Biological effects from exposure to
electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower
base stations and other antenna arrays
B. Blake Levitt and Henry Lai (Nov. 2010, NRC Research Press)
Abstract: The siting of cellular phone base stations and other cellular infrastructure such as roof-mounted antenna arrays, especially in residential neighborhoods, is a contentious subject in land-use regulation. Local resistance from nearby residents and landowners is often based on fears of adverse health effects despite reassurances from telecommunications service providers that international exposure standards will be followed. 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.
Key words: radiofrequency radiation (RFR), antenna arrays, cellular phone base stations, microwave sickness, nonionizing electromagnetic fields, environmental pollution.