In Israel: More Cellular Antennas = Less Radiation?

Controversy over cellular antennas is nothing new in Israel. The battle lines are clear: on one side, the cellular companies and the Environmental Protection Ministry, on the other side, wide segments of the public, who fear possible health risks to themselves and their children and the economic effects of cellular antennas in proximity to their homes (which drastically lower property values).

The companies and government authorities are pushing for more and more cellular antennas to be erected on top of buildings and in open spaces, based on the claim that a greater number of antennas will mean less radiation emitted by antennas and cellular phones. Much of the public, on the other hand, while mostly unwilling to give up on their cell phones (though such a trend is taking shape on a small scale), vehemently objects to additional antennas, fearing that they will wake up one morning to find a few on their neighbor's (or their own) roof. Anecdotal evidence suggests a strong correlation between disproportional levels of cancer and proximity to cellular antennas in certain places. For this reason, cellular antenna towers have been violently protested and even burnt down.

The latest shot in this battle is a report released last week by the cellular companies regarding antenna to population ratios in various locales around the country. The baseline for the survey is Tel Aviv, where one "broadcasting station" (antenna tower) serves 581 cellular customers, and the average distance between customer and antenna is 155 meters. On the other end of the scale is the town of Um al-Fahm, where two cellular towers serve a population of 32,000 - one tower per 16,000 customers. Thus, according to the companies, antennas in Um al-Fahm emit 1,600 times as much radiation as antennas in Tel Aviv, and cell phones emit 59 times more.

Not to worry though, say the cellular companies, even in Um al-Fahm, no one is exposed to radiation that exceeds legal limits.

The Forum for Cellular Sanity, an NGO representing the public interest regarding on the issue, responded that if the cellular companies want to expand their infrastructure networks, laws regulating radiation emissions should be made stricter and the public should be notified before antennas are installed around their homes.

Via:: Ynet (Hebrew)

Tags: Cancer | Israel | Pollution