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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Environmental and Occupational Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufiya University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt. [email protected]
Occup Environ Med. 2007 Jun;64(6):402-8. Epub 2007 Jan 25. Health response of two communities to military antennae in Cyprus. Preece AW, Georgiou AG, Dunn EJ, Farrow SC. Department of Medical Physics, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. [email protected]
Electromagn Biol Med. 2007;26(1):63-72 , A possible effect of electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone base stations on the number of breeding house sparrows (Passer domesticus), Everaert J., Bauwens D., Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels, Belgium, [email protected]
Mutat Res. 2007 Jan 10;626(1-2):69-78. Epub 2006 Oct. 11. Cell death induced by GSM 900-MHz and DCS 1800-MHz mobile telephony radiation. Panagopoulos DJ, Chavdoula ED, Nezis IP, Margaritis LH. Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784 Athens, Greece. [email protected]
Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Jan;115(1):1-4. Source of funding and results of studies of health effects of mobile phone use: systematic review of experimental studies. Huss A, Egger M, Hug K, Huwiler-Muentener K, Roeoesli M. Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland.