We’ve all seen them – those tall, ugly masts holding any number of cellular transmitter/receivers. Without them we wouldn’t have the modern convenience of the cell, or mobile, phone in Israel or the rest of the Middle East. Are these cell phone towers simply eye-sores, or cause for real concern? Are the NIMBY’S – Not In My Back Yard’ers – just hysterical alarmists?
In order for our cell phones to operate everywhere and anywhere, the towers must be numerous enough and spaced such that the cells – the area of communication/interaction must overlap. The transmitters create a 360 degree radius of low frequencies, generally in the ranges of 4.26 hertz, 8.33 hertz, 217 hertz and 1.73 KHz.
Microcells, which appear as boxes attached to buildings and located less than 10 meters above the ground radiate no more than 5 watts of energy. Next time you’re out and about town, see if you can spot these.
Radio waves of these frequencies in and of themselves pose no threat. What makes cellular frequencies a hazard to human health is that they are pulsing, microwave, Information Carrying Waves (ICW). The frequencies carry packets of information, converting radio signals to voice and voice to radio and sending these packets of information along in pulsing waves in order to carry as much information as possible. These waves, unlike many other frequencies we’re exposed to day-in and day-out, do not pass undetected by the human body.The closer we are to the cell tower or micro-cell when we place a call, the less power the cell phone needs to complete the connection. This is why the safety guidelines from the Israeli Ministry of Health, as well as the Environmental Working Group’s (www.EWG.org) safe cell phone guide recommend making calls where reception is good. When reception is bad, the phone must increase its power, which then emits more radiation.
If better reception results in lower radiation exposure from the cell phone itself, then the solution must be to increase the number of cell phone towers, right? That is precisely what the Israeli Ministry of Environment recommends. In any case, cell phone market demands are constantly increasing so the need for more antennas increases in order to carry the load. Each cell is limited as to how many calls it can carry at one time. That’s what happens when the ‘cells are jammed’ during a time of national crisis and everyone is trying to use their phone.
The safety standards set for cell phone and cell phone tower emissions are based on ICNIRP (International Committee for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection – www.ICNIRP.net) recommendations. Unfortunately, this standard is based only on thermal affects of radiation exposure, and do not take into account the numerous studies showing non-thermal biological affects.
Two recent studies, for example, showed that proximity to cell phone towers increases cancer rates. In Germany, data gathered from 1000 patients over a 10-year period found a three-fold increase newly diagnosed cases of those living within 400 meters of the mobile phone tower. There is no heavy industry in the same area or other factors that would account for the increase in cancer rate. They also found that the new cases developed, on average, eight years earlier.
The second study, carried out by Tel Aviv University, found over a four-fold increased risk for cancer for those living within 350 meters of a tower, with 7 out of 8 cases being women.
And, who is taking the measurements to make sure the towers are within standards? According the the Israeli Ministry of Environment website, the cell phone companies are responsible to check the radiation levels and report any irregularities to the relevant authorities. That’s just like expecting drivers to report themselves for running a red light, or any other traffic violation!
The authorities themselves do not carry out regular inspections and only if there’s a complaint filed does the antenna get checked after its initial installation.
“Are there periodic antenna checks in order to check that they’re in normal working order and compliant with the standard?
Answer: Repeat checks are carried when there are changes in transmission. Some of the local authorities require that the cell phone companies carry out periodic checks. According to the conditions of the exemption given to the cell phone companies, the cell phone companies are required to carry out repeat measurements when requested to do so by the authority in charge of radiation in the Ministry of the Environment.”
[article author’s translation]
In many countries, the U.S. and in Europe, cell phone towers have been removed from school roofs, churches, near playgrounds and most places where children spend their hours. Most people object to these antennas near where they work or live. The only way to reduce the number of towers cropping up is to reduce our dependency on cell phones. Use them for emergencies and very short calls only.
The author, Esti Allina, is a resident of Netanya, wife and mother to 4 boys and out of her concern about the potential health effects of EMF and cell phone radiation exposure, has committed herself to education people about the problem and solutions through the company she founded, SafeCell Ltd (http://www.Safe-Cell.net).
Her blog: http://about.cell-phone-cancer.info