Saturday, March 20, 2010

Should Cell Phone Towers Be Put on Residential Buildings?

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto

Between the upgrading of existing systems and the licencing of new carriers, the rooftop landscape of Toronto, Canada is changing rapidly as new antennae are added daily. While TreeHugger has discussed the question of cell phone safety many times, we are usually talking about the phone itself, where users have some control, rather than the base stations, where residents in apartment buildings with base stations on the roof do not. Is this exposure dangerous? A recent installation raises some questions.

I was first alerted to the issue when the daughter of a close friend, who lived in the top floor of the nearby building where base stations were installed in December, started complaining. My friend describes her daughter's symptoms:
Symptoms were aching in her upper arms, nausea, couldn't sleep, and generally feeling 'not right'. She was complaining to me about not being able to sleep and not feeling well for about a month before she was aware of the issue of the cellphone. She would actually sleep out in the hallway.

Many suggest that such complaints are psychosomatic; The fact that she felt ill for a month before she knew the base station was there is interesting. She has now moved out and is feeling much better... more story at

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