On April 16th, 2009, I presented my case study which answered the question “What social and economic forces shape communication infrastructure?” For my case study, I focused on telecommunication towers and the economic and social effects they have. While presenting my case study, I focused on the health concerns (High Intensity Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure and Lead Paint), the location of the towers, and some economic issues (towers being sold to private companies, effect of the towers on housing prices, and some innovations).
The class discussion that followed my case study was mainly about the health concerns related to the cell phone towers. I didn’t exactly state what the main health risks were and who should be concerned with them. There was also a question brought up that was “If these towers are now in church steeples, would the health concerns apply to these cell phone towers as well?” I will start by discussing the main health risks. As I was revisiting this topic, I found this link that stated in the summary section that the study of the health risks EMF exposure was plagued by “limited or inadequate evidence.”
The source that I mentioned in my presentation focused on mainly the workers that repair the towers. These workers are sometimes repairing the towers even while the towers are operating, or sending out the signals, as well as radiation. The source, in the concluding section, states that these workers should have “periodical medical check-ups done by a neurologist, cardiologist, therapist, and ophthalmologist.” This tells me that there are definitely some serious health concerns for the people who work on the towers, while the jury is still out for those who live near a tower. However, because of the intense coverage, the media has portrayed the towers as cancer causing machines and have created a state of fear within the general population.
The issues of cell phone towers in church steeples, which are a rather recent development, have not had enough research on these towers to produce any conclusive studies yet from what I have seen during my research.