Cell Tower Health Risks

Drums in the Cell TowerCell Towers are the base stations which control cell (or mobile) phone communication. The term “cell site” can also be used – to include all cell phone towers, antenna masts and other base station forms.

Each cell tower serves a small area around it, known as a cell. Service providers are scrambling to improve their coverage and to service more users, so they need to keep on building more cell sites.

Increased cellphone traffic also contributes to cell tower density. When a cell becomes too busy, a frequent solution is to divide it into smaller cells, which then require more cell sites.

There are over 300,000 cell sites in the USA alone, and in the U.K. over 60,000, and these figures are more than doubling every 10 years.

Cell tower radiation from chimneys?

Tower Tube - Cell TowerCell sites may take the form of a mast or tower, but may also be disguised, in some cases so they cannot be visually discerned at all.

You might notice the camouflaged “trees”, but perhaps not the cell sites on top of buildings, looking like elongated loudspeaker boxes.

You’d very likely fail to notice cell sites installed around chimneys, church steeples, even flagpoles. I have even seen a small cell site installed on the wall of a private house. No doubt the owner was collecting a useful rental, and probably had some screening from the radiation.


But his neighbours were unprotected.

Where a base station is installed on top of a building where people live or work, those people are usually quite unaware that there is a cell site close by, and of the high levels of radiation that they are subjected to every day.

Cell tower health dangers

The cellular phone industry continues to maintain that cell phone towers pose no health risk, but fewer people believe that these days. Almost all scientists in this field would disagree that cell towers are safe, except those employed by the industry, perhaps.

There is strong evidence that electromagnetic radiation from cell phone towers is damaging to human (and animal) health.

Dairy Cows Cell Tower StudyExample: A study into the effects of a cell tower on a herd of dairy cattle was conducted by the Bavarian state government in Germany and published in 1998.

The erection of the tower caused adverse health effects resulting in a measurable drop in milk yield.

Relocating the cattle restored the milk yield. Moving them back to the original pasture recreated the problem. DairyCowStudy.pdf.

A human study (Kempten West) in 2007 measured blood levels of seratonin and melatonin (important hormones involved in brain messaging, mood, sleep regulation and immune system function) both before, and five months after, the activation of a new cell site.


Twenty-five participants lived within 300 metres of the site. Substantial unfavourable changes occurred with respect to both hormones, in almost all participants. Kemptem West Study.

Can Cell Towers Cause Cancer?

A study performed by doctors from the German city of Naila monitored 1000 residents who had lived in an area around two cell phone towers for 10 years. During the last 5 years of the study they found that those living within 400 meters of either tower had a newly-diagnosed cancer rate three times higher than those who lived further away.

Breast cancer topped the list, but cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer were all increased. NailaStudy.pdf

Cellphone MastsVery few studies have specifically concentrated on cancer risk from cell phone towers. This lack of studies is in itself a cause for concern, especially since anecdotal evidence is plentiful.

For example, in a case known as “Towers of Doom”, two cell masts were installed (in 1994)  on a five story apartment building in London. Residents complained of many health problems in the following years. Seven of them were diagnosed with cancer.

The cancer rate of the top floor residents (closest to the tower) was 10 times the national average. Further info.

Even the World Health Organisation has conceded that radio-frequency radiation may cause cancer. See this report.

If cell towers are causing cancer, you would expect it to occur after several years of exposure, because damage from radiation exposure accumulates over time. Cancer only occurs when all body defences and repair mechanisms have been exhausted and overwhelmed.

During those years, our bodies would be stressed by that radiation every day. This affects our health in other ways, too.


Other Cell Tower Health Effects

Individuals differ in their response to electromagnetic radiation.

For some people, short term effects from cell tower radiation exposure may include headaches, sleep disorders, poor memory, mental excitation, confusion, anxiety, depression, appetite disturbance and listlessness.

A small group of doctors from Bamberg, Germany, conducted their own study in 2005. They found increasing levels of both minor and serious health problems in patients exposed to higher radiation levels.

These health problems included tumours, diabetes, heart rhythm disturbances, inflammatory conditions, joint and limb pains, frequent infections, headaches, sleep disturbances, depression and memory problems.

Makes you wonder how much more information would be revealed by a well-designed and well-funded government study!

So don’t just worry about cancer. Those doctors found that all kinds of illnesses showed a similar pattern: a higher incidence in patients with higher radiation exposure.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reports that studies demonstrate “significant harmful biological effects occur from non-thermal RF exposure”, and these effects may include genetic damage, reproductive defects, cancer, neurological degeneration and nervous system dysfunction, immune system dysfunction, cognitive effects, protein and peptide damage, kidney damage, and developmental effects – all of which have been reported in peer-reviewed scientific literature. Further Info.

Legal Cell Tower Radiation Levels

EMF from Mobile Phone Mast

The current legal limit for cell site radiation in the US and the UK is 1000 microwatts per square centimetre.


Other countries have set limits as low as 1 microwatt per square centimetre! Switzerland, Italy, China and others manage perfectly well with a limit of 10 microwatts per square centimetre.

Why such a huge difference? It appears that some governments are more concerned about EMF safety than others.

The truth is that no one really knows what level of cell tower radiation will prove to be safe in the long term.

But isn’t that a good reason to set a low limit, not a high one?

It appears that current EMF limits in the US and UK may have been influenced more by economic and political motives than by health and safety concerns.

Cell towers safe distance

It is hard to predict how much radiation you will experience in your house or workplace.

  • Different cell sites emit different amounts of radiation.
  • Radiation levels from a single cell site also vary, depending on usage at different times of the day.
  • Radiation from a single cell tower may be different in different directions.
  • Radiation is affected by the lie of the land too, and by shielding and reflections from buildings.
  • And finally, the construction of your house affects its resistance to radio-frequency EMF.

It can also happen that the cell tower you are aware of in your neighbourhood is not actually the closest cell site to your house.

Cell sites are often disguised. And many units are much smaller than the old familiar towers (though not necessarily less potent), and installed in unexpected locations.

So start off by making a careful check of your area, to find all the cell sites. Then use a map to work out the distance from each cell site to your house.


If the closest cell site is more than 400 metres away, you are probably not being harmed by it – although high risk groups and electro-sensitive people may need to be more cautious.

Cell tower – Personal Protection

Water and Cell Tower If you are still concerned, try to get hold of an RF (radio frequency) gauss meter designed for measuring electromagnetic radiation in the cell phone frequency (microwave) range.

Another alternative is to order an EMF survey of your property. (EM Watch conducts EMF surveys in the southern half of England.)

Be aware that in every house there are rooms (and areas within rooms) where EMF radiation is higher or lower, just as some parts of your house may be brighter or darker because of window placement.

An EMF meter, or a survey will tell you which places in your home are safe, and which are not ideal for spending lots of time in.

When you next change your job or your house, find out how far away you are going to be from the nearest cell site, and let that influence your decision. Do the same when you decide where to send your child to school.

If you are still worried about cell tower radiation – here are some things you can do

  • Spend less time in rooms where you can see the tower from a window. Rooms on the far side of the house from the tower will usually have lower EMF levels.
  • EMFs are cumulative. You can’t control the radiation coming from the cell tower, but do what you can to reduce EMF from other sources.
  • Get a radio-frequency EMF meter and measure the radiation levels in different parts of your house. (Measurement with a suitable meter is the only sure way to know how much radiation you are receiving at any particular spot.)
  • Consider shielding to reduce cell tower EMF – it can be shielded with special window film, metallic mesh curtaining, EMF paint, and metal foil in the roof.

EMF Shielding Video

High EMF levels are but one source of stress to the body. If your options for reducing EMF are limited, you can help your body in other ways, for example by minimizing exposure to other kinds of pollution in your air, water and food.

Good nutrition, exercise, and plenty of quality sleep will help your body repair radiation damage.

For more suggestions see our page EMF Protection Tips.

In the long term, we need to find ways of providing cell phone services without exposing people to high levels of cell tower and cell phone radiation. 

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What EMF Does to You

Measure Radio-Frequency Radiation

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