No Adverse Short or Long-Term Health Effects from the Weak Radio Frequency Signals from Telecommunication Towers

No Adverse Short or Long-Term Health Effects from the Weak Radio Frequency Signals from Telecommunication Towers
Telecommunication Towers

The WHO Fact Sheet on Base Stations and Wireless Networks notes that “considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak Radio Frequency (RF) signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects”.

The WHO points out that scientific evidence on the distribution of cancer in a population can be obtained through carefully planned and executed epidemiological studies and over the past 15 years, studies examining a potential relationship between RF transmitters and cancer have been published.

However, these studies have not provided evidence that RF exposure from the transmitters increases the risk of cancer. Likewise, the Organization notes 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 that produced by base stations and wireless networks.

WHO further notes that few studies have investigated general health effects in individuals exposed to RF fields from base stations. The reason is because of the difficulty in distinguishing possible health effects from the very low signals emitted by base stations from other higher strength RF signals in the environment. According to the Fact Sheet, most studies have focused on RF exposures of mobile phone users. Human and animal studies examining brain wave patterns, cognition and behavior after exposure to RF fields, such as those generated by mobile phones, have not identified adverse effects. RF exposures used in these studies were about 1000 times higher than those associated with general public exposure from base stations or wireless networks. No consistent evidence of altered sleep or cardiovascular function has been reported.

The Fact Sheet, therefore, concludes that from the evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations. Since wireless networks produce generally lower RF signals than base stations, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them.

To further safeguard the health of people, International exposure guidelines have been developed to provide protection against established effects from RF fields by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP, 1998) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE, 2005).

Studies in Ghana carried out by the Radiation Protection Institute of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission is mandated by the Electronic Communication Act 775 and the Guidelines for Installation of Telecommunication Masts to assess and monitor telecommunication cell sites.

The functions of the Radiation Protection Institute among others are to undertake research and development in the areas of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

This is to ensure the health and safety of radiation workers, patients, the public and the environment; and the security of radioactive substances and nuclear materials/installations, including radioactive waste management.

Research carried out by RPI indicates that the electromagnetic fields emanating from the base station in Ghana are well within the Global standards set and thus if the global standards have been concluded no adverse short or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations. Then cell sites in Ghana are safe for radiation workers, patients, the public and the environment.

Studies by other experts

The ICNIRP after analysing Base Stations High-Frequency Fields (HF) effects on the body and health implications concluded that “a large number of studies have been undertaken on both acute and long-term effects from HF exposure typical of base stations. Research at these levels of exposure has provided no conclusive evidence of any related adverse health effects.”[3]

ICNIRP Statement on Health Issues related to the use of Hand-Held Radiotelephones and Base Transmitters[4] among other things note that there is no substantive evidence that adverse health effects including cancer can occur in people exposed.

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) also concludes that the results of current scientific research show that there are no evident adverse health effects if Electromagnetic Field [EMF] exposure remains below the levels set by current standards[5].

The Institute of Engineering and Technology also notes that the balance of scientific evidence to date still does not indicate that harmful effects occur in humans due to low-level exposure to EMFs.[6]


Base Stations & Wireless Technologies, Backgrounder, May 2006. mf/publications/fact/fs304/en/

[2] Ibid


[4] ICNIRP Publication, Health Physics 70(4):383-387;1996 available at