Cell Phone and Cell Tower Safety

I continue to receive e-mail from folks who are concerned about cell phone and cell tower safety.

It is my position that cell towers do not represent a safety risk, at least in so much as the RF radiation from them being a health hazard is concerned. I do believe that modern hand held cell phones, which operate with a maximum power of 100mw but typically much less than that, pose a very minimal but non-zero risk, and that the older 3 watt and 5 watt units were a significant health risk.

Regarding risks posed by cell towers, you may wish to read this article entitled, “Health Symptoms Aren’t Linked to Cell Tower Emissions, Study Finds…” in Science Daily.

I’ve added a new section to the sidebar links with related information, and in particular there is a new link to this FCC Website, “Human Exposure To Radio Frequency Fields from Cellular and PCS Transmitters“.

It may seem odd that I’d take a position that cell towers are not harmful, whereas cell phones may pose some health risks, but the reason is very simple. RF fields decrease rapidly with increasing distance from the emitter. You hold a cell phone up to the side of your skull where there are only a few millimeters from your cell phone antenna to your brain. But it is unlikely you will get any closer than tens of meters to a cell tower antenna. In short, the exposure you will receive from a cell phone that you use will exceed that from a tower by a factor of thousands.

If you really want to get excited about RF fields, I’d be much more concerned about these things in this order, HAARP (High Active Aurora Research Program), high power RADAR, UHF television stations, VHF television stations, FM stations, AC wiring in your house, CRT televisions and computer monitors, AC above ground transmission lines, ULF submarine communications systems.

What all of these things have in common is that they either operate at power levels that are high enough to have thermal effects on people close to them, or they operate on frequencies that are low enough to cause ion transport issues across cell walls, both of which are known mechanisms that can induce cancer and other health problems. HAARP has the unique distinction of having both of these properties making it a double threat to health.

With respect to cell phones and cell towers, what I would really like to find are recent large scale studies that attempt to analyze statistical correlations between living in proximity to cell towers and health issues, and studies that do the same for cell phone usage. My hunch is that no health issues will be related to cell towers, save maybe for one falling and injuring someone physically, but that there may be some issues with heavy uses of cell phones although I don’t expect that to be significant. But I’m really interested in actual numbers rather than conjecture and sensationalistic crapolla.

One issue to be aware of is that when you read of long term studies finding risks, and those are studies that go back ten years or more; you are getting into an era when high powered, as much as five watt, handsets were used that did cause thermal effects, and it is not at all surprising to me that those sets did cause significant health issues.

2 thoughts on Cell Phone and Cell Tower Safety

  1. I don’t believe that any existing implementations of standard protocols for providing internet access represent a threat at distances greater than 30 feet inline with the plane of the antenna.

    There are a variety of proprietary radios that may operate at significantly higher power and I am not familiar enough with those to know to what degree if any that they may represent a hazard.

    I think the greatest danger is probably from the tower falling on you, or stress hormones resulting from worrying about it too much.

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