1 in 10 Tower Sites Violates Federal Radio Frequency Rules

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With the mobile data demand increasing at a steady rate, the towers that facilitate this technology are being thrust into the limelight more often. The Wall Street Journal reported that the antennas atop these towers are challenging federal safety rules regarding RF emissions because the rules were put in place when signals largely radiated from remote towers off-limits to the public. Now these antennas are everywhere: on rooftops, in parks, and placed throughout stadiums. Even though the federal rules require carriers to use barricades, post signs, and train their employees properly, the men and women who work on these sites can be at risk. According to The Wall Street Journal, “One in 10 sites violates the rules, according to six engineers who examined more than 5,000 sites during safety audits for carriers and local municipalities, underscoring a safety lapse in the network that makes cell phones hum, at a time when the health effects of antennas are being debated world-wide. The FCC has issued just two citations to cell carriers since adopting the rules in 1996.” The FCC would like to have resources available to monitor each antenna; however, that’s just not feasible. “It’s like having a speed limit and no police,” said Marvin Wessel, an engineer who has audited more than 3,000 sites and found one in 10 out of compliance. (Source: WSJ) A lot of the time residents are worried about the RF emissions from the towers, but by the time the radiation reaches the street it is no longer dangerous. The workers who are directly in contact with these structures are the ones we should be working to protect. At very high levels, radio-frequency radiation can cook human tissue, the FCC said, potentially causing cataracts and temporary sterility and other health issues. To read the full WSJ article that cites particular cases of the damages RF emissions have caused tower workers, please click here.

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