About cell phone towers
The 3 expert agencies that usually classify cancer-causing exposures (carcinogens) – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP), and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – have not classified cell phone towers specifically as to their cancer-causing potential.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said the following about cell phone towers near homes or schools:
“Radiofrequency emissions from antennas used for cellular and PCS [personal communications service] transmissions result in typically thousands of times exposure levels on the ground below safety limits. These safety limits were adopted by the FCC based on the recommendations of expert organizations and endorsed by agencies of the Federal Government responsible for health and safety. Thus fore, there is no reason to believe that such towers could constitute a potential health hazard to nearby residents or students.”
About RF radiation
Some of the agencies that classify cancer-causing exposures have, however, made statements about radio frequency radiation.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on limited evidence of a possible increase in risk for brain tumours among cell phone users, and inadequate evidence for other types of cancer. (For more information on the IARC classification system, see Known and Probable Human Carcinogens.) IARC also noted that exposure to the brain from RF fields from cell phone base stations (mounted on roofs or towers) is less than 1/100th the exposure to the brain from mobile devices such as cell phones.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states:
“At very high levels, RF energy is dangerous. It can heat the body’s tissues rapidly. However, such high levels are found only near certain equipment, such as powerful long-distance transmitters. Cellphones and wireless networks produce RF, but not at levels that cause significant heating. In addition, RF energy decreases quickly over distance. At ground level, exposure to RF from sources like cellphone towers is usually very low.
Some people are concerned about potential health effects, especially on the developing brains and bodies of children. Few studies say that heavy long-term use of cellphones could have health effects. But few others don’t find any health effects from cellphone use. Long-term studies on animals exposed to the RF found in wireless networks (Wi-Fi) have, so far, found no health effects. Scientists continue to study the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of RF.”
Cell phone towers are not known to cause any health effects. But in case of any query or anybody concerned about possible exposure from a cell phone tower near home or office, one can ask a government agency or private firm to measure the RF field strength near the tower (where a person could be exposed) to ensure that it is within the acceptable range.
Basically, there is no test to measure whether you have been exposed to RF radiation from cellular phone towers. But as noted above, most researchers and regulatory authorities do not believe that cell phone towers pose health risks under ordinary conditions.