Cell Phone Tower Radiation

November 1, 2010

By johnmac

In case you didn’t see it, that was the headline of an article that ran on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen earlier this month. The article referenced research published by the National Research Council (NRC) indicating that we’re “awash in radiation from cellphone towers and it does have the potential to hurt us”.

Cell phone towers weren’t cited as the only cause for concern. Additionally, the research states that Wi-Fi and Wi-Max transmissions and smart grids are also of concern.

Wi-Fi sparked some controversy earlier this year in Barrie Ontario, when a group of parents demanded their childrens’ schools turn off wireless internet, fearing the technology was making their children sick.

According to articles that appeared in the Globe and Mail in mid-August 2010, children were experiencing numerous symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, trouble concentrating and racing heart rates.  The kids seemed to be experiencing these symptoms at school, but not at home. Parents believed that the Wi-Fi in the school may have been the cause. Not surprising.

Susan Clarke, a former research consultant to the Harvard School of Public Health said that Wi-Fi technology alters fundamental physiological functioning and can cause neurological and cardiac symptoms.

She also stated that children are much more susceptible to this type of radiation, absorbing more of it compared with adults, because they have thinner skulls and because the size of their brains more closely approximate the size of the wave length being deployed.

This is a big concern as we see more and more very young children using cell phones. In fact, they will be the first generation to have been exposed to  harmful electro-magnetic radiation from sources such as cellphones, cell phone towers and Wi-Fi for their entire lives. That’s cause for concern.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the dangers of cell phones and electromagnetic radiation. I also covered this topic in my June 2008 Tip of the Month (go to the Tip of the Month Archive section of my website and click on ‘June 2008 – Are Cell Phones Dangerous’ to read more) – but after seeing the article in the Ottawa Citizen, I was compelled to write about it again.

The article lists symptoms that may be related to exposure to radiation, including:

  • Nausea
  • Visual disruptions
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep
  • Skin problems

Not surprisingly, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association says that emissions are well below Health Canada’s maximum ‘safe level’, but as more and more scientists pour through the research, health concerns are surfacing.

The Ottawa Citizen article mentioned the findings of Henry Lai, a bioengineering professor at the University of Washington, and Black Levit, a medical writer. These two researchers went back through 50 years of research for the study published by the NRC. Here is something they discovered: Today’s radio waves are ‘remarkably similar’ to the steady irradiation of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow prior to 1976 by the Soviets. Effects on Americans stationed there have been studied long term, with four main symptoms emerging:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Allergic reactions
  • Inflammatory reactions

The researchers concluded that ‘obsolete’ government standards protect only against short-term exposure to strong blasts of radiation, not long-term effects from low levels.

I don’t think cell phones and Wi-Fi are going to disappear any time soon – if ever – and it’s likely the problem is going to get a lot worse before anything is done about it. So, what can we do to protect ourselves in the mean time? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Reduce your cell phone use. Try using your cell phone only for emergencies or matters that can’t wait. Turn it off whenever you can as it will emit radiation even when you’re not using it.
  • Don’t carry your cell phone on your body (especially when it’s on). Keep it in your briefcase, purse or knapsack.
  • Only use your cell phone in areas where the reception is good. A cell phone has to use more power (therefore emit more radiation) in areas where reception is weak.
  • Don’t give up the use of land lines for your home or office. Use them whenever possible.
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of Wi-Fi and other wireless devices.
  • When you do have to use your cell phone, use the speaker phone function or a wireless air tube and keep the phone at least 6 inches away from your body. In addition, try to minimize the length of your call. Perhaps you can call the person on the other end back in a few minutes once you get to a land line.
  • Check out products (and the research associated with them) that protect us from electromagnetic radiation. Click here to visit one supplier that I am aware of.

Devices that emit electromagnetic radiation, such as cell phones, have been called the ‘cigarettes of the 21st century’. These devices haven’t been around all that long so we’ve yet to see and/or understand the full health impact that they will have on us in the long-term. It’s interesting that although cigarettes were first widely used in the 1800’s, it wasn’t until almost 200 years later that we really understood the full impact that first and second-hand smoke have on our health. Do we want to make the same mistake again?


  1. Ottawa Citizen, Friday November 5, 2010 “Researchers Slam Cellphone Tower Raditation”, Tom Spears
  2. Globe and Mail, August 16, 2010, “Wi-Fi in Schools Sparks Parental Fears”, Carly Weeks. See full article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/wifi-in-schools-spark-parental-fears/article4096216/
  3. Globe and Mail, August 15, 2020, “Barrie Parents Demand Schools Turn off Wi-Fi”, Keith Leslie. See full article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/barrie-parents-demand-schools-turn-off-wi-fi/article1673535/
  4. Wi-Fi, Cell Phones and Radio Frequencies Causing Nerve and Muscle Depolarization, Nov 16, 2010 http://www.thermoguy.com/blog/index.php?itemid=47

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