time, particularly for a child, is not a safe situation.

  26. To the anonymous person commenting about the death of TV and WiFi.

    WiFi, is significantly lower power than cell sites; even WiMax is, but both are much lower power than digital television, and digital television is MUCH lower power than analog television.

    Analog UHF stations are the worst, typically broadcasting with several MILLION watts.

    Ultimately, converting all wireless services to IP traffic on WiFi and WiMax would result in a HUGE net decrease both in radiated power and in electricity consumption for communications. It would also make much more efficient use of spectrum.

  27. Dear Nanook,

    Your insights and comments about safe distance concerns from the antenna location have been helpful. Over the last few days, we were able to get a local news broadcaster to feature us on their top news story. We also had conversations with the mayor of Portland who has helped us to cease the installation through T -Mobile – for now. We have also learned that there is a Federal Law that allows celular towers to be put anywhere in the US, regardless of the findings of negative health OR environmental effects (for any tower under 1000watts). Perhaps why there are no studies?

    Children tug at me once again – must run.

    Thanks,
    Dieter

  28. I’d be curious to know the details of that Federal law. It sounds terribly irresponsible to me but then I’m of the opinion that the FCC has been owned by major corporations for at least the last 40 years.

    1000 watts is an interesting figure they used also, as the average power of most of these towers is around 35 watts and the peak envelope power around 900 watts, which makes you think they wrote this law to intentionally exclude any normal installation.

    The huge peak-to-average power ratio is a result of the modulation scheme used.

    If they’re trying to imply that 1000 watts of microwave up close is safe, I can only think that they must have come to that conclusion after testing by sticking their heads in a microwave oven while operating.

  29. Nanook,

    Below is the direct quote from a city official who was quick to discourage us from persuing any action against the placement of a cell phone tower transmitter just feet from a young child’s bedroom. Again, nowthat we have raised such a big stink about this antenna placement, they “evaluating” the placement and will decide in January.

    Here is law:

    Federal law prohibits states and local governments from regulating “the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions.” 47 USC § 332(c)(7). The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted federal regulations to implement this statutory prohibition, stating:

    No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the regulations contained in this chapter concerning the environmental effects of such emissions. 47 CFR §1.1307(e). (again any tower with less thatn 100 watts – in other words ALL cell antenna DTR)

    The FCC’s regulations have been litigated and were upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Cellular Phone Taskforce v. FCC, 205 F3d 82 (2d Cir 2000), cert denied, 531 US 1070 (2001). The FCC’s decision not to revise its standards was affirmed by the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals a few years later. EMR Network v. FCC, 391 F3d 269 (DC Cir 2004).

    The FCC has adopted procedures to govern applications by wireless providers seeking to preempt local regulations on the grounds that the regulations violate the FCC’s emissions standard. In re Procedures for Reviewing Requests for Relief from State and Local Regulations Pursuant to Section 332(c)(7)(b)(V) of Communications Act of 1934, 2000 WL 1715846, 15 F.C.C.R. 22,821 (November 17, 2000).

    I want to reverse this law – somehow..

    Dieter

  30. I have to admit that I haven’t kept up on the FCC law recently, but I will suggest that even within the law there is room to work.

    What the law is in fact saying is that local jurisdictions aren’t allowed to create more restrictive laws than those enacted by congress and enforced by the FCC.

    If the radiation limits imposed by the FCC are reasonable, then you may still have grounds to fight the installation based upon it’s violating FCC rules.

    To know whether in fact it is or is not you’d need to know what those rules are.

    Now I’m not a lawyer so I’m just bringing this to your attention as a resource that hopefully might help your cause.

    This document by the FCC defines human RF exposure limits:

    http://wireless.fcc.gov/siting/FCC_LSGAC_RF_Guide.pdf

    Most modern cell systems in the US operate at around 1.8 Ghz, so given the chart on page 8, chart B, you’re looking at a legal limit of around 1mw/cm^2 of absorbed power. This can be averaged over the human body.

    You’d have to know details such as the average power, gain of the antenna and directional pattern; or alternately get a field strength meter and measure the field strength to know whether or not this limit is being exceeded. You would probably be best to hire an engineer for this so that you’ve got a qualified expert witness if you end up in court.

    Cell sites are categorically excluded if their effective radiated power is less than 1000 watts in a given direction. However, even though the peak power is generally around 900 watts and average around 35 watts, this is transmitter power, the gain of the antennas may well bring this above the 1kw effective radiated power level required to exclude the tower from categorical exclusion.

    Second, one of the considerations that provides this exclusion is height above average terrain, and there is a valid reason for this. Because the antennas are highly directional in the horizontal plane, if they are sufficiently above average terrain, the ground level radiation will be very low. But in your case, it’s at the same height as your bedroom window so it could be argued that the height above average terrain is not sufficient to qualify for categorical exclusion, and this is also something worth discussing with the carrier. If they would be willing to raise the antenna bays up another 30 feet or so to get them out of the same horizontal plane as your child’s bedroom, that would both address the safety issue for your children and somewhat improve their coverage at what would probably not be a huge additional expense.

    I would urge you to read the entire document so you understand the FCC rules, and then I would add that the FCC is not the final word that it thinks it is in many matters, although the FCC rules define the requirements for site placement and radiation exposure limits, they do not absolve one party from responsibility for harm caused to another, and so even though you may not be able to pursue the case through law enforcement channels, you still have civil channels available to you.

    Beyond that, these folks really don’t want negative publicity. Most local newspapers have troubleshooter or other similar sections you can write to, they will investigate and possibly publish.

    There are other venues like the rants section of Craigs List that you might find helpful at locating and organizing like minded individuals.

    When the telco looks at the cost of making the tower an additional 30 feet higher verses the potential negative publicity and or civil suits, they might decide it’s worth while it increase the antenna height.

    Just some thoughts, I hope they help. Also worth noting, the FCC does ask for public comment, avail yourself of that opportunity.

  31. Hello,

    I’d like to know what the electromagnetic radiation exposure is of a marine radar tower positioned on a hill overlooking my home site, located a couple of kilometers away. The tower is used by port maritime authorities for the observation of shipping. Is the port authority marine radar hazardous at these distances?

    Also, on this hill, not far away from the radar, are located several large broadcasting aerials and masts used by commercial radio stations, and telephone companies.

    Are there any associated potential long term health problems associated from living in the vicinity (a couple of kilometers away) of these transmitter towers/radar?

    Would a home constructed with a roof of metal sheeting material i.e. ‘colorbond’ roofing sheets offer any significant protection against electromagnetic radiation emissions from the hill top radar, or could a metal roof on a home make the internal EMR (electromagnetic radiation) level worse, than if terracotta or cement roofing tiles were used.

    Also, is any information available on how I can protect the interior of my home from DECT cordless phone electromagnetic radiation
    emissions from several neighbours using these communication devices.

    I have read that the DECT type of cordless phones are in fact similar to mobile phone masts/towers, transmitting strong pulsed radiation frequencies 24 hours a day over a distance of several hundred meters from within the homes where they are positioned.

  32. If you are several kilometers away, then I doubt there is any threat presented by the towers.

    I also would not be concerned with the phones unless you’re the one using them.

    Since, with the exception of satellite transmissions, most signals are going to enter your house horizontally, the metal roof won’t make any difference.

    Conductive walls will reduce signals entering horizontally. You could get aluminum siding and ground it, put wire screens over your windows, if you really wanted to.

    Personally, doesn’t sound like there is anything to worry about.

    Radar to keep track of ships in the port probably isn’t that powerful. Some of the longer range military radar I’d worry about, some of that stuff is in the megawatts.

  33. I have a concern about a proposed cell tower to be located 400 yards away from my home and property. My home is 170′ above the base of the proposed tower which is listed to be 320′. I cannot get any information out of the tower co. but I also have health concers due to a recent kidney transplant. My immune system is supressed, and will remain this way for the remainder of my life. Drugs are used and my immune system is checked to maintain the correct levels of supression. I am concered that the transmitters off this tower could pose a health risk for me and my family, as well as the lighting of the tower causing a nuiance. I live in a rural area and the night sky is very dark so flashing lights would be out of place in this setting.
    I have learned through the FAA that the tower will have medium intensity duel lighting and ERP submitted was 500 to 1640 watts.
    Could R.F. exposure jepordize my health from this tower?
    Your thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

  34. Nanook,

    It has been awaile since I have seen a post here, but I will try. I moved into an apartment building on the top floor and I never really thought about the sector anetenna’s on the side of my unit until I saw a news linking towers to health issues. There are two sector antenna’s (Pointing away of course), outside my bedroom wall. I have children and am concerned about high RF exposure. I am going to measure, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on this one. Thank you in advance.

    Todd

  35. Nanook,

    I moved into an apartment with my family and there are two sector antenna’s on the side of our building outside our bedroom. Based on news reports I have concerns as to why these are on the side of the building and not on top. I am also concerned about the health risk to my children sleeping in that room. I am going to measure but wanted to get your thoughts.

    • Honestly? I think it’s alarmist bullshit. Why aren’t there any citations let alone links to these so called studies? If there was a real danger there it would show up in human epidemiological studies but so far it’s not. I give you this quote from J. Mark Elwood from the National Cancer Control Initiative in Melbourne Australia, he states, “Epidemiological studies of radio frequency (RF) exposures and human cancers include studies of military and civilian occupational groups, people who live near television and radio transmitters, and users of mobile phones. Many types of cancer have been assessed, with particular attention given to leukemia and brain tumors. The epidemiological results fall short of the strength and consistency of evidence that is required to come to a conclusion that RF emissions are a cause of human cancer.”

      The fact is that levels of radiation are easily measured and areas high intensity are widely known so it would not be hard to correlate disease with exposure to microwave radiation if it were in fact a problem.

      And then IF it ever were to become known as a problem do we worry about cell sites with peak power levels of around 900 watts and average of about 30 watts, or do we worry about UHF television stations with power levels of megawatts and radar stations with peak power levels sometimes in the gigawatts?

      My own personal belief is that using broad band spread spectrum signalling techniques such as that used in modern cell phone and internet access schemes at relatively low power levels is much more efficient than high power single channel per carrier transmission schemes used by radio and television and so in terms of reducing the total exposure to radiation, and especially radiation that is intense enough to have thermal and real health effects, the proliferation of cell and internet access towers is a good thing.

      It’s also good from an energy consumption standpoint and as a society I think the dangers we face from continuing to dump large quantities of CO2 into the air are far greater than those we face from microwave radiation.

  36. Hi Nanook, doesn’t look like there’s been any action on this blog since last year, so, hope this works. Your comments have been very informative. Thanks. Just wondering what your thoughts are on the safety of 5.8 and 6.0 GHz cordless phones & bases. I own two of each. I can’t seem to find much credible research on them as they are so new. The following paper makes a good argument for erring on the side of caution:

    http://www.emfacts.com/papers/dect.pdf

    However, I’m a complete novice, so I would be greatful for an informed opinion. Thanks.

    • Google killed FTP publishing, but now I’ve converted this to WordPress.

      A note about that too, Google publicly stated the reason they did so was because peoples FTP servers weren’t working and they end up taking the blame when FTP publishing failed. Well, I’m here to tell you, MY FTP server worked just fine and their FTP publishing STILL frequently timed out even though I could FTP to my server fine WHILE their publishing was failing. They had a problem, didn’t want to admit to it, didn’t want to deal with it, so they just killed it. Personally, I think that sucks but such is life. This is better anyway, now they have zero control over the content.

  37. lots of good info here. Thanks for taking the time Nanook. I’ve been freaked out the last few days once finding out a 190 ft. monopole communications tower was trying to locate about 300-400 yards from our community. While our community is still displeased, I at least feel a bit better after reading your rational posts. Still more research to do though.

    Thanks again

    Dennis

  38. Hi, I am from India. Planning to purchase and move into a flat which is surrounded by 30-40 IT companies. I have one kid. Is it safe to live near the IT companies, any radiation issues you foresee?

  39. Nanook, there are other effects from cell towers RF on biological tissues besides the thermal effect. Biological tissues rely on electrical impulses to maintain functionality. RF can distort/disturb electrical fields and induce long term changes in tissue functionality. Again, why do we consider only THERMAL effects?

    • Biological tissues, specifically nerve tissues do rely on electrical impulses but they are in the order of several hertz to several tens of hertz, not megahertz or gigahertz. If you want an example of this, stick your finger in a light socket. At 60 Hz you’ll definitely feel a tingle from the stimulation of the nerves in your finger (make sure you’re not grounded while you do this or that 60 Hz current flowing through your heart might put it into fibrillation and it might be the last thing you feel). Now, get one of those little plasma globes, they have something like a miniature Tesla coil in them, basically a high voltage transformer that operates at between 10-30 kilohertz. If you touch the wire from it, you’ll get a burn on your finger. You won’t feel a tingle or shock because at several tens of kilohertz your nerves can no longer respond and so the only thing you feel is the thermal effects. Now move on up to Microwaves and you’re dealing with frequencies 100,000 times higher than you have from that plasma globe, way out of the range to which your nervous system can respond.

      Now there are some exceptions, if you have metal in your head, and it’s got joints that are a bit oxidized, they can play diodes, and if the signal is modulated, the modulation components can be recovered by the diode effect of those oxidized joints and they might fall within the range that your nervous system can respond to. At really strong signal intensities, there might be enough non-linearity in tissue to do that, but that’s at power levels way above what you’re going to get for a cell or internet access tower and probably to power levels where there are thermal effects as well.

  40. Hi, Nanook,

    I hope you are still operating your blog as you are the first source of genuine trustworthy information I found to answer some of my questions but I still have some – about Wireless internet towers. We live in rural Canada and have a wireless internet connection facilitated by a small radio positioned on the roof of the house.This radio transmits and receives the Internet signals to and from towers. The towers are up to 65 feet tall and some are mounted on people’s properties (with their permission of course.) Our internet signal has weakened substantially for the past few months for some reason (after nearly two years of high speed) and the only solution ISP arrived to is the installation of one of those towers on our property. We agreed to it. There going to be 65ft tower positioned very close to the house. Can you give an educated info on the health effects that might give us?
    With respect,
    Olivia

    • I’m guessing the reason your signal has decreased is because the noise levels have increased as other services have come online or there are new obstructions between you and the old tower.

      Without knowing the power levels, frequencies, type of service, etc, I can’t be real specific but as long as that 65 feet is substantially above the house and you’re not in the plain of the antenna and very close to it, you’ll probably be okay. This is because the antennas are directional in the vertical plane and radiate their power mostly out horizontally and not a lot upwards to the sky or down to the ground.

      Assuming the transmitter is not over a kilowatt and you’re at least 30 feet from the antenna, I think you’re safe. If it’s higher power, or you’re closer, then I’d be concerned. There isn’t a lot of evidence for effects at microwave frequencies at power levels below the point where it causes thermal effects that is solid.

      I’ve seen studies that look at cell phones, which today are generally 100mw or less, and show evidence of cancer for people who were using them 20 years ago, but 20 years ago, they were five watt not 100mw and there were substantial thermal effects (I can speak from personal experience, I had one of those 5-watters and it would heat up the whole side of your head).

      There are people who claim to be extremely sensitive and get headaches and dizziness with exposure to low levels of EMF but I’ve yet to see a single study that takes those individuals and does a double blind study to see if in fact there is ANY relationship between electromagnetic energy (when they aren’t told it’s present) and their symptoms. People imagine all sorts of things.

      People make the argument that the human nervous system uses very low potentials and thus could be disrupted by such signals but human beings nerves operate at frequencies of from a few hertz to a few tens of hertz, not gigahertz. Low frequency electromagnetic radiation is problematic at low levels but no evidence that is true of microwaves.

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