March 25, 2011 1:43 PM   Subscribe

At&T is installing a repeater about 100 yards from my house. Cause for concern?

I received a letter from my HOA that a meeting is to be held at the end of the month with representatives about the matter. I spent a couple of hours Googling on the subject, and found a whole lot of maybes, mights, and perhaps, so far as health issues are concerned. Nothing conclusive. Thanks in advance
posted by JABof72 to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
I'm not an EE by any stretch, but I figure if you have AT&T service, this is the best thing that can happen to you, as your phone can now emit a weaker signal, and if anything's gonna melt your face, it's going to be the radio closest to it.
posted by pwnguin at 1:46 PM on March 25, 2011 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I was thinking about that. I do have AT&T, and have to be in the living room to get a signal that doesn't break up.
posted by JABof72 at 1:59 PM on March 25, 2011

Best answer: If you already use a cellphone or have wireless in your house, the AT&T cell tower radio waves will be a tiny fraction of that power.
posted by empath at 2:08 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

The American Cancer Society says you don't need to be concerned:
Do cellular phone towers cause cancer?
Some people have expressed concern that living, working, or going to school near a cell phone tower might increase the risk of cancer or other health problems. At this time, there is very little evidence to support this idea. In theory, there are some important points that would argue against cellular phone towers being able to cause cancer.

First, the energy level of radiofrequency (RF) waves is relatively low, especially when compared with the types of radiation that are known to increase cancer risk, such as gamma rays, x-rays, and ultraviolet (UV) light. The energy of RF waves given off by cell phone towers is not enough to break chemical bonds in DNA molecules, which is how these stronger forms of radiation may lead to cancer.

A second issue has to do with wavelength. RF waves have long wavelengths, which can only be concentrated to about an inch or two in size. This makes it unlikely that the energy from RF waves could be concentrated enough to affect individual cells in the body.

Third, even if RF waves were somehow able to affect cells in the body at higher doses, the level of RF waves present at ground level is very low -- well below the recommended limits. Levels of energy from RF waves near cell phone towers are not significantly different than the background levels of RF radiation in urban areas from other sources, such as radio and television broadcast stations.

For these reasons, most scientists agree that cell phone antennas or towers are unlikely to cause cancer.
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:17 PM on March 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks OxFCAF. I went to them first. The majority of sites that spoke of health concerns were from people/organizations I'd never heard of. I did, however found a site with a link to Antenna Search. Turns out there's 63 radio antenna within a four mile radius of the house already.
posted by JABof72 at 2:36 PM on March 25, 2011

You should be more concerned about whether your HOA is making a smart deal; most don't adequately consider the long-term repercussions of letting power and phone companies purchase small parcels indefinitely.

More directly, AT&T's band is very close to the spectrum that home wireless devices like headphones and cordless land lines have been using for decades. If there was going to be a problem from this stuff it would likely have shown up when we all had point sources in our homes rather than down the street.
posted by phearlez at 2:36 PM on March 25, 2011

Response by poster: The tower is going to be on another property (a mobile home park), and mounted on an existing, but inactive electrical pole. A wash divides the two properties. I can see the pole from my backyard.
I'm sure the meeting is to belay any concerns residents may have. Like I would believe them; thus, my question
posted by JABof72 at 2:50 PM on March 25, 2011

Here's a nice rant from Mission Mission on the same topic.
posted by benzenedream at 3:50 PM on March 25, 2011

Most of this environmental RF FUD is bullshit. Worry about global warming.
posted by FauxScot at 5:23 AM on March 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wait, so the HOA wasted the board &management company's time to have a meeting about something that had nothing to do with the actual property they own, and about which they could do nothing anyway?

Remember that when the fees go up!
posted by TravellingDen at 9:24 AM on March 26, 2011

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