The introduction of cell phone antennas into the city streets of Boston brings with it potential risks. The safety of cell phone antennas and towers has always been in question, and there are numerous reports of health problems associated with their introduction into communities. Various medical research databanks post over 1,000 articles dealing with the question of cell phone impact. After reviewing the first 150 abstracts on PubMed, I found studies describing the impact of cell phone towers on local citizens in Egypt, Cyprus and France.
All report significant increases in headaches, dizziness, cognitive and sleep disturbances and possible malaise. One study in Belgium identified that sparrow mating populations in the vicinity of local towers greatly declined; another Greek study described cell death of fruit fly egg cells when exposed to cell phone electromagnetic frequencies. These human and animal studies are important because they don’t describe experimental conditions, but real effects experienced by those unfortunate populations who have lived with chronic exposure. One important article examined funding sources for 450 studies, to see if the source influenced outcome. Not surprisingly, this Swiss group found that industry-supported studies report benign impacts, whereas studies that came from departments of public health were much more likely to report problems.
The city’s elected officials are not safeguarding our health and welfare when they decide to proceed with such contracts without proper public vetting. The convenience cell phones provide our communities is considerable, but I am sure most would agree that reception without additional antennas is more than adequate. Given the risks and potential damage additional towers could create, it seems foolhardy to consider their installation in a dense urban setting.
Conny Huthsteiner, M.D.
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