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Cell towers emit a type of radiation.

Cell towers have wireless antennas that emit radiofrequency radiation (RFR). When these antennas are close to our homes and schools, our daily exposures to antenna emissions are increased. 

We can turn our cell phones off, but we cannot turn a cell tower off. The cell tower exposures are nonstop day and night. 

Scientists recommend children’s exposure to this type of radiation be reduced.

Hundreds of scientists are urging that our exposure to cell towers, cell phones, and other wireless radiation emissions be reduced due to the scientific evidence showing effects at legally allowable levels. These scientists have written letters to schools and policymakers urging that children and the public be protected.  

Published peer-reviewed science has linked cell tower radiation to harmful effects.

Researchers have studied cell towers and cell tower radiation for decades.  Effects from RFR documented in scientific research include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, headaches, sleep issues, genetic damage, changes to the reproductive system, memory deficits, and impacts to the nervous system.

Many biological effects have been documented at very low intensities comparable to what people might experience within 500 feet of a cell tower. 

However, industry and industry-funded scientific groups dismiss these studies. 

Children are more vulnerable. 

Children are most vulnerable to cell phone radiation as they absorb it deeper into their brains and bodies. A child’s developing brain and organ systems are more sensitive to environmental stressors. Even if the radiation absorption were the same as in adults, the effects in children can be far more serious. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Child webpage states:

Electromagnetic Fields: A Hazard to Your Health?

“In recent years, concern has increased about exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones and phone station antennae. An Egyptian study confirmed concerns that living nearby mobile phone base stations increased the risk of developing:

  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems

Short-term exposure to these fields in experimental studies have not always shown negative effects, but this does not rule out cumulative damage from these fields, so larger studies over longer periods are needed to help understand who is at risk. In large studies, an association has been observed between symptoms and exposure to these fields in the everyday environment.”

 

School cell towers are plagued by transparency issues.

The cell tower application process tends to be plagued by transparency issues. Too often, people find out a cell tower is coming and think they have no way to stop it.

Notably, many communities have halted school cell towers in the final hour. Some schools have even had cell towers removed or relocated after strong community opposition. 

FCC limits are not protective.

Hundreds of scientists have evaluated the cell tower radiation exposure limits of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the International Commission for Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and found the limits are decades outdated and not protective to the health of the public, especially not the health of children. 

Tower in Melbourne Australia above kindergarten

Environmental pollution from cell towers is a human rights issue for children.

Human rights experts argue that cell tower placement near schools is a human rights issue for children because “protection of children is a high threshold norm in Human Right  law” and “any widespread or systematic form of environmental pollution that poses a long-term threat to a child’s rights to life, development or health may constitute an international human rights violation.” 

5G can be easily added to cell towers once they are built. 

Cell towers have 2G, 3G, and 4G antennas. 5G antennas are being added to base stations worldwide. After a cell tower is erected, new antennas can be easily added and generally without any  (or minimal) public participation in the decision-making process. 5G antennas can be mounted on both shorter so-called “small cells” and larger “macro” towers.  

Cell tower radiation is classified as “High Risk” by insurance companies. 

Insurance companies do not insure for long-term damages from the electromagnetic radiation emitted by these towers. 5G, cell tower radiation, and electromagnetic fields are all repeatedly classified as “high risk” and compared to asbestos in insurance white papers. 

A review paper entitled “Limiting liability with positioning to minimize negative health effects of T cellular phone towers” reviewed the “large and growing body of evidence that human exposure to RFR from cellular phone base stations causes negative health effects” and recommends restricting antennas within 500 m of schools and hospitals to protect companies from future liability.

Property values go down when you can see the cell tower. 

School cell towers are usually in neighborhoods. Cell towers near homes are eyesores and can devalue properties, lower the selling price, and in turn, can impact the tax base of the area. 

EHT has compiled data on property decreases from cell towers here. 

Cell towers can catch fire and they contain hazardous material. 

Cell towers can catch fire and create serious safety issues due to the equipment and inadequate worker safety procedures in place. Cell tower compounds contain hazardous equipment such as diesel fuel and lead-acid batteries. There have been accidents where these tanks leak, polluting the area. 

Firefighter union efforts featured in CBS San Francisco Investigation on 5G Cell Towers

Firefighter unions have long opposed cell towers on their stations. 

  • The International Association of Firefighters has officially opposed cell towers on its stations since 2004 after a study found neurological damage in firefighters with antennas on their fire stations. 
  • In 2017 when 5G “small cells” were coming to California, firefighter organizations came out in strong opposition to bill SB649, and it was amended to exempt their stations from the small cell deployment. 

Decisionmakers are aware that government cell tower radiation limits do not protect children from biological effects. 

The Los Angeles Unified School District has banned cell towers on their school campuses and also has set an allowable limit that is 10,000 times lower than the FCC’s limit. LAUSD recognizes there are non-thermal effects and that children are more vulnerable. 

In India, the government reset its limits to 1/10th of ICNIRP after an inter-Ministerial report documented impacts to birds and bees. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, and regions of Zilla Parishad, Rajasthan, and Mumbai have all banned cell antenna/tower installations on schools.

Several countries have stricter allowable cell tower radiation limits for what are termed “sensitive” areas. Cell antennas are always placed at a distance from these sensitive areas to comply with this policy.

Chile’s “Antenna Law” prohibits cell antennas/towers in what they define as “sensitive areas,” meaning schools, nurseries, hospitals, and nursing homes. 

(Note: LAUSD policy is a step in the right direction but it still is inadequate and current implementation of technology in the buildings are non-protective.) 

“There is a large and growing body of evidence that human exposure to RFR from cellular phone base stations causes negative health effects (Siddoo-Atwal, 2018; Singh et al., 2018; Faisal, et al., 2018) including both i) neuropsychiatric complaints such as headache, concentration difficulties, memory changes, dizziness, tremors, depressive symptoms, fatigue and sleep disturbance (Navarro et al., 2003Hutter et al., 2006; Abdel-Rassoul et al., 2007); and ii) increased incidence of cancer and living in proximity to a cell-phone transmitter station (Wolf and Wolf, 2004; Havas, 2017).”

-Limiting liability with positioning to minimize negative health effects of cellular phone towers (Pearce 2020)

 

There is no proof of safety. 

In 2011, radiofrequency radiation (RFR) was classified as a Class 2B possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, and that classification includes radiofrequency from all sources including cell tower radiation. Since that date, the published peer-reviewed scientific evidence has significantly increased. Now, many scientists are of the opinion that currently, the weight of available peer-reviewed evidence supports the conclusion that radiofrequency radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen. 

Researchers have long researched the health of people living near cell towers. Here are some examples of published research. 

  • A 2017 study evaluated effects in the blood of individuals living near mobile phone base stations and found higher exposures linked to changes in the blood that are considered biomarkers predictive of cancer. 

  • A 2018 study found school-aged adolescents exposed to higher levels of RFR exposure had delayed fine and gross motor skills, spatial working memory, and attention in comparison to those exposed to lower RFR levels. 

  • A 2015 study of elementary students found higher Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in students exposed to higher levels of RFR. 

  • A 2011 review found a year of operation of a powerful cell base station resulted in a dramatic increase in cancer incidence among the population living nearby.  

 

  • Researchers with the renowned Ramazzini Institute in Italy published findings that lab animals exposed to levels of RFR below FCC limits developed the same types of cancerous tumors as the US National Toxicology Program found in its large-scale animal study. The Ramazzini study was designed to investigate effects at levels comparable to cell network antenna base stations. 

 

  • Studies also find that when RFR is combined with lead or a known carcinogen, RFR can magnify the carcinogen’s effects. For example, a 2015 replication study found RFR at levels far below FCC limits more than doubled the numbers of liver and lung tumors in carcinogen-exposed mice. 

  • Published research finds wireless frequencies impact wildlife. For example, studies have found that the radiation alters bird navigation and disturbs honeybee colonies. Research also shows adverse impacts on trees and plants. 

Research studies find that a cell tower near a school will increase student and staff exposure. 

When cell antennas are located near a school, the environmental levels of RF usually will increase. This is common sense and a matter of math and physics. The RF increases inside the school will generally be highest in classrooms where the windows are in line of sight with antennas. 

  • A 2017 study looked at RFR levels to which kindergarten children were exposed, depending on how close their school was to base stations/cell towers. Children carried RFR measuring devices. Researchers found that children in kindergartens located near to cell antennas had total radiofrequency exposures more than 3 times higher than children at schools where cell antennas were further away. 
  • A 2018 study measured radiofrequency radiation exposures in the environment, including emissions from cell phone towers, TV and FM radio broadcast antennas, cell phone handsets, and Wi-Fi—in several countries including the United States. The researchers concluded that cell phone tower (base station) radiation emissions are the dominant contributor to RFR exposure in most outdoor areas.  
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