Last night I attended a very good talk in Bilbao, Spain, by Félix Goñi, biochemist, and Joseba Zubia, physicist, at the University of País Vasco, on the topic of cellphone radiation. It was moderated by Luis Alfonso Gámez, member of the local Círculo Escéptico and head of CFI Spain. Interested spanish speakers can read a short article HERE.
The information they gave paralleled perfectly with what I recall reading in physicist Robert Park’s wonderful book Voodoo Science. Namely, that the power of electromagnetic radiation is inversely proportional to its wavelength, and that cellphone radiation is actually of longer wavelength and hence lower power than even visible light. As such it is incapable of breaking chemical bonds, and in particular incapable of causing mutations in DNA and hence cancer. All such radiation can do is to cause heating. This is the same sort of radiation (but at orders of magnitude lower intensity) as that of terrestrial radio or TV.
The regulations for these towers are keyed off of a maximum power, which is sufficient to cause a 1º celsius change in a human body. Then there is a correction factor of 50-100x, to account for the fact that there might be children, the elderly or infirm affected by such radiation. (The sun is capable of much greater changes in temperature on a sunny day). Added to that is the fact that most of us are quite distant from such cellphone towers, and we can see that there is no cause for alarm. Neither is there cause for alarm from cellphone handsets, since once again the radiation involved is only capable of heating and not of breaking chemical bonds.
Reaction from the audience was dismayingly fierce, as many had clearly made up their minds that various illnesses they suffer from were due to cellphone towers in their neighborhood. They were not going to be convinced otherwise, no matter the evidence. Gámez allowed them their time, which was frustrating for those of us inherently opposed to gratuitous insults of eminent scientists and displays of scientific illiteracy, however in the long run it was for the best.