DICT: Cell site towers ‘don’t cause cancer’

THE Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Visayas Cluster 2 has corrected a misconception that cell site towers cause cancer, citing various local and foreign medical studies that say radio frequency (RF) waves from these facilities don’t affect a person’s health.

“Normally, cancer is caused when your genes mutate. I am not a doctor but we understand the basic principles involved in mobile technology and a radiofrequency wave is not ionizing, meaning it does not affect the DNA of a person,” said Frederick Amores, DICT Visayas Cluster 2 director.

While the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic continues to put the spotlight on the slow internet speed in the country, the DICT and telecommunication companies have to contend with people who cling to this belief.

“People want better and faster internet but they don’t want to let telcos build cell sites because they believe these cause cancer. That’s our dilemma,” he said.

Amores said communities should be informed of the facts.

“Even if you’re someone who’s living at the foot of the tower, the effect is very minimal,” he said.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, cancers are unevenly distributed among any population.

“Given the widespread presence of base stations in the environment, it is expected that possible cancer clusters will occur near base stations merely by chance. Moreover, the reported cancers in these clusters are often a collection of different types of cancer with no common characteristics and hence unlikely to have a common cause,” WHO said.

“Scientific evidence on the distribution of cancer in the population can be obtained through carefully planned and executed epidemiological studies. Over the past 15 years, studies examining a potential relationship between RF transmitters and cancer have been published. These studies have not provided evidence that RF exposure from the transmitters increases the risk of cancer,” WHO added.

The report also stated that “long-term animal studies have not established an increased risk of cancer from exposure to RF fields, even at levels that are much higher than produced by base stations and wireless networks.” (JOB)


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