(Source: Getty Images)

The largest study to date on the topic of cell towers and pregnancy has found no link between living near cell phone towers and becoming the victim of childhood cancers.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Put away the tin foil hats, your children are safe

There's a longstanding debate over whether cell phones cause cancer.  Some studies have indicated that extensive cell phone use could be correlated to developing aggressive, fast-growing cancers.  And despite generally failing to present compelling evidence, some doctors also voice support for the theory that cell phones and cell phone towers can cause cancer.  

That fear has led many to demonstrate against and block the installation of cell phone towers.  It has also led to San Francisco, California passing the nation's first legislation mandating cell phone makers to provide information on EMF radiation levels of specific handsets.

Now one of the largest studies to date has examined people living in close proximity to cell phone towers and found no link between them and childhood cancer.  The study examined over 7,000 pregnant women and followed their children through birth and their first five years of life.

The incredibly extensive study consider every one of the 81,178 cell phone towers/masts in Britain -- which support Britain's Vodafone, O2, France Telecom's's Orange, and Deutsche Telekom's's T-Mobile networks.  It found that children who developed cancer before the age of five were no more likely to be living next to one of these broadcasting stations than not living next to one.

Eileen Rubery, former head of British government's public health prevention department, characterized the study as robust and voiced relief, stating, "This is a carefully done study by a highly reputable group of environmental scientists.  It is reassuring that no adverse affects have been found and this fits with the anticipated and known biological effects from such sites.It is reassuring that no adverse affects have been found and this fits with the anticipated and known biological effects from such sites."

Paul Elliot, director of the center for environment and health at Imperial College London, who helped lead the research, comments, "These results are reassuring.  We found no pattern to suggest that the children of mums living near a base station during pregnancy had a greater risk of developing cancer than those who lived elsewhere."

The term "cell phone mast" is a colloquialism in British vernacular for a GSM Base Transceiver Station (BTS).  This term is often used to refer to both towers and radio masts have had cell phone transmitting and receiving equipment attached to them, along with other support electronics.

The full study can be found here published in the prestigious 
British Medical Journal.  

While such health scares (such as the autism vaccine scare) often persist for years after conclusively being disproven, it appears that those who do their research can be reassured that the vast body of scientific evidence points to it being perfectly safe to live next to cell phone towers while pregnant.

Hopefully, the researchers next turn to whether there's any link between towers and adult cancers. 

In related news, an extensive study following 13,000 cell phone users over 10 years, which looked for a cell phone-brain cancer link, was published last month.  Its conclusion was that there was no link.  That study, published by Interphone, can be found here [PDF].

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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