Opinion

No health hazard posed by cell phone towers | Counterpoint

By Pat O’Day

I was surprised to read Steve Ludwig’s guest column finding him still in panic over perceived health dangers from cell phone towers.

I would have assumed that Ludwig, a learned man, would have made himself aware of the solid, valid, peer-reviewed and universally accepted scientific findings pertaining to cell towers.

If Steve accepts Al Gore’s findings where global warming is concerned, he should be totally thrilled by the following. At the very least, it should bring relief to Ludwig’s Lopez Island neighbors and friends, many being influenced by Steve’s words of doom.

Well, here’s the good news! Their health — and that of their children and community — is not in any way jeopardized by cell phones and their towers. I pray they read the following closely!

Cellular phones operate at the radiofrequency (RF) part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is non-ionizing radiation. Other examples of the non-ionizing part of the electromagnetic spectrum include TV, AM and FM radio waves and infrared waves from heat lamps.

Unlike X-rays and gamma rays, radio waves have too little energy to break the bonds that hold the molecules (such as DNA) in cells together. Resultantly, since RF of this frequency contains relatively low energy, it does not enter tissues.

At very high levels of exposure, far exceeding that of any cell phone towers or even high-power AM or FM and TV towers, RF can cause warming of tissues much as would a heat lamp. Even this negligible, non-harmful impact is impossible with cell phones and towers due to the very low RF energy output.

The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2006 issued a report finding that we absorb five times as much RF energy from radio and TV stations than from cell phones or towers. Here’s the reassuring part: These radio signals have been entering our bodies for over 60 years with no known adverse effects. As such, WHO finds absolutely no scientific evidence that cell phone and their towers cause any adverse health effect.

These, friends, are the facts! But as Don Quixote shouted in the great play, “Man of La Mancha,” “Facts are the enemies of the truth!” Well, in this case, the truth appears to be Steve Ludwig just doesn’t like cell phone towers and has elected to ignore the FACTS.

— Pat O’Day is a retired radio personality and former radio station owner and general manager. He owns John L. Scott Real Estate in Friday Harbor.

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