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Is it safe to install a mobile phone antenna on a residential building?

Q: I stay on the top floor of my building. Our society wants to install a cell phone antenna (base stations) on the terrace just above my flat. Is installation of such antennas hazardous to health?

A:Mobile phone base stations are low-power multi-channel two-way radios. A mobile phone (cell phone) is a low-power, single-channel, two-way radio. When you talk on a mobile phone, you (and perhaps dozens of other people around you) are talking to a nearby base station. From that base station your phone call goes into the regular land-line phone system. Because mobile phones and their base stations are two-way radios, they produce radio-frequency (RF) radiation (that is how they communicate), and they expose people near them to RF radiation. However, because both the phones and the base stations are low power (short range), the RF radiation exposure levels from them are generally very low. The consensus of the scientific community internationally is that the power from these mobile phone base station antennas is far too low to produce health hazards as long as people are kept away from direct access to the antennas. It is critical to be aware of the difference between antennas (the objects that produce RF radiation), and the towers or masts or structures that the antennas are placed on. It is the antennas that people need to be at a distance from, not the structures that hold the antennas. As a rule of thumb, an antenna mounted on a 20 foot tower has no increased activity at its base. Health and safety reps should not only be concerned about the possible effects from radiation. There are three other public health and safety concerns. - Has a proper structural survey of the building been done to see if it is capable of taking the weight of the tower? This is essential and must include the effect of wind resistance on the tower to make sure that it will be able to stand up to severe winds. -Are there any security implications of an outside contractor requiring 24-hour access for maintenance? -What effect will this have on the issue of security and cleaning staff? Will security arrangements be sufficient to ensure that children and others will be unable to gain assess to the mast? This is particularly an issue in schools.


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