Theincreased use of cell phone base towers (base stations) propose a significant risk to those living within 400 metres of these towers. The increased amount of cell phone traffic has increased the density in the construction of these towers. Research illustrates that in 2009 there were over 200,000 of these sites in the USA alone. Where such stations have been constructed near work premises people may be unaware of the potential hazards posed to them. The cell phone manufacturers have said they pose no risk but scientists say that no such assurances should be given. It is the emission of strong electromagnetic radiation that may be potentially damaging to both human and animal health. Studies carried out in Germany found the towers caused adverse health effects to the dairy cattle. By moving the cattle away from the towers to new pastures cured the problem.
Anecdotal evidence points to increased cancer risk from being in close proximity to these towers although more scientific research needs to be carried out in this area.
Mitigation of risk
Increased levels of research required in order to understand the implications of health risks. Engineering mitigation in the form of directives to safe location, shielding to prevent excessive radiation emissions. The need for adequate communication to the general public informing them of the problem whilst providing adequate health and safety guidelines. The need for independent monitoring of emissions and placement of the towers in order to ensure that they comply with legal regulations and the ability to impose penalties for non compliance with rules and regulations. The need to review the adequacy of existing legal directives and updating these based upon the findings of proven scientific research and epidemiological studies. All of these mitigations will form part of the standard quality risk mitigation strategy.