Do cellular phones cause cancer

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Do cellular phones cause cancer

Cellular cell phones first became widely available in the United States in the s, but since then their use has increased dramatically.

The widespread use of cell phones has led to cell phone towers being placed in many communities. These towers, also called base stations, have electronic equipment and antennas that receive and transmit radiofrequency RF signals. How do cellular phone towers work?

Cell phone base stations may be free-standing towers or mounted on existing structures, such as trees, water tanks, or tall buildings. The antennas need to be high enough to adequately cover the area. Base stations are usually from feet high.

Cell phones communicate with nearby cell towers mainly through radiofrequency RF waves, a form of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum between FM radio waves and microwaves. Like FM radio waves, microwaves, visible light, and heat, they are forms of non-ionizing radiation.

This means they do not directly damage the DNA inside cells, which is how stronger ionizing types of radiation such as x-rays, gamma rays, and ultraviolet UV light are thought to be able to cause cancer.

At very high levels, RF waves can heat up body tissues. This is the basis for how microwave ovens work. But the levels of energy used by cell phones and towers are much lower. The base station responds to this signal by assigning it an available radiofrequency channel.

RF waves transfer the voice information to the base station. The voice signals are then sent to a switching center, which transfers the call to its destination. Voice signals are then relayed back and forth during the call.

How are people exposed to the energy from cellular phone towers? As people use cell phones to make calls, signals are transmitted back and forth to the base station. The RF waves produced at the base station are given off into the environment, where people can be exposed to them.

Do cellular phones cause cancer

The energy from a cellular phone tower antenna, like that of other telecommunication antennas, is directed toward the horizon parallel to the groundwith some downward scatter. Base station antennas use higher power levels than other types of land-mobile antennas, but much lower levels than those from radio and television broadcast stations.

The amount of energy decreases rapidly as the distance from the antenna increases. As a result, the level of exposure to radio waves at ground level is very low compared to the level close to the antenna.

Public exposure to radio waves from cell phone tower antennas is slight for several reasons. The power levels are relatively low, the antennas are mounted high above ground level, and the signals are transmitted intermittently, rather than constantly. At ground level near typical cellular base stations, the amount of RF energy is thousands of times less than the limits for safe exposure set by the US Federal Communication Commission FCC and other regulatory authorities.

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It is very unlikely that a person could be exposed to RF levels in excess of these limits just by being near a cell phone tower. When a cellular antenna is mounted on a roof, it is possible that a person on the roof could be exposed to RF levels greater than those typically encountered on the ground.

But even then, exposure levels approaching or exceeding the FCC safety guidelines are only likely to be found very close to and directly in front of the antennas. If this is the case, access to these areas should be limited.

The level of RF energy inside buildings where a base station is mounted is typically much lower than the level outside, depending on the construction materials of the building. Wood or cement block reduces the exposure level of RF radiation by a factor of about The energy level behind an antenna is hundreds to thousands of times lower than in front.

Therefore, if an antenna is mounted on the side of a building, the exposure level in the room directly behind the wall is typically well below the recommended exposure limits. Do cellular phone towers cause cancer? Some people have expressed concern that living, working, or going to school near a cell phone tower might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems.

At this time, there is very little evidence to support this idea. In theory, there are some important points that would argue against cellular phone towers being able to cause cancer.

Do cellular phones cause cancer

First, the energy level of radiofrequency RF waves is relatively low, especially when compared with the types of radiation that are known to increase cancer risk, such as gamma rays, x-rays, and ultraviolet UV light. The energy of RF waves given off by cell phone towers is not enough to break chemical bonds in DNA molecules, which is how these stronger forms of radiation may lead to cancer.Find help for acid reflux symptoms, treatment, causes, and prevention.

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Health - Article - Cell Phones and Cancer Cellular cell phones first became widely available in the United States in the s, but their use has increased dramatically since then.

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