Since their introduction into the world, cell phones have brought polarization. There are those applauding the technological advancements and opportunities they provide and those who have immense concerns regarding the unknown impacts these devices have on health. Studies have been largely inconclusive and produced mixed results at best. Overall, most evidence suggests that cell phones and cell towers do not pose significant threats to health.
Still, there a large number of people who feel uneasy about this. This is partly because of the rapid rise of cell phones. According to GSMA Intelligence, there are currently over 5 billion cell phone users around the world. That obviously increases the amount of radio waves, harmful or not. In addition, many today carry phones like extra appendages, literally in hand or in a pocket nearby at all times. Thanks to increased WIFI opportunities and an abundance of new apps, the amount of time spent on devices has all but skyrocketed in recent years.
To support the large number of users, additional cell towers have been sprinkled throughout our communities: on rooftops, in church bell towers, and even in schools. This will only increase with 5G, as the hardware to support it requires much closer proximity between towers. As telecom companies continue the desperate clamor to bring us 5G, this means more antennas and more mobile devices, and more possible exposure. Many people remain concerned about the potential health and safety risks involved with adding more cell towers to our communities.
One of the main concerns people have around cell phones and health is the potential for increased cancer risk. The reason for alarm is this: exposure to ionized radiofrequency radiation (radio waves) has been shown to increase the risk for cancer. Ionized radiation comes from UVA/UVB Rays, X Rays and Gamma Rays. Prolonged exposure to these rays has been linked to cellular and/or DNA damage. Cell phones do emit radio waves, but through non-ionized radiation, like microwaves. As pointed out by Cancer.gov, many studies have shown no conclusive evidence that non-ionized radiation poses any significant health risks.
Another anxiety over cell phones is the potential damage to the brain. Many health experts want more research to be done around the possible impact cell phones have to this organ, particularly on younger users whose brains are not fully developed yet. The fear is that cognitive abilities such as learning, memory, communication, and overall functionality is adversely affected. However, once more there is no conclusive evidence to confirm these theories.
Scientists have found that sperm counts in European and Western males has been declining for years, but the reasons why remain debatable. There does appear to be some evidence that cell phone radiation is affecting sperm count, but the overall effects on fertility are unknown. In addition, there does not appear to be any evidence of cell tower or cell phone use affecting female fertility.
Not only does 5G requires a substantial expansion of cell towers to operate, it means that people would need to be continuously connecting to receive service. So, while the technology may make driverless cars and virtual reality a natural part of life, it brings a number of issues.
Cell towers do not provide the same level of security as WIFI networks, making them susceptible to hacking. That means malicious parties could potentially have access to getting data, or wreaking havoc on interconnected homes, cars, and businesses that join the network. It also means cell phones themselves may be used to track people more easily. For crime scenes or parental control, this may seem like a good idea but there is still a cost associated with the loss to personal privacy.
There’s another safety risk with cell towers: stingray towers. Stingray towers are “fake” cell towers designed to look like regular cell towers, but used to track people and intercept calls, messages, and emails. The sheer number of 5G cell towers creates significant concern for this problem.
As cell towers are being placed on traffic lights, municipal buildings, etc this brings vulnerabilities around safety and privacy. Questions remain around the likelihood for cyber attacks and personal privacy issues. Without stronger security measures and privacy requirements, there’s a lot to consider.
Deciding where 5G cell towers go is an important decision considering the consequences that may come with this growth.
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