Do cell sites pose health risks? FDA says safety checks in place

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2020 06:54 PM

Do cell sites pose health risks? FDA says safety checks in place 1
A cellular site tower in Caloocan City on August 06, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said typical exposures to cell site antennas emitting radiofrequency radiation (RFR) do not have adverse effects, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Friday, citing an FDA advisory.

The FDA said that a safety evaluation is done prior to installation of these antennas. 

“…It is very unlikely that a person could be exposed to RFR levels greater than the limits specified by the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order No. 175 s. 2004. Antennas are installed high above cell site towers which ensure minimal exposure at the ground level,” the FDA advisory issued in September said.

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President Duterte earlier ordered telcos to improve its services and urged them to report to his Cabinet officials local government units hampering the building of cell sites in the country.

Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu earlier said 28 to 30 permits and around 8 months were needed to build just one tower. 

The DICT said it is ramping up construction of needed infrastructures to improve telecom services, and that it was streamlining the period needed to secure permits to 16 days from 200 days for a common tower construction.

“In addition to a more holistic government approach in accelerating ICT infrastructure, Section 4 (ii) of the recent Bayanihan to Heal as One Act provides that only the Supreme Court may issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction against the construction of telecommunications infrastructure, including cell sites and cell towers,” the DICT said. 

“We’d also want the public to understand that, while we are expediting the roll-out of ICT infrastructures, the government does not neglect the safety of the public—there are safeguards in place to ensure the safety of such infrastructures,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan said.

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