When mobile phones were in their infancy it was phone tower radiation that received most of the health news. But the demand for better signal, coverage, and new 5G rollouts means that might be about to change.
In the early 2000s there were lots of news stories about phone towers. Public concern about their dangers were high, and research was often reported. Locals mounted campaigns to oppose the construction of masts and it was a hotly debated topic.
The concern was that the masts used and attracted huge amounts of mobile phone radiation. Much as our phones have an electromagnetic field of mobile phone radiation the phone towers do too.
The issue seemed to die down, perhaps as more and more phone towers were erected. People appreciated the strength and coverage of signal. Mobile phone companies boast about their coverage, with few people stopping to think about how that is achieved.
Some committed campaigners persisted, such as this story about a mobile phone mast removed after five deaths and a seventeen-year campaign. Mobile phone masts were back in the news again briefly after a case in India. And here at WaveWall we looked at how phone towers work and play an important role in the mobile phone tracking so often used by the police and popularised on TV shows.
Phone tower radiation is back in the news
It’s a question that is back on the agenda though. The increasing quality and speed of our mobile phone signal requires an increasing quantity of mobile phone masts. The advent of 5G requires a mast every few hundred metres in busy areas to maintain a strong signal. And our demand for signal keeps growing as we expect to stream videos and download high-resolution images on the move.
400,000 extra towers will be needed to bring 5G to the countryside – and it’s anticipated they will need to be 25m (80ft) tall. Campaigners in a 5G test area in Cornwall are concerned about the health effects and estimate a tower would be needed every ten to twenty houses in order to provide high-speed coverage.
The network EE has plans to use helium balloons and drones as phone towers to help plug holes in the existing infrastructure.
The towers are just a means to get the antennae high up. In the future, more and more phone towers won’t look like the large masts we see now. Antennae and the base network equipment can be placed on street lighting, or attached to chimneys or rooves and camouflaged. Or be mobile like the helium balloons and drones mentioned in plans by the network EE.
Electromagnetic smog in our homes
It’s all part of the increasing “electromagnetic smog”, that blanket of wireless fields and mobile phone radiation that our homes, streets, schools, and workplaces are filled with.
It’s not just people who have to worry about phone tower radiation. Environmentalists have warned about the threat to wildlife of the 5G rollout. Mobile phone radiation and electromagnetic signals might even be a factor in the declining bee population across the world.
So it looks like mobile phone radiation and phone tower radiation will be on the rise.