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Environ Res. 2020 Feb;181:108845. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108845. Epub 2019 Nov 29.

Limiting liability with positioning to minimize negative health effects of cellular phone towers.

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Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering, School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland; Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, USA; Department of Materials Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, USA. Electronic address:


The use of cellular phones is now ubiquitous through most of the adult global population and is increasingly common among even young children in many countries (e.g. Finland, where the market for smart phones is nearly saturated). The basic operation of cellular phone networks demands widespread human exposure to radio-frequency radiation (RFR) with cellular phone base stations providing cellular coverage in most areas. As the data needs of the population increase from the major shift in the source of Internet use from personal computers to smart phones, this coverage is widely predicted to increase. Thus, both the density of base stations and their power output is expected to increase the global human RFR exposure. Although direct causation of negative human health effects from RFR from cellular phone base stations has not been finalized, there is already enough medical and scientific evidence to warrant long-term liability concerns for companies deploying cellular phone towers. In order to protect cell phone tower firms from the ramifications of the failed paths of other industries that have caused unintended human harm (e.g. tobacco) this Current Issue summarizes the peer-reviewed literature on the effects of RFR from cellular phone base stations. Specifically the impacts of siting base stations are closely examined and recommendations are made for companies that deploy them to minimize their potential future liability.


Antenna arrays; Cancer; Cellular phone base stations; Environmental pollution; Microwave sickness; Nonionizing electromagnetic fields; RFR health effects; Radiofrequency radiation (RFR)

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of competing interest The author has no conflict of interest.

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