SportPort™ Activewear continues its research and news reporting around the health and safety for active people who regularly carry around and use their phones close to their bodies. This week’s news release focuses on the growing concerns and continuous rise of cell phone towers across the US, in our neighborhoods, backyards, schools, church grounds, and elsewhere.
Did you know, according to GSMA Intelligence, there are now more cellphones in use in the U.S. than there are people? To keep up with the ever-increasing demand for coverage, cell phone towers are sprouting up like weeds — by churches, schools and even in homeowners’ yards. The towers, sometimes affixed onto existing structures and other times freestanding, are nearly everywhere. So, should you be concerned about that new cell phone tower in your neighbor’s backyard or community? Will they help or cause us more harm than good? Will they expand the healthy limits of EMF and RF exposure around us or help us by boosting the demands needed for more and better cell phone service?
Cell Phone Towers: A Real Health Risk or a Chip Off the Tinfoil Hat?
Since the dawn of the cell phone era, worries about electromagnetic frequency (EMF) and RF (higher frequency EMF) radiation concerns have persisted. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people today are exposed to 100-million times more electromagnetic radiation than their grandparents’ generations! Still, decades of scientific research have yet to establish a solid connection between health issues, RF exposure limits, cell phone use and cell phone towers needed to transmit and boost the power needed for our phones. The idea behind cell phone use, cell phone towers and RF radiation are now, more than ever, a much-discussed controversy.
Is there a hazard or potential risk of cancer in humans who are exposed to RF fields?
According to some studies, your risk may depend on how close you are to strong RF (radio wave frequency) fields. Thus, the question may be in how close you live, work or play near the rising cell phone towers. After all, according to the EWG (Environmental Working Group), you may be more likely to be closely exposed to RF if you hold a cell phone against your head and ear or in your bra or pocket versus standing outside in the nearby vicinity of a cell tower.
While information on RF exposure from these towers may seem small or of no concern, many of those concerned seem to feel that it may be more appropriate to be more cautious and better understand what risks, if any, there might be for us.
Why the Sudden Boost for More Cell Phone Towers?
So, who is supporting the boost in construction of these cell phone towers if they could potentially be detrimental to our health?
More and more school districts, local churches and neighborhood homeowners are turning to an unlikely source of revenue: cell towers. Especially with school budgets declining across the country, local districts are beginning to form partnerships with cell phone providers and telecom giants such as Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. These agreements are formed out of the idea that the schools and other property owners will grant telecom companies access to their land in exchange for a portion of their profits thus providing a public service by expanding wireless coverage and giving money back to everyone.
Sounds like everyone wins, right? Maybe, maybe not.
As enticing as these arrangements are for both parties, they are not without controversy. A growing number of parents and locals are expressing concerns about the schools and churches “selling out” to these companies, citing studies that indicate a relationship between radiation and health complications for their kids and the neighboring community.
U.S. vs Overseas: How European Countries Are Handling the RF Controversy
According to several European countries, these RF studies do, in fact, hold weight, and they’re taking preemptive measures to protect their citizens. The French National Agency for Radio Frequencies, the ANFR, recently updated their website to offer a huge database to the public of information regarding SAR (specific absorption rate) values associated with almost 400 different brands, styles and types of cell phones used by people globally.
What about cell phone towers?
While not banned entirely, other countries have stricter guidelines in place than the U.S. that prevent companies from installing cell towers within a certain distance from schools, typically mandating a barrier of at least 1,500 feet. Since our mobile device use has increased so rapidly, the growing concern over RF use is founded in the “what if,” and certain European countries are taking action with a “better safe than sorry” approach.
Countries such as Switzerland, Italy, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Israel, Russia and China have set RF exposure limits 100 to 10,000 times less than the USA, and are already recognizing the possible biological effects from wireless and RF radiation.
Communities Are Fighting Back Against Emerging Cell Phone Towers
Although U.S. government agencies such as the FCC, Federal Communications Commission, say there is little to be worried about in regards to new cell phone towers, others beg to differ and argue that Europe is on the right track.
Neighborhoods across the country — and even overseas — are joining forces to protest the construction of cell phone towers. These communities, local officials and organizations have one mission: to control or stop construction of cell towers on church grounds, on school land and in their backyards. Their motivation is driven not only by the significant negative impact that radiation could have on their communities, but also about news and studies suggesting possible harm to babies, pregnant women, their unborn children and senior citizens. There are other concerns as well, including worries about the possibility of property devaluation, the visual impact on the land and anxiety that their children might get hurt while playing near the towers.
Keep in mind that the first cell phone was invented in 1973, but it wasn’t until the mid- to late-1980s (or even the early 1990s) that it became popular. If it does, in fact, take decades for the effects of possible carcinogen exposure to take effect, we could only be on the cusp of determining just how cell phones and towers are taking a toll on not only our bodies but on our children’s bodies as well.
Do You Know Your Cell Phone Safe Distance?
Concern isn’t simply for the towers, but also in pro-active business owners working to come up with innovative solutions for this growing issue. One such concerned citizen, parent, and active cell phone user, Kim Highfield said that she became an entrepreneur, with her innovative small-business SportPort™, specifically so that she could undertake the pro-active task of creating a better, more protective line of sportswear clothing. She built her company specifically for herself and others concerned about their health and safety and who rely on their cell phones being with them and close to their bodies during exercise and workouts. Her concern for the public’s health had her focused on learning and gathering as much information as she could about cell phone radiation, cell phone safe distances from the body, and possible links to health issues and cancer illnesses.
Not wanting to stop using her cell phone and still complaining regularly about bad cell service, she stated, “if I want to and am going to actively keep using my smart phone, I’d like to be smarter about how I do that.” Simply put, it is in the best interest of the consumer to better understand the possible health risks around cell phones, cell phone towers and RF factors so that better decisions can be made on how, when and where we live with this.
She continues to say, “We know the technology needs will continue to grow and evolve but we don’t want to be wrong about business and community decisions today at the risk of our health or the health of our kids years from now.”
Knowledge is POWER!
So, while some studies say one thing and other studies may say the opposite, right now, we believe that additional studies are much-needed to determine the safety and effects of cell phones near our bodies and cell phone towers in our communities. While it’s nice to imagine that the debate is pointless and that no one is at risk from higher-powered cell towers, analyzing research from both sides has yet to yield a safe and conclusive answer.
Whether you fear that radiation will have severe health consequences for you and your loved ones or you vehemently oppose yet another unsightly tower with its hundreds of miles of hanging wires in your own backyard, we believe that the old adage holds true: