As cell phones became widely available in the 1990s, cell phone towers popped up around our homes, offices, and schools. In fact, the continued widespread use of cell phones has led to an increase in construction of cell phone towers in many communities, with 500,000 throughout the United States. It wasn't until recently, however, that the safety of these towers came into question.
Cell phone towers operate by sending a signal between a tower's radio transmitter and an individual's cell phone, allowing people to make calls, send e-mails, or receive texts. However, in order to transmit these signals, cell phone towers must emit radio frequencies, a type of low-level radiation.
So far only a handful of studies have been conducted to determine the risk of long-term exposure to cell phone tower radiation, despite many individuals from the medical community insisting that even low levels of radiation can lead an increased risk of several different types of cancer.
The first study, conducted in Germany, examined data from nearly 1,000 residents who lived close to a cell phone tower site and remained in the same home for a period of ten years. The study found that after ten years, those individuals who lived within 1,300 feet (about 4.5 football fields) were three times more likely to develop some form of cancer than those living further away. Breast cancer was the most prevalent, but cases of prostate, pancreas, lung, and blood cancers all increased as well.
The second study, done by Tel Aviv University in Israel, looked at over 600 people who lived within 1,200 feet (about four football fields) of a cell phone tower for three-to-seven years. Within the first year of the study, researchers identified eight cases of cancer in the group living closest to the tower, compared to just two cases in a control group residing in an outlying area. The study established that the risk of cancer was four times greater for those living near a tower than for the entire population of Israel.
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