Friday, September 24, 2010

Cell vs. Cell

For years there has been a debate over cell phones and their effect on the user.  Typically people hold their phones pressed against their ear for the duration of a call and many males wear them on their belts when not in use.
In order for a cell phone to work it must send and receive a signal from somewhere usually a nearby transmitting structure known as a cell tower.
Scientists have claimed there might be a danger of brain tumors or other long term damage to the brain for regular users.  They claim the proximity to the brain of these powerful transmitter/receiver may be scrambling more than voices.
Naturally cell phone manufacturers and service providers as well as the companies who erect the towers pooh-pooh these claims stating the signals are very weak and cannot cause human cell damage.  Even the FCC which is one might hope is on the side of the consumer has come out on the 'not that bad' side of the argument.
These debates flare up once in a while but in our sound bite world they tend to fade away when new issues arise such as, for example an economic meltdown caused by greedy bankers and Wall St. billionaires.
But on Long Island the issue has reared it's ugly wireless head as the towers are once again casting a scary shadow over the Town of Hempstead.
With certain restrictions the town council voted to ban the placement of new towers from being built near schools and residences.  This move should drastically limit their numbers.
The dilemma for consumers however is the ever increasing demand for better phone service and fewer 'dropped calls.'
Now, in a twist with a touch of irony FCC spokesman Bruce Romano (I do like his first name) is telling people that more transmitters would be better for the public and his reasoning is interesting.
Mr. Romano says that a phone will receive better service the closer it is to a cell tower and therefore more cell towers is a good thing.  He states that the increase in the handset's "bars' will show this.
He goes on in his effort to sell the cell by explaining that with more towers the phone would have to emit less energy while pressed against one's ear.
In other words he is admitting that there is a problem and has been one for years!
He is asking us to allow the placement of more wireless signal emitting towers so as to create a more comprehensive mesh of signals within which our phones will work better.
That sounds like a plan.  Build more towers to alleviate the danger of brain tumors due to cell phone use.  Of course in doing so you increase the risk of other types of cancers somewhere else on the body.
Interesting trade off, right?
Perhaps the battle of cell vs. cell is not yet over and more research work needs to be done.  None of us have definitive answers.
Oh and Mr. Romano, don't call me, I'll call you!

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