As much as we enjoy the convenience of mobile phones, an increasingly prominent issue is that of the dangers of cell phone towers. Is it safe to live in close proximity to a cell tower? What are the possible health effects?
A New Age of Mobile Communication
The history of cell phones goes back more than 20 years, but they were nowhere near as prevalent back then than they are today. The first mobile phones, largely manufactured by Motorola, were used by businesspeople and other folks who absolutely had to stay connected with the office. As the technology got more affordable, consumers started to get in on the cellular action and it just started to snowball.
In order to satisfy the needs of this growing demographic, cellular providers such as T-Mobile and Sprint had to erect more towers. Without more towers, they would not be able to offer decent reception and uninterrupted service. Early towers were few and far between, but the number of cell "sites" has increased more than tenfold since 1994. At this alarming rate of growth, it is nearly impossible to gauge the possible dangers of cell phone towers. What was safe in 1993 may not be safe today, given the much higher level of radiation we are exposed to on a daily basis.
With our increasing need to stay connected, many of us are forgetting about the possible dangers of cell phone towers. There have been several reports of people who have suffered a variety of conditions, possibly as a result of living near cell towers.
Possible Dangers of Cell Phone Towers
The possible dangers of cell phone towers are wide-reaching and numerous. Some people may only consider the issues of driving safety and cell phones, but the chronic exposure to cellular radiation may have some harmful effects as well. Moreover, many people assume that the radiation isn't that bad because the towers are further out in the country; the fact of the matter is that cell phone towers have been erected right in our communities, getting attached to schools, churches, firehouses, and even national parks.
Among the health concerns related to exposure to cell towers are:
- Abnormal cell growth promotion
- DNA damage
- Reduced immune system competence
- Sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, depression
- Weakened blood-brain barrier
- Childhood and adult leukemia
- Eye cancer
- Infertility and miscarriage
- Attention span deficit and general memory loss
- Sleep disturbance and chronic fatigue
- Brain tumors
- Cardiac problems
And the health effects are not only restricted to humans. A study conducted by the Institute of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy of the Veterinary School of Hanover (Germany) found that dairy cows were effected by their proximity to cell phone tower sites. The cows had reduced milk production and increased behavioral abnormalities. When the cows were removed from the area, the strange behavior subsided after five days. Upon returning to the antenna site, the symptoms returned.
Evidence is Inconclusive
As it stands, there is some evidence supporting the claim that there are significant dangers of cell phone towers, particularly affecting the health of residents in the area. If you live in a metropolitan area, there is a good chance that you are being exposed to the radiation on a continual basis and it's hard to say for certain how significant are the effects of this exposure. The fact of the matter is, if you have a cellular signal, you're beng exposed to low-level radiation.
The studies that have been conducted thus far have not proven that cell towers cause health problems, because the relationship has been shown to be a correlation only. Furthermore, if you were to ask those involved in the industry, they would tell you that the exposure on the ground is fairly insignificant. The radiation emitted by a cell tower is typically "thousands of times less than the exposure levels recommended as safe by expert organizations."
The evidence, at best, is inconclusive at this point, so you'll just have to come to your own conclusions.