Friday, September 6, 2013

Will a California Cell Tower Harm Nearby Butterflies?

That’s the question activists in the Pacific Grove community were asking when the City Council approved a cell phone tower to be constructed at a Lighthouse Avenue hotel yesterday. The activists argued that the radiofrequencies could harm nearby adults, children, and the butterflies at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. The Monarch Grove Sanctuary is home to many butterflies during the winter season from Mid-October to mid-February.

The American Cancer Society as well as the World Health Organization has found no conclusive causal link between the radiofrequencies of cell phone towers and adverse health effects. The American Cancer Society explained that, “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:”
  •         The level of radiofrequency energy is very low
  •      RF waves have long wavelengths, which can only be concentrated to about an inch or two in size making them unable to affect the cells in the body.
  •      Level of RF waves present at ground level is very low.

In a scientific review article, “Impacts of radio-frequency electromagnetic fieldfrom cell phone towers and wireless devices on biosystem and ecosystem—a review” S. Sivani and D. Sudarsanam explained that, “Animals that depend on the natural electrical, magnetic, and electromagnetic  fields for their orientation and navigation through earth’s atmosphere are confused by the much stronger and constantly changing artificial fields created by technology and fail to navigate back to their home environments.”

While this is true of butterflies, the American Cancer Society explains that the RF waves present are well below the recommended limits by the FCC. Cell towers give off non-ionizing radiation, which are far less dangerous than ionizing radiation.

AT&T’s new tower will include six 26.5-foot antennas, which will be housed in structures disguised as chimneys. This cell tower will improve the current cell coverage in the Pacific Grove area.

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