Home > News, Technology > Please Don’t Build a Cellphone Tower Because We’re “Afraid of the Unknown”

Please Don’t Build a Cellphone Tower Because We’re “Afraid of the Unknown”

File:Cell Phone Tower.jpg

Photo by Joe Ravi

The CBC reports that residents of Surrey and Port Coquitlam, BC are petitioning against the construction of two new cell phone towers in the area.

There is a proposal on the table to build two cell phone towers in the area of Cloverdale, as people often complain of losing their cell phone signal in this area.

Some residents oppose the construction mainly due to fear of health effects from the radiation emitted by the towers.

The CBC interviewed a Coquitlam resident, Andrea Gretchev, and asked what she thought the tower construction would do and why she opposed its construction,

“I can’t say that this causes anything in particular, because I don’t know,” Gretchev said. “But because I don’t know, I don’t want to live next to a cell tower.”

Fear of the unknown is a natural human response and I can’t begrudge the residents this natural instinct.

But for comparison, lets look at the situation of me being afraid of the dark when I was a child.

I was afraid of the dark because I didn’t know what was out there. I was afraid of the unknown. As soon as my Dad turned the light off, there could be monsters, or aliens, or giant-ass bugs waiting to attack me.

Periodically, I would race to the light-switch and turn on the light, exposing everything in the room to electromagnetic radiation (in the visible range, of course).

At once, I realized nothing was there. I was safe. I didn’t have to be afraid anymore.

Eventually, I learned that there really was nothing to fear when the lights went out. Just because I couldn’t see the rest of my room, didn’t mean I had to be afraid of it.

So is there a similar “light-switch” in this situation that we can flip on so the residents of southern British Columbia don’t have to be afraid of cell phone radiation anymore? Why yes there is. And its scientific data.

Seeing as I’ve written on this issue many, many times before, I won’t rehash all my past arguments. But the scientific data is quite clear that there is absolutely no credible evidence that cell phone radiation causes adverse health effects.

You would think that this information would be enough, but I’ve had enough experience debating this issue that I know this is not nearly enough.

“Science has been wrong before,” is the counter-argument I most often hear.

“Well,” I reply, ” should we then also be afraid of broccoli?”

“What do you mean?” my opponent asks.

“Science has shown that broccoli is quite healthy for us. But if science has been wrong before, should we therefore avoid broccoli completely? Just in case?”

So when debating the issues, lets stick to the facts and not logical fallacies.

I know its tough. There are a lot of quacks out there trying to convince us that cell phones and power lines and Wi-Fi are dangerous, in complete opposition to all of the credible scientific evidence.

Hell, if you do a Google search for any of these topics, no doubt you will find more fear-mongering websites talking about the “possible” dangers with electromagnetic fields than references to scientifically valid papers.

Scientists may not have the Search Engine Optimization teams that these fringe websites do, but they have the truth on their side. And the truth continues to indicate that we have no reason to fear our phones.

Still not convinced? Have a look at this map showing all the cell phone towers in the lower British Columbia area (also available as an iPhone app):

Map of all cellular phone towers in the lower British Columbia area.

In this sea of towers already in existence, and all those near your house that you have been living peacefully beside for the past several years, will two more really make a difference?

More than that, with the explosion of cell phone use and cell tower construction in the last decade, isn’t is odd that no increase in cancer rates have been seen?

We should have at least seen a small effect by now if there were any health risks associated with these towers or cell phone use.

But again, I’ve had this argument enough to know that data and common sense won’t convince anybody. Anything new and widespread will inevitably cause people to be afraid. Much like microwave ovens did in the 1950s and 60s.

By the way, no adverse health effects have ever been reported with the proper use of a microwave oven. I guess we will have to wait about 60 years before people will start chilling out about their cell phones.

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  1. May 25, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Were cell phone towers in operation in California in 1988?

  2. Maree Antonation
    May 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    That’s great that these scientists have all the facts and yes scientists have been wrong, it’s human nature to make mistakes, but is it worth the risk? Sure isn’t to me. If the information from all these scientists came out saying that yes there is a posibility that their is a health risk from these cell towers, then what? There would be no towers put up, these very large, very powerful companies wouldn’t be making their money along with the government and everyone else who gets a piece of the pie, mobile communication would be down, so you can’t even begin to tell me that all this doesn’t play a small or large part in the results of these scientists!! I’m sorry but I live close to the proposed cell towers in Cloverdale and fear or not, facts all taken into consideration, and looking at my family, I’m not having it! There is way too much unknown and enough is enough, when do the people who are effected by these towers get a vote to wether or not they want these eye sores and unknown health risk vesils in their neighbourhoods or communities this is when family should over take money.

  3. June 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

    What about mobile phone towers(operating on very high frequencey) that are in residential areas.
    We can use headphone to talk on mobile to reduce the risk of cancer but there is no soluton of towers that are in residential area……
    Government is not taking it seriously…..

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