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Antennas, Cell Phones And Electromagnetic Radiation


Frequently, the written press or the newscasts echo the complaints of neighbors alarmed by the possible risks that the installation of an antenna in the vicinity of their homes could produce. Certainly, the general concern is not the possibility that the heavy structure will fall and cause material damage or cost some life, but in a hypothetical invisible enemy: the “fearsome” electromagnetic radiation.

What are the differences between the different waves and radiations?

There are waves of many types, such as those of the sound that a guitar provokes and are transmitted through the air, or those that are seen on the surface of the sea, are called mechanical waves and are material waves, because they are only propagated by a material medium. The waves or electromagnetic radiation are not material and can exist in a vacuum, that’s why we get the light of the sun and the stars. There are also other radiations that are not electromagnetic waves, like some radioactive emissions that are formed by material particles. What is the frequency of a radiation?Antennas, Cell Phones And Electromagnetic Radiation

We can say that the unit of electromagnetic radiation is the photon. And the photons of different types of waves are differentiated by their frequency; that of UVA photons is greater than that of infrared photons and less than that of X-rays. The one emitted by mobile telephony antennas and terminals is 900 MHz (megahertz) or 1,800 MHz. Greater frequency implies greater Energy. That is why an X-ray photon is five thousand times more energetic than one of visible light and ten billion times more than that emitted by mobile phones.

What is the intensity of a radiation?

The intensity of a radiation, or the number of photons associated with it, is also very important. Although the frequency of the microwaves of a furnace and those of a mobile phone is similar, the intensity of the radiation emitted by the furnace is about five thousand times greater than that of the telephone.

What are the differences between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation?

Our world is full of electromagnetic waves. A few are visible and manifest in the colors of things. Others we can feel in the form of heat (the infrared), or detect with devices (radio, telephony, radar or TV). The waves capable of breaking molecules (X-rays, gamma) are called ionizing, while those that fail to do so are called non-ionizing (radio waves, microwave, infrared, visible and ultraviolet). Some non-ionizing radiation can increase the movements of the molecules, which translates into heating. Microwave ovens are based on that property.

Is electromagnetic radiation dangerous?

The danger always depends on the type of radiation and the dose. The radiation that can break the molecules of the body is dangerous. If that, for example, happened with our DNA could cause cancer. It is important to know that although a single X-ray photon can break a DNA molecule, thousands and thousands of photons of visible light can not. To understand it we can think of the amount of energy needed to throw a stone across the Atlantic. Although thousands of people coordinated to throw their stones, none of them would reach the other side of the ocean. The second factor to consider is the dose, which depends on the intensity of the radiation and the time of exposure to it. Every day we are exposed to natural sources of radiation (including some ionizing radiation) in doses that are not dangerous to health. The great intensities, of course, imply greater risk. We have all seen it in our sun exposure.

What are the effects of microwaves on living beings?Antennas, Cell Phones And Electromagnetic Radiation

There are thousands of studies on the biological effects of radiation. Although some show that exposure to high doses of radio and microwave radiation can be dangerous, there is an exposure threshold below which no harmful effects are detected. This phenomenon of threshold exposure is well known and explains that we can expose ourselves to small doses of X-rays (a few x-rays per year) without the health risks being greater than the possible benefits. Some isolated experiments have detected biological effects at exposures below levels considered safe, especially on the functioning of the nervous system. However, the committees of scientists that analyze the set of all the experiments carried out continue to conclude that these effects do not pose a risk to health.

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Can antennas disturb sleep or cause headaches?

There are some studies that relate the intensive use of mobile phones with the appearance of headaches, but these results have not been able to contrast and the mechanism that could cause them is unknown. As regards the antennas, there is no evidence that they can alter sleep or cause headaches, which was foreseeable given that the radiation doses we receive from them are much lower. Some specialists have pointed out that the real cause of a disorder of this type could be stress in the face of a feeling of risk that, in any case, does not correspond to the available scientific evidence.

Do mobile phones interfere with other everyday devices?

The emissions of a mobile phone are more intense the moment we turn it on or when we establish a call. If at that moment we are near a radio it is easy for interferences to occur that disappear when the telephone has been “identified” in the network and starts operating at the minimum possible power. Similarly, a telephone could interfere with the information systems of an airplane or with a pacemaker in the vicinity.

What is the risk of using a mobile phone?

All experts agree that the main health risk arising from the use of mobile phones lies in traffic accidents. It has been calculated that the distraction of talking on the phone while driving multiplies by 4 the risk of having an accident.

With regard to radiation, it has not been possible to demonstrate that exposure below the levels considered safe poses a risk to health. In particular, it has not been possible to prove its relationship with any type of cancer or interruptions of pregnancy. What can electromagnetic radiation be found in homes? Are there screens to avoid them?

The fact that we can listen to the radio, watch television or talk on a mobile phone inside a house indicates that these low-frequency radiations go through the walls. To prevent the passage of all these radiations it would be necessary to build a thick shield that, even so, would not prevent the existence of other magnetic fields, such as those produced by the electric current wires. Together, the electric current and household appliances generate an electromagnetic field of 50Hz whose intensity remains well below the limits considered safe. Additional fields are also generated by television screens and computer monitors, wireless and mobile telephones.All radio, television and mobile telephony broadcasts come from abroad. Also of the antennas of medical emergencies, firemen, police and civil protection; radar systems and satellite communication systems. In general, the walls of a house attenuate between 3 and 20 times the intensity of the fields coming from outside. Are microwave ovens safe?Antennas, Cell Phones And Electromagnetic Radiation

Microwave ovens generate an intense electromagnetic radiation field of about 2450MHz frequency that penetrates food and has the right energy to vibrate water molecules, thus increasing the temperature. To increase its effectiveness, the oven walls bounce the microwaves that thus pass through the food several times. The door gasket is the most fragile point of the sealing of a furnace of this type, although normally only leaks are found if it has fallen to the ground. In the case of leaks, outgoing radiation poses a risk to people who are nearby, who would notice a particularly dangerous heat sensation for the eyes, a part of the body where lack of irrigation makes heat dissipation difficult.If we replaced the oven’s microwave generator with the one in a mobile phone, working without interruption at full power it would take more than ten days to boil a glass of water. Is it safer to move the antennas away from population centers?

If the base stations of telephony of the urban nuclei moved away, the antennas and telephones would have to emit with greater power to make possible the communication. This would mean an increase in the intensity of the radiation received both by the users of the telephones and by the rest of the citizens. Mobile telephone systems divide the space to be covered in a “cell” scheme, each of which is covered by a base station. The smaller the size of the cell, the lower the power that both the phone and the antenna itself have to emit.

What radiation are tenants of a house with antennas on the roof?

All antennas are placed on a pole or support that does not emit any radiation. The telephony antennas are designed in such a way that the electromagnetic radiation is projected horizontally and with a slight inclination towards the ground. Therefore, the space immediately below an antenna receives virtually no radiation from that antenna, in fact, receives more radiation from other antennas located hundreds of meters away. Do the telephone antennas always emit the same amount of energy?

The intensity of the electromagnetic field of a telephone antenna depends on the number of people who use the telephone at any time within their coverage area. This explains, for example, that in general, their emissions are weaker at night. That’s why there are rules about how and when to take measurements. Why do antennae sometimes make noise?Antennas, Cell Phones And Electromagnetic Radiation

Apart from antennas, telephony base stations have feeding and cooling systems equipped with transformers. All transformers emit a buzz that can be transmitted to the floor in the form of audible vibrations if the insulation is not properly installed. The noise that some people associate with antennae never comes from radiation. Are there many types of antennas?

On the roof of a building we can find, apart from lightning rods and antennas for radio and television, fixed telephone antennas, radio links and mobile phone antennas for analog and digital systems. All of them emit frequency waves between 1000kHz and 3000MHz. The law establishes that in any place, the intensity of the field generated by the set of these emissions cannot exceed the limits established as safe. Many mobile phone antennas have a vertical panel shape and cover a horizontal angle of 120 degrees, so it is usual to see them in groups of three oriented to cover the entire horizon. Sometimes there are three of these panels oriented in each direction but in this arrangement only the central acts as an emitter.

Are electromagnetic fields produced by high-voltage cables dangerous?

The first alarm voices about the dangers of electromagnetic fields for health emerged in the US thirty years ago, talking about the possible effects of the fields produced by power lines. Since then, although they have been studied exhaustively, no evidence has been found that demonstrates this relationship, even among professionals who spend a lot of time near these facilities. The power lines generate 50Hz fields, but the intensity can be large in the high voltage lines. As with all electromagnetic fields, their intensity decreases with the square of the distance. Ten meters from the cable the intensity is ten thousand times less than ten centimeters. Will emissions continue to increase by electromagnetic waves?

The wireless communications boom is expected to continue with third-generation mobile telephony (UMTS), which will turn phones into something similar to a laptop with access to data, video and Internet services through fixed, mobile networks and satellite. However, the availability of space in the radio frequency spectrum is limited, and there are fewer “gaps” to accommodate the new services offered by telecommunications companies.All the activities that involve the sending of information in the form of radio waves and microwaves have regulated the frequencies to which they must adhere. Some examples are the remote controls, the transmitters to monitor the sick and babies; remote control toys, wildlife control collars, communications with space vehicles, radars for air traffic control or satellite positioning GPS system. Are children more sensitive to microwave emissions?

Some organizations have included the recommendation to limit the use of mobile phones among young people and to avoid the installation of telephony antennas in the vicinity of schools, hospitals, parks and leisure centers. Such measures are not due to the fact that specific risks have been identified in these situations, but rather as a way to reduce the perception of risk by the public. Why have some countries reduced exposure limits?

The authorities of Switzerland and some Italian regions have significantly reduced the exposure limits recommended by the main international organizations. They intend to “keep emissions as low as technically possible and economically sustainable.” In practice, these restrictions do not apply to mobile phones, appliances or medical equipment. Associations of experts and international organizations competent in the field have criticized measures in which political interests prevail over scientists. Scientific studies

The first problem with the propositions of those who claim that cell phones and high-voltage cables are harmful to health is that they have not established any biological or physical mechanism, or have provided a valid and proven model that explains why they believe they would be harmful. The second is for the simple reason that there is no evidence to suggest an increase in cases of any of the proclaimed diseases that, supposedly, cause these technologies. In October 2004, the  World Health Organization (WHO)  organized an international workshop on electromagnetic hypersensitivity in which it was concluded:

“… after numerous well-controlled and designed double-blind studies, the symptoms of those affected have no correlation with exposure to electromagnetic fields …”

On the symptoms of those affected, he concluded:

“… there are indications that these symptoms are more likely to be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions or stress reactions resulting from concerns about the belief in the effects of electromagnetic fields on health than exposure to electromagnetic fields … “

The largest retrospective study of cases and witnesses in adults carried out to date, known as INTERPHONE, coordinated by theInternational Center for Cancer Research(CIIC), was devised to determine if there were links between the use of mobile phones and head and neck cancer in adults. In May 2010 he published his results in the Journal of Epidemiology. The analysis of the combined international data from 13 participating countries did not reveal an increased risk of glioma or meningioma with the use of the mobile phone for more than 10 years. On the other hand, in May 2011, the World Health Organization issued a press report that was misrepresented in various media. The report states that el  International Agency for Research on Cancer  (IAR C ) and

He examined the carcinogenic potential of various items by categories, among which were the radiofrequency fields produced by mobile phones. IARC classified radiofrequency fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans in group 2B,  which is used when a causal association is considered credible, but chance, biases or confounding factors cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence. That is, in category 2B items were included of which there were certain suspicions, but very little evidence as to suggest a cause/effect relationship between these and some carcinogenic effect. This was misinterpreted as evidence to the contrary, that is, that the WHO affirmed that mobile telephony was dangerous, when that was not what it said. In fact, in the same category 2B, we could find other items of generalized use. According to the IARC classification, group 1 agents are the only ones in which the evidence has proven its association with cancer in humans (as in UV rays, asbestos, cigarettes, formaldehyde, etc.). Group 2B classifies agents possibly carcinogenic to humans, that is, there is limited evidence of an association with cancer in humans and tests

Insufficient associated with cancer in experimental animals. In this category, IARC classified radiofrequency fields as possibly carcinogenic. Category 2B includes items with suspected carcinogenicity, but with little evidence to suggest a cause/effect relationship. In addition, the same category 2B encompasses other items of daily use.

There are many people concerned about the antennas, mobile, wifi, microwave ovens, radios – even some asking to be BAN gone. However, most pro is observed c upación for other items that are listed IARC same list of such com coffee, dry cleaning, gasoline, chloroform, woodworking, textile work, with firefighting, l os talcs powder hygiene, acrylic fibers, aloe vera, Cocamide DEA used in soaps and shampoos , Ginkgo biloba, etc. That is, the perceived risk is greater with what is unknown (such as the ‘mysterious’ radio frequencies) than with the objects and activities that are most at hand.Antennas, Cell Phones And Electromagnetic Radiation

Nevertheless, on the same page of the  World Health Organization, you can see the results of the meta-analysis of several studies, according to WHO standards. TheSystematic review on the health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields of mobile telephone base stations, published in October 2010, analyzes the scientific publications on the subject and concludes that:

“… Our examination does not indicate any association between health consequences and exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields of base stations at the levels that are usually found in people’s daily environment.” Evidence that there is no relationship between exposure and the development of acute symptoms can be considered strong according to the GRADE approach, since it is based on randomized controlled trials, applying the conditions of exposure in a laboratory … “

It was always said that children and adolescents could be more vulnerable to possible health effects from exposure to mobile telephony than adults. In July 2011, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the epidemiological study  Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors in Children and  Adolescents: A Multicenter Case-Control Study. This study investigated whether the use of mobile phones was associated with brain tumor risk in children and adolescents. It concludes that the absence of an exposure-response relationship, either in terms of the time of use of the mobile phone or the location of the tumor, goes against the causal association. In other words, who found no relationship between exposure to mobile phones and the appearance of brain tumors.

A Danish cohort study has effectively followed all individuals in Denmark (such a large sample is really the only way to detect effects) and has used administrative data from the telephone company for mobile phone subscriptions. This study found no effect on brain tumors of any kind.

Another study of almost 1 million women in the United Kingdom came to the same conclusions. In this study, women were asked about their use of the telephone and then followed them for seven years. The researchers found no relationship to most cancers. There is a weak link between frequent use of the mobile phone and cancer called acoustic neuroma, although the authors concluded that this is indeed a spurious correlation in the data.

If the effect of mobile phones on brain cancer were true, then rates of brain tumors should have grown dramatically since the introduction of mobile telephony. A study done in the USA and published in 2012, assessed this possibility by comparing the observed rates of glioma with the projected rates of two studies for the period from 1997 to 2008. They found that brain tumor rates remained almost unchanged since the arrival of the phones mobile


Despite having shown that viral Internet videos that aim to cook an egg or popcorn are false and that it is not possible to do what you see in them with a simple cell phone – due to the low power with which they transmit – some Technophobic movements continue to cite them as examples of the damage mobile phones and cellular antennas could cause to health. All cellular, radio, TV and wifi antennas emit non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. In no case has it been shown that these pose any risk to public health. So far, there is no scientifically proven relationship between cell phones and cancer or any other disease. In fact, mobile telephony exists more than 30 years ago and the mentioned dangers do not appear yet.

Still, there are those who still think that the precautionary principle should be applied  , hoping that there is more data to ensure that these technologies do not pose a health risk, which represents an argument of appeal to ignorance, as it aims to demonstrate the non-existence of something or demonstrate the negative, omitting the burden of proof.

In this sense, some “anti-antenna” groups seek at all costs to avoid installing them in urban areas of high population density, as well as those who want Wi-Fi-free schools. They propose to run the antennas to the periphery of the cities, so as to move them away from houses, schools, and hospitals, which is nonsense. If the antennas were moved away to the periphery of urban areas, they should transmit with more power to reach the center or other areas with an adequate intensity, going against what they propose. Similarly, mobile phones should operate at higher power. With this, in many cases, the limits imposed by organisms such as the FCC, which requires that the phones have a SAR value (specific absorption rate) less than 1.6W / kg, could not be met. A) Yes, moving the antennas would mean an increase in the intensity of the radiation received by those who live near them and by the rest of the users. In addition, the mobile system divides the space into cells with its respective base station. The smaller the size of the cell, the lower the power that both the phone and the antenna itself have to emit.

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For years there has been the talk of the possible harmful effects on the health of the different electromagnetic fields that the current technology emits: cellular, wifi, radio, television and high voltage cables. Although in many cases it is a genuine concern, those who raise this have not yet established any physical or physiological mechanism that endorses it or have proven the existence of a model that explains the hypothetical harmful effects. On the other hand, evidence based on epidemiological studies does not suggest an increase in cases of any of the aforementioned diseases. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity seems to have a strong psychological component and, paradoxically, does not seem to be related to electromagnetic fields (proof of this arises from observing the negative effects of the disease in patients even in the absence of these electromagnetic fields). Much less, a possible cause/effect relationship between exposure to radio frequencies and tumor growth, as seen in previous studies.

The electromagnetic radiation of mobile telephony is non-ionizing, that is, it does not have enough energy to cause damage to the DNA molecule. Each photon that emits a mobile phone is low energy, however, photons of UV light from the Sun itself have the ability to cause damage to DNA, since they have 100 million times more energy than the photons that emits the mobile (Which is why they recommend us to avoid sun exposure without a protector and at certain times). On the other hand, a photon in the range of visible light has more than one million times the energy of a photon corresponding to radio mobile telephony frequencies. Those who say that mobile radiation is dangerous, should not worry much more about the photons that emit red objects or blue, which have more energy than microwaves?

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