Electromagnetic waves may be harmful to people, and so a precautionary approach when siting the towers is sensible. It's an approach that has already been adopted by planners in India, and something similar should be built into the US's planning laws, says a group of engineers at Michigan Technological University.
Right now, the only legislation that governs the siting of the towers—the Telecommunications Act of 1996—eliminates "environmental effects" as a consideration. The policy doesn't reflect the latest research; although the health impacts of radio-frequency radiation is inconclusive, the latest preliminary data "gives us reason to be concerned," says Joshua Pearce, one of the team. The few independent human studies have shown that people living close to a cell tower are more likely to report headaches, dizziness, depression and neuro-behavioural symptoms.
"I'm pro-tech and pro-human so I think there are ways for us to have our cell phones and minimize potential risk without waiting to find out that putting a cell tower on top of a school was a bad idea," he added.