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Yesterday I got a request to install a cellphone tower on my building. The company is going to pay me fair amount but I heard that cell tower radiations cause some serious health issues.

Are they safe?

Related Questions:

  • [After consideration, I am of the opinion this is not a duplicate, as it is asking about towers not cell-phone use, even though I suspect the physiology and physics is very similar and will have the same answer. If you disagree, please vote to close.] – Oddthinking Mar 25 '14 at 0:29
  • Also related: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6566/… – nico Mar 25 '14 at 19:18
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    Would you count the construction risk associated with somebody climbing a ladder to install them? Or the operations risk of something falling off and hitting somebody on the round? The first is relatively high, as with all construction work. The second is low, but my guess still higher than any impact of the cellphone signals. – Henry Apr 23 '14 at 13:17
  • Related article: Cell Towers & Cancer. – kenorb Feb 7 '15 at 22:19
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Link between Cell Towers and Cancer Elusive

A quick search on cell phone towers and cancer provides many results, some state cell phone towers are dangerous because it can cause cancer, while some others state that tests regarding cell phone towers and cell phone usage are inconclusive with regards to cancer, though there are chances of increased risks in some cases.

Many scientific studies have investigated possible health symptoms of mobile phone radiation. These studies are occasionally reviewed by some scientific committees to assess overall risks. A 2007 assessment published by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) concludes that the three lines of evidence, viz. animal, in vitro, and epidemiological studies, indicate that "exposure to RF fields is unlikely to lead to an increase in cancer in humans".

Studies in people

Very few human studies have focused specifically on cellular phone towers and cancer risk.

  • In one large study, British researchers compared a group of more than 1,000 families of young children with cancer against a similar group of families of children without cancer. They found no link between a mother’s exposure to the towers during pregnancy (based on the distance from the home to the nearest tower and on the amount of energy given off by nearby towers) and the risk of early childhood cancer.

  • In another study, researchers compared a group of more than 2,600 children with cancer to a group of similar children without cancer. They found that those who lived in a town that could have exposed them to higher than average RF radiation from cellular phone towers in the previous 5 years had a slightly higher risk of cancer, although not of any certain type of cancer (like leukemia or brain tumors). This study estimated the children’s possible exposure based on the number of towers in their town and how strong the signals were from the towers. It did not look at actual exposure of any individual child based on how far their home or school was from a tower.

  • One study looked for signs of DNA and cell damage in blood cells as a possible indicator of cancer-causing potential. They found that the damage was no worse in people who lived near a cell phone tower as compared with those didn’t.

The amount of exposure from living near a cell phone tower is typically many times lower than the exposure from using a cell phone. About 30 studies have looked at possible links between cell phone use and tumors in people. Most studies to date have not found a link between cell phone use and the development of tumors, although these studies have had some important limitations.

Studies done in the lab

Laboratory studies have looked at whether the types of RF waves used in cell phone communication can cause DNA damage. Most of these studies have supported the idea that the RF waves given off by cell phones and towers don't have enough energy to damage DNA directly.

Some scientists have reported that the RF waves may produce other effects in human cells (in lab dishes) that might possibly help tumors grow. However, these studies have not been verified, and these effects weren’t seen in a study that looked at the blood cells from people living near a cellular phone tower.

Several studies in rats and mice have looked at whether RF energy might promote the development of tumors caused by other known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). These studies did not find evidence of tumor promotion. Research in this area continues.

Source: Cancer.org - Cell Phone Towers

Ionizing Radiation Image Source Safe Space: Ionising and Non-Ionising Radiation

Conclusion

Though it is a popular belief that excessive cell phone usage and high proximity of cell towers cause cancer, but there isn't substantial scientific evidence to support this claim. This doesn't mean there aren't risks that come with cell tower proximity; there could be risks we don't know of yet. The research done isn't enough to give a definitive answer. In any case, take precautions, because there might be a link and we just don't know of it yet.


PS: Watch Veritasium's video Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors? for a more info.


Source of Quotations: Wikipedia - Mobile Phone Radiation & Health

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    You first title, "Link between Cell Towers and Cancer well Hidden", implies that there is a definitive link, you just have to look at the right data. But if I'm reading correctly, you're only saying there may be a weak link, but there is no consensus. – Kip Mar 29 '14 at 14:52
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    I would like to know the original source of the final picture, cited in Inspiration Green. It looks awfully like what I would expect to happen if someone held a warm device against their ear for 15 minutes, even if it wasn't radiating anything but heat from the battery. In any case, that is an question about the dangers of phones (asked elsewhere), not the dangers of towers. – Oddthinking Apr 23 '14 at 13:08
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Cell towers, cellphones, microwave ovens, radio towers, TV towers, etc... work using non ionising radiation (with frequency that is less than visible light) like microwave radiation and radio. So they don't cause cancer but produce heat. Still I personally prefer not accepting this because it's not 100% confirmed. "The radiation emitted by mobile phones falls into the category of non-ionising radiation – lower energy radiation that doesn’t have enough energy to damage our cells. Visible light, infrared, microwaves and radio waves are all forms of non-ionising radiation." http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=84 states that no damage is caused by non-ionising radiation like infrared received on huge amounts daily from the sun. In contrast, ionising radiation like ultraviolet, X rays, gamma rays can ionise an object - i.e. they gave enough energy to pull an electron out of the atom. This type of radiation causes damage. The article also stresses on the idea that a banana produces ionising radiation since it contains a lot of potassium (a radioactive element). So it is more dangerous than your phone, but still not dangerous enough to kill you. Your body can deal with such small amounts normally.

  • 2
    Please read Welcome to New Users -- the purpose of this site is to provide references with any answer. – ChrisW Feb 8 '15 at 13:56
  • @ChrisW I am new to Stack Exchange so I am doing my best to my answers be good enough for the website. – jad Feb 8 '15 at 15:24
  • @jad Being new doesn't excuse you from the rules of each site, and Skeptics has pretty stiff requirements compared to much of the Stack Exchange network. One of those requirements is authoritative sources. May I recommend temporarily deleting this post until you have time to put it into shape? – dmckee Feb 8 '15 at 18:19
  • Could you explain the article more in your answer? You seem to leave a lot of important things out. – HDE 226868 Feb 8 '15 at 22:14

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