The Siting of Cell Towers
Cell towers use non-ionizing radio frequency or "RF" radiation to carry signals to and from cell phones and pagers. RF radiation is also used for microwave ovens, radar, industrial heaters and medical devices.
The FDA, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the European Union and The Royal Society of Canada have all urged caution and more research to understand the potential health impacts of long-term exposure to non-ionizing radiation.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act makes it illegal to prohibit the siting of a cell phone tower based on potential health impacts. However, the growing uncertainty over the safety of these towers is causing many community leaders to use arguments based on aesthetics and real estate values to keep cell phone towers far away from schools and out of residential communities.
Who's Doing It Right
The Los Angeles Unified School District has passed a resolution prohibiting the siting of cell towers near schools.
The Town of Hempstead, NY has some of the most stringent requirements for placing cell towers in neighborhoods.