Cell Antennas and Health: The State of the Science
1:00 pm US Eastern Time
Speaker Presentation Slides
Dr. Henry Lai: presentation slides (PDF)
Biological effect from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays, B. Blake Levitt and Henry Lai
Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? (excerpt from the book: Biological Effects of Radiofrequency Radiations from Wireless Transmission Towers) (PDF)
Additional publications on cell towers (plus abstracts) (PDF)
Public health implications of wireless technologies, Cindy Sage and David Carpenter
As data demands of cellular devices including smart phones and WI-FI grow exponentially, cell carrier companies install more cell antennas—eliciting health concerns from residents whose homes, schools and work places are close to these installations. Firefighters, for example, have expressed concerns about cell antennas on fire houses.
Measuring exposures from cell antennas can be dauntingly complex. So is estimating risk. Many people are concerned about the cumulative impacts of nearby commercial cell antenna installations, cell phone use, wi-fi systems and smartmeters. US law prohibits communities from considering health impacts when contesting commercial cell antenna placements.
On this call hosted by the CHE-EMF Working Group, we explored several questions: What do we know about the health effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted cellular antennas? And what are the public health implications? How do we compare risks of nearby cell antennas to other EMF risks such as cell phone use, ubiquitous wi-fi networks, and smartmeters? What factors mitigate such exposures? What practical actions can be taken to safeguard public health in the absence of more stringent national standards?
Henry Lai, PhD, research professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington. Dr. Lai's research focuses on the biological effects of nonionizing radiation, from extremely-low-frequency to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Dr. Lai says of his work, "My research end points cover molecular biology, neurochemistry, and behavior. The main goals of the research are to understand the mechanism of interaction between electromagnetic fields and biological systems and to correlate biological changes with energy absorption in the body. The data would be useful in the setting of electromagnetic field exposure standards for humans. This area of research has gained public attention in recent years because of the increased use of electric power and radiofrequency energy. In the case of radiofrequency radiation, the tremendous increase in the use of cellular telephone and wireless communication systems have raised concern on the possible health effects of the radiation."
B. Blake Levitt, CHE-EMF partner and award-winning journalist, is an award-winning journalist who has specialized in medical and science writing for nearly two decades. She has researched the biological effects of nonionizing radiation since the late 1970s. A former New York Times freelance contributor, she has written widely on medical issues for both the lay and professional audience. Ms. Levitt is the editor/contributing author of Cell Towers, Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? Proceedings of the “Cell Towers Forum” State of the Science/State of the Law (Safe Goods/New Century Publishing, 2001). She is also the author of Electromagnetic Fields, A Consumer’s Guide To The Issues And How To Protect Ourselves (Harcourt Brace, edition 1995; iUniverse BackinPrint edition 2007), for which she won an Award of Excellence from the New England Chapter of The American Medical Writers Association.
The call was moderated by Michael Lerner, President of Commonweal.