At present telecommunication companies can erect a cell phone tower/mast without consulting the community it will affect. As many communities are unfortunately finding out, this means these towers can be erected anywhere, most concerning being outside residential homes, Early Childhood Centres and Schools.
To feed the unquenchable demand for cell phone and wireless technologies, stronger cell towers are being erected throughout residential and commercial neighbourhoods, their emissions covering our homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals and recreation areas.
Worryingly, some research shows that those living in close proximity to cell towers may be more at risk. A study by the Kaplan Medical Centre in Israel found, after long-term exposure, a four-fold increase in cancer amongst residents living within 350 metres of a cell tower and a ten-fold increase specifically in women.
These findings were replicated in the 2004 Naila study in Germany, which reviewed case notes of patients living within 400 metres of cell phone towers over a 10-year period. The proportion of newly developing cancers was found to be significantly higher in this group compared to those living further away from the towers in the same town.
In a study published in 2011 by Professor Bucher and Dr. Eger, the community of Rimbach in Lower Bavaria was monitored before and after the installation of a new cell phone tower. They found cell towers could be a health hazard for those living around them, and that children, and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and allergies, reacted more strongly than healthy adults. ‘In Rimbach the increase in sleep problems, cephalgia, vertigo, concentration problems, and allergies could be clinically documented after the cell phone base station had been activated.’
Risk factors from cell towers to take into account include whether the tower has a single antenna or has multiple antennas (intensifying exposure); height and mass differences between men, women and children; and the effects of simultaneous exposures from other radio frequency emitting devices e.g. nearby Wi-Fi hotspots.
Better protection of public health needed
Since September 2008 when the New Zealand government enacted the ‘National Environmental Standard for Telecommunications Facilities’, members of the public have no legal right to object to cell phone towers being erected in front of their homes, schools or workplaces. The industry is required to limit the amount of radiation emitted from the equipment to that specified under NZ standard 2772:1. This is no comfort given the findings of the BioInitiative Report, which finds ICNIRP standards to be incapable of protecting the public from the non-thermal effects.4
Current regulation standards for cell phone technology in New Zealand, as in most Western nations, clearly do not meet precautionary requirements. This means accumulative long-term exposure to this type of radiation could be injurious to our health.
Excerpt taken from “Cellphone dangers: A case for caution” Written by Anne Gastinger for Organic NZ Magazine, May/June 2012
1. Journal of Neurology and Neurophysiology, 24 December 2011, www.omicsonline.org/2155-9562/2155-9562-S5-003.pdf
2. Dr. Karl Manet, ‘The Biological effects of Electromagnetic Fields’, www.electromagnetichealth.org
4. International Journal of Cancer Prevention, April 2004, www.vws.org/CellPhoneTowerEffects.html