Website editor’s note: The article that you are about to read is one of a series of articles designed to de-mystify the science relating to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health.

The 5G system proposed for NZ would greatly increase the number of 4G cell phone towers that produce microwave radiation and also see the proliferation of wireless “small cells” on lamp posts etc.

So-called “small cells” are essentially a form of mini cell phone tower and emit microwave radiation and/or millimetre wave radiation. If 5G is allowed to proceed in NZ a lot more people in NZ would be exposed to health risk from cellular phone infrastructure than is currently the case.

Biological Effects of Living Near a Cell Tower

Governments and the wireless industry have been assuring us for years that

(a) there is no biological effect of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) aka microwave radiation at intensities less than those permitted by the current regulations and

(b) cell towers emit only a tiny fraction of the radiation permitted by the current regulations. 

The truth of the matter is that statement (b) is correct, but statement (a) is not. 

This short article provides some hard data on the measured effects of living close to a cell tower.  These data are not epidemiological.  Epidemiology is a discipline fraught with many complications, and there are very likely multiple causes for any given case of, for example, cancer.  Rather, the data reported here are simple comparisons of blood chemistry and anatomy between people living close to cell towers and  similar people living further from cell towers. 

1. DNA damage

This paper:

compares DNA damage and antioxidant status between the white blood cells of 40 adults living within 80 metres of a cell tower (called the exposed group) and 40 adults living more than 300 metres from a cell tower (called the control group).  The two groups were matched for age, gender, dietary pattern, smoking habit, alcohol consumption, duration of mobile phone use and average daily mobile phone use.  Measured RF power densities to which the exposed group were exposed (2.80–7.52 mW/m2; average 5.002 ± 0.182 mW/m2) were significantly higher than the RF power densities to which the control group were exposed (0.014–0.065 mW/m2; average 0.035 ± 0.002 mW/m2).  It should be noted that these exposure figures are completely consistant with the sorts of exposures experienced by people living in the Auckland region, as measured by meters obtainable from  (with which company the present author declares no personal or financial association).

The results of the study in question were that the white blood cells of the exposed group had significantly more DNA damage than those of the control group and a significantly lower concentration of antioxidants (antioxidants are compounds that are protective against cancer).  

2. Diabetes

This paper:

measures blood markers predictive of developing Type 2 diabetes, and reports that children attending a school located close to a cell tower have more of these markers than similar children whose school is further from a cell tower.

This paper immediately attracted commentary to the effect that the control group was not well enough matched with the experimental group, so that the increased diabetes risk might actually have been due to increased exposure to cellphone or WiFi radiation at home (in Saudi Arabia cellphone use is strictly prohibited in schools) and not to the proximity of the school to a cell tower:

The original authors replied that they had used a questionnaire to match the groups for individual cellphone and WiFi usage as well as they were able, that both groups came from the same socio-economic background so there was no particular reason for one group to be more exposed to cellphones and/or WiFi at home than the other, and that even if the increased diabetes risk were due to subtly different use of cellphones and/or WiFi in the two groups, the principle remains that it is not a good idea to expose children to either cell tower radiation or any stronger source of radiofrequency emissions.

3.  Effect of cell towers on cows

This paper reports that a dairy herd pastured in a paddock close to a number of radio emitters first showed a significantly lowered milk yield (which recovered when they were moved to a different paddock, and became lower again when they were moved back) and then started aborting calves, hiding from the transmitters behind a shed in preference to grazing out in the open, and showing a number of other unusual behaviours which in some cases culminated in actual death, at a relatively early age.

4.  Effect of cell towers on trees

This paper

reports a high level of damage to trees in the vicinity of cell towers. 

NB:  This effect is separate from the projected deliberate removal of trees because they block the millimetre waves that will be emitted in the pending “5G rollout”.

(NB: A post specifically on 5G and trees may be read at this link: – Ed.)

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