As of February 6, 2021, www.antennasearch.com, an industry website, reported 803,000 cell towers and 2.1 million cell antennas in the United States. Texas has the most cell towers (80,300), and California has the most cell antennas (151,000). We cannot verify the accuracy of these data because the FCC only collects data on certain types of cell towers.
Following are some resources regarding the health effects of exposure to cell tower radiation.
Introduction: During the last few decades, hundreds of thousands of mobile phone base stations and other types of wireless communications antennas have been installed around the world, in cities and in nature, including protected natural areas, in addition to pre-existing antennas (television, radio broadcasting, radar, etc.). Only the aesthetic aspects or urban regulations have been generally considered in this deployment, while the biological, environmental and health impacts of the associated non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation emissions have not been assessed so far. Therefore, the effects on humans living around these anthropogenic electromagnetic field sources (antennas) have not been considered.
In France, there is a significant contribution of mobile phone base stations in the exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) of urban citizens living nearby (De Giudici et al., 2021). Some studies from India indicate that more than 15% of people have levels of EMF strength above 12 V/m due to their proximity to antennas (Premlal and Eldhose, 2017). Exposure estimates have shown that RF-EMF from mobile telephone systems is stronger in urban than in rural areas. For instance, in Sweden the levels of RF radiation have increased considerably in recent years, both outdoor and indoor, due to new telecommunication technologies, and the median power density measured for RF fields between 30 MHz and 3 GHz was 16 μW/m2 in rural areas, 270 μW/m2 in urban areas and 2400 μW/m2 in city areas (Hardell et al., 2018). Total exposure varies not only between urban and rural areas but also, depending on residential characteristics, between different floors of a building, with a tendency for building exposure to increase at higher floors (Breckenkamp et al., 2012).
Over the past five decades, and more intensively since the beginning of this century, many studies and several reviews have been published on the effects of anthropogenic electromagnetic radiation on humans living around the antennas. The first studies were carried out with radio and television antennas, investigating increases in cancer and leukaemia (Milham, 1988; Maskarinec et al., 1994; Hocking et al., 1996; Dolk et al., 1997a, 1997b; Michelozzi et al., 1998; Altpeter et al., 2000), as well as around radars (Kolodynski and Kolodynska, 1996; Goldsmith, 1997).
Regarding base station antennas, there are scientific discrepancies in their effects: some studies concluded that there are no health-related effects (e.g. Augner and Hacker, 2009; Blettner et al., 2009; Röösli et al., 2010; Baliatsas et al., 2016) whereas others found increases in cancer and other health problems in humans living around antennas (e.g. Santini et al., 2002; Navarro et al., 2003; Bortkiewicz et al., 2004; Eger et al., 2004; Wolf and Wolf, 2004; Abdel-Rassoul et al., 2007; Khurana et al., 2010; Dode et al., 2011; Shinjyo and Shinjyo, 2014; Gandhi et al., 2015; López et al., 2021; Rodrigues et al., 2021). There is a specific symptomatology linked to radar and RF exposure at low levels, characterized by functional disturbances of the central nervous system (headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, irritability, depression, memory loss, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, difficulty in concentration, dizziness, etc.), that has been termed ‘RF sickness’ (Lilienfeld et al., 1978; Johnson Lyakouris, 1998; Navarro et al., 2003).
Results: The studies that met the selected criteria are presented in chronological order in Table 1, catalogued as Y/N depending on whether or not they found effects. The selected studies cover three types of effects: radiofrequency sickness (RS) (according to Lilienfeld et al., 1978; Johnson Lyakouris, 1998), cancer (C) and changes in biochemical parameters (CBP). Table 1 also includes the authors, year and country, antenna type, study design, diseases and symptoms found/not found and the main conclusions of each study.
For the reasons previously explained, the following studies (n=85) were not considered in this review, even though the conclusions of some of these studies will be discussed later due
to their importance regarding the similarities of the electromagnetic radiation types involved and the effects found in many cases....
The results of this review show three types of effects by base station antennas on the health of humans: radiofrequency sickness, cancer and changes in biochemical parameters (Fig. 1). From among all these studies, most of them found effects (73.6%). Thus, despite some limitations and differences in study design, statistical measures, risk estimates and exposure categories (Khurana et al., 2010), together they provide a consistent view of the effects on the health of people living in the vicinity of base station antennas.
The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is a private organization that issues exposure guidelines that are then adopted by governments, but it has been accused of having conflicts of interest (Hardell and Carlberg, 2020; Hardell et al., 2021). The ICNIRP (2010, 2020) limits are thousands of times above the levels where effects are recorded for both extremely low frequency and RF man-made EMF and account only for thermal effects, whereas the vast majority of recorded effects are non-thermal. These existing guidelines for public health protection only consider the effects of acute intense (thermal) exposures and do not protect from lower level long-term exposures (Israel et al., 2011; Yakimenko et al., 2011; Blank et al., 2015; Starkey, 2016; Belpomme and Irigaray, 2022). The exposure duration is crucial to assess the induced effects.
Conclusion: In the current circumstances, it seems that the scientific experts in the field are very clear about the serious problems we are facing and have expressed this through important appeals (Blank et al., 2015; Hardell and Nyberg, 2020). However, the media, the responsible organizations (World Health Organization, 2015) and the governments are not transmitting this crucial information to the population, who remain uninformed. For these reasons, the current situation will probably end in a crisis not only for health but also for the technology itself, as it is unsustainable and harmful to the environment and the people.
Isabel López, Nazario Félix, Marco Rivera, Adrián Alonso, Ceferino Maestú. What is the radiation before 5G? A correlation study between measurements in situ and in real time and epidemiological indicators in Vallecas, Madrid. Environ Res. 2021 Mar;194:110734. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.110734.
Background: Exposure of the general population to electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phone base stations is one of the greater concerns of residents affected by the proximity of these structures due to the possible relationship between radiated levels and health indicators.
Objectives: This study aimed to find a possible relationship between some health indicators and electromagnetic radiation measurements.
Methods: A total of 268 surveys, own design, were completed by residents of a Madrid neighborhood surrounded by nine telephone antennas, and 105 measurements of electromagnetic radiation were taken with a spectrum analyzer and an isotropic antenna, in situ and in real-time, both outside and inside the houses.
Results: It was shown statistically significant p-values in headaches presence (p = 0.010), nightmares (p = 0.001), headache intensity (p < 0.001), dizziness frequency (p = 0.011), instability episodes frequency (p = 0.026), number of hours that one person sleeps per day (p < 0.001) and three of nine parameters studied from tiredness. Concerning cancer, there are 5.6% of cancer cases in the study population, a percentage 10 times higher than that of the total Spanish population.
Discussion: People who are exposed to higher radiation values present more severe headaches, dizziness and nightmares. Moreover, they sleep fewer hours.
• The population continues to receive radiation peaks in distances greater than 200 meters, no one is free from exposure.
In conclusion, the data obtained shows that there is a relationship between the power density of radiation that a person receives at home every day and the presence of headaches, as well as the presence of sleep disorders. People who receive higher doses of radiation sleep less hours and have nightmares at night. In addition, these people suffer from headaches with greater intensity and are more prone to dizziness. In this study, indicators like fainting episodes, presence of tachycardias or instability cannot be related. No conclusive results were found for fatigue, since, out of nine parameters studied, only a statistically significant relationship was found in three of them. The study of how electromagnetic fields affect health, should not only be done in relation to cancer, but also health indicators related to day to day. The methodology for obtaining electromagnetic radiation measurements should be reviewed, the averaged radiation measurements that are described in the CENELEC standard are not the most appropriate, they should be carried out in a narrow band and with maximum peak measurements.
The abstracts for these seven studies: http://bit.ly/childrencelltower
The above summary was prepared for the following news story:
Mar 10, 2019
The present study has reported that [radiofrequency radiation] increased the frequency of [micronuclei] and [lipid peroxidation] and reduced [glutathione] contents, [catalase] and [superoxide dismutase] activities in the plasma of the exposed individuals. The induction of [micronuclei] may be due to the increase in free-radical production. The present study demonstrated that staying near the mobile base stations and continuous use of mobile phones damage the DNA, and it may have an adverse effect in the long run. The persistence of DNA unrepaired damage leads to genomic instability which may lead to several health disorders including the induction of cancer.
Both anecdotal reports and some epidemiology studies have found headaches, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, depression, decreased libido, increased rates of suicide, concentration problems, dizziness, memory changes, increased risk of cancer, tremors, and other neurophysiological effects in populations near base stations.
The objective of this paper is to review the existing studies of people living or working near cellular infrastructure and other pertinent studies that could apply to long-term, low-level radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposures. While specific epidemiological research in this area is sparse and contradictory, and such exposures are difficult to quantify given the increasing background levels of RFR from myriad personal consumer products, some research does exist to warrant caution in infrastructure siting. Further epidemiology research that takes total ambient RFR exposures into consideration is warranted.
Symptoms reported today may be classic microwave sickness, first described in 1978. Nonionizing electromagnetic fields are among the fastest growing forms of environmental pollution. Some extrapolations can be made from research other than epidemiology regarding biological effects from exposures at levels far below current exposure guidelines.
Epidemiological evidence for a health risk from cell towers
Chronic Exposure Web Site. Research on mobile base stations and their impact on health.
Khurana VG, Hardell L, Everaert J, Bortkiewicz A, Carlberg M, Ahonen M. Epidemiological evidence for a health risk from mobile phone base stations. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2010 Jul-Sep;16(3):263-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20662418
Kundi M, Hutter HP. Mobile phone base stations-Effects on wellbeing and health. Pathophysiology. 16(2-3):123-135. 2009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19261451
Levitt B, Lai H. Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays. Environmental Review. 18:369–395. 2010. .
Sivani S, Sudarsanam D. Impacts of radio-frequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) from cell phone towers and wireless devices on biosystem and ecosystem--a review. Biology and Medicine. 4(4):202-216. 2012. http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/comment/view?id=6017477145
Yakymenko I, Sidorik E, Kyrylenko S, Chekhun V. Long-term exposure to microwave radiation provokes cancer growth: evidences from radars and mobile communication systems. Experimental Oncology. 33(2):62-70. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21716201
Yakymenko I., Tsybulin O., Sidorik E. Henshel D., Krylenko O., Krylenko S. Oxidative mechanisms of biologic activity of low-intensity radiofrequency radiation. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 7:1-16. 2015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26151230
Baliatsas C, van Kamp I, Bolte J, Kelfkens G, van Dijk C, Spreeuwenberg P, Hooiveld M, Lebret E, Yzermans J. Clinically defined non-specific symptoms in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations: A retrospective before-after study. Sci Total Environ. 2016 Sep 15;565:714-20. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27219506
Bienkowski P, Zubrzak B. Electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base station - variability analysis. Electromagn Biol Med. 2015 Sep;34(3):257-61. http://1.usa.gov/1TEXygr
Black B, Granja-Vazquez R, Johnston BR, Jones E, Romero-Ortega M (2016) Anthropogenic Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Elicit Neuropathic Pain in an Amputation Model. PLoS ONE 11(1): e0144268. http://bit.ly/1R7g4vN
Cammaerts MC, Johansson O. Effect of man-made electromagnetic fields on common Brassicaceae Lepidium sativum (cress d’Alinois) seed germination: a preliminary replication study. Phyton, International Journal of Experimental Botany 2015; 84: 132-137. http://bit.ly/EMRcress
Gandhi G, Kaur G, Nisar U. A cross-sectional case control study on genetic damage in individuals residing in the vicinity of a mobile phone base station. Electromagn Biol Med. 2014 9:1-11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25006864
Gulati S, Yadav A, Kumar N, Kanupriya, Aggarwal NK, Kumar R, Gupta R. Effect of GSTM1 and GSTT1 Polymorphisms on Genetic Damage in Humans Populations Exposed to Radiation From Mobile Towers. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2015 Aug 5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26238667
Gulati S, Yadav A, Kumar N, Priya K, Aggarwal NK, Gupta R. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of antioxidant enzyme system in human population exposed to radiation from mobile towers. Mol Cell Biochem. 2017 Aug 17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28819931
Marinescu I, Poparlan C. Assessment of GSM HF-Radiation impact levels within the residential area of Craiova (Romania) city. Procedia Environmental Sciences 32:177-183. 2016. http://bit.ly/28Q6EEy
Martens AL, Slottje P, Timmermans DR, Kromhout H, Reedijk M, Vermeulen RC, Smid T. Modeled and Perceived Exposure to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields From Mobile-Phone Base Stations and the Development of Symptoms Over Time in a General Population Cohort. Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Apr 7:1-10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28398549
Meo SA, Alsubaie Y, Almubarak Z, Almutawa H, AlQasem Y, Hasanato RM. Association of Exposure to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Field Radiation (RF-EMFR) Generated by Mobile Phone Base Stations with Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Nov 13;12(11):14519-14528. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/11/14519
Sagar S, Dongus S, Schoeni A, Roser K, Eeftens M, Struchen B, Foerster M, Meier N, Adem S, Röösli M. Radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure in everyday microenvironments in Europe: A systematic literature review. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2017 Aug 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28766560
Singh K, Nagaraj A, Yousuf A, Ganta S, Pareek S, Vishnani P. Effect of electromagnetic radiations from mobile phone base stations on general health and salivary function. J Int Soc Prevent Communit Dent 2016;6:54-9. http://bit.ly/1USYGNs
Waldmann-Selsam C, Balmori-de la Puente A, Breunig H, Balmori A. Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations. Sci Total Environ. 2016 Aug 20;572:554-569. http://bit.ly/2cbXNBy
Zothansiama, Zosangzuali M, Lalramdinpuii M, Jagetia GC. Impact of radiofrequency radiation on DNA damage and antioxidants in peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations. Electromagn Biol Med. 2017 Aug 4:1-11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Campanelli & Associates, P.C. Cell tower lawyers. http://www.anticelltowerlawyers.com/
Center for Municipal Solutions. Excellent resource re: regulation of cell towers & wireless facilities. http://bit.ly/1GX4mPY
Karish G, Barket E (Best Best & Krieger). Issues of Local Control and Wireless Telecommunication Facilities. Presented at League of California Cities City Attorneys’ Spring Conference, May 3, 2018. 22 pp. http://bit.ly/wirelesscontrol
League of Minnesota Cities. Cell Towers, Small Cell Technologies & Distributed Antenna Systems. Nov 4, 2016. http://bit.ly/2k5PQz0
San Francisco Neighborhood Antenna-Free Union (SNAFU)
"Stating that the current level of radiation (electromagnetic field, EMF) emitted by mobile phone towers was still high, Girish Kumar, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, on Saturday, urged the Centre to reduce the radiation level further.
The mobile tower radiation had been reduced [in India] from 45,000 milliwatt per square metre to 450 milliwatt a few years ago. It should be reduced to 10 milliwatt, he said ...."
Note: The FCC allows the American general public to be exposed from 5,800 milliwatts per square meter to 10,000 milliwatts per square meter depending on the frequency.
"... the number of small cell and DAS installations is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years. As many as 37 million small cell installations could be in place by 2017, and up to 16 million distributed antenna system (DAS) nodes could be deployed by 2018, according to the FCC."