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Thread: Impact of cell towers on wildlife

  1. #1
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    Question Impact of cell towers on wildlife

    An issue has arisen where someone has referenced a paper called 'Possible effects of electromagnetic fields from phone masts on a population of white storks' (Pdf file 101kb)

    This is a shorter abstract

    How firm is the science on this?

    Is it cut and dried the way the paper concludes are are there any counter view points here?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    Is it cut and dried the way the paper concludes are are there any counter view points here?
    I don't know, but I read through the paper and the work seems to be pretty well done. But it is a single study on a single species. Any broader conclusions would require other work. There may be other, similar studies out there, but I'm not familiar with that literature.
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    I'm not certain the science is conclusive one way or the other on the effects of EMF surrounding high-voltage lines, much less that of cell towers.

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    Sorry about this, but I was rushed and forgot this link

    My bad

    Abstract (Sort of)

    The sparrows have disappeared completely from the cities at least four years ago in Britain, as mobile phones grew in popularity. Third generation (3G) mobile phones were introduced in 2003, and there were over 65 million users in the UK by the end of 2005, more phones than people [1]. Did mobile phone transmitters cause the sparrows to disappear [2]?

    Scientists at the Research Institute for Nature and Forests in Brussels, Belgium, have produced the first evidence that mobile phone base stations are affecting the reproductive behaviour of wild sparrows [3]. This finding comes as mobile phones are held suspect in the massive collapse of bee colonies all over the United States and Europe [4] ( Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees , SiS 34).
    Does this change opinions. I have no axe to grind, except to counter any possible pseudo science or misuse of science.

  5. #5
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    Hmm, the sparrow one is interesting - I have just been wondering about the curious absence of sparrows here.
    On the other hand, we have a lot of other birds that don't seem to be affected in the city. Pigeons, Crows. I know a large crow population can be devastating to other bird populations around - they steal from other nests.

    So maybe an inquiry into other factors - predators, absence of typical nesting areas, air pollution to name a few - is needed before a definitive link can be drawn.


  6. #6
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    If you are worried about your own exposure, you are probably safe provided you don't live on a mobile phone tower. I'm curious about a couple of things: investigating how birds in cooler environments do to eliminate the effects of heat stress from continually being microwaved and finding out if the birds themselves do any selection. Perhaps the birds realize that nesting on a mobile phone tower sucks and only weaker birds who lose out in competition for better sites nest there. This would exagerate the apparent negative effect. Of course it could work the other way. The birds might unwittingly thing mobile phone towers are great places to nest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    Sorry about this, but I was rushed and forgot this link

    ....

    Does this change opinions. I have no axe to grind, except to counter any possible pseudo science or misuse of science.
    Actually, the paper linked in your first post was more interesting to me, since that was a very specific study in an journal. This link is a review (at best) with little snippets taken from different sources.

    The stork paper does seem to show some reproductive effects. I think one would have to do a lot more work to see how broad an effect it is. I would not call this either pseudo-science or a misuse, I would call it an evolving science, something worthy of further study, but maybe too early for conclusions or action plans.

    It seems quite possible to me, that different bird species would be effected differently. For example, some of the migratory species have the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field, but I don't believe that is universal among birds. I'm not saying that this sense is what is involved in this effect, but I'm using as an example of bird species to bird species variation in their interactions with electromagnetic fields.
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    The sparrows have completely disappeared from the cities at least four years ago in Britain, as mobile phones grew in popularity.
    Wow, this would be so cool if it's true. At last Australia could fight back agains the ferrel sparrow menace. The CSIRO might be working on a plan right now to tune our mobile phone networks to zap the little blighters. Of course, global warming is having massive effects on bird, insect and other animal populations, so it's going to be hard to work out what is causeing what.

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    I think Ronald's point is very important. There are lots of other things that impact wildlife populations. Even just limiting things to those caused by humans you have a wide variety of polutants, climate change, loss of and changes to habitat, introduction of invasive species, etc. To say "look, no more sparrows, and we put up more cell towers at the same time, must be a connection" is much too simple an approach.

    The stork study made attempts to eliminate the effect of other variables, but looking at a specific population of storks, and dividing by distance from the cell phone tower. That is the kind of work one has to do. You then have to combine those statistical studies with biological studies in the laboratory, to try to find out the physiological basis of the effect.
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    To throw a curve ball, the group concerned raising the issue is out to preserve the UK's native red squirrels and appealed to the Stork study to support their argument.

    My comment was, design you mast the way you design bird tables, so no squirrel can get up it.

    Or do they put these masts amongst trees?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    To throw a curve ball, the group concerned raising the issue is out to preserve the UK's native red squirrels and appealed to the Stork study to support their argument.

    My comment was, design you mast the way you design bird tables, so no squirrel can get up it.

    Or do they put these masts amongst trees?
    I thought the main problem for the red squirrel was the introduction of non-native squirrel species. Do they have any reason to believe that cell phone towers are at all part of the red squirrel's problems?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Brak View Post
    At last Australia could fight back agains the ferrel sparrow menace.
    I would think the box jellyfish would be the menace to be eradicated. Yes, ERADICATED. How could unintended consequences, if any, be any worse?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Scientists at the Research Institute for Nature and Forests in Brussels, Belgium, have produced the first evidence that mobile phone base stations are affecting the reproductive behaviour of wild sparrows [3]. This finding comes as mobile phones are held suspect in the massive collapse of bee colonies all over the United States and Europe [4] ( Mobile Phones and Vanishing Bees , SiS 34).
    It was my understanding that it was discovered that the sudden colony collapse was caused by a parasite and not cell phone towers. This is what caused other insects and bees away from the hive. Once the parasite infected the hive, the colony began producing a hormone that other bees recognized as a warning to say away.

    I would think that a study would more more broad in determining the cause of the bird loss. I did a quick look through the study and from what I could see there was no mention of investigation into possible parasites, invasive species, or viruses that could be causing the reduction. I'm sure the spread of the human populous in the area, and subsequent pollution would also be causing an affect.

    I'm not saying that cell phone and high tension power lines don't have a physical affect on living creatures near them, but think that the abstract should also include why they think that it's the only cause to the bird decline. To me that would be like suing your neighbor because his Bell Express dish was causing your tomatoes to die without checking for insects first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    I would think the box jellyfish would be the menace to be eradicated. Yes, ERADICATED. How could unintended consequences, if any, be any worse?
    In Australia it is culturally permissable to promote acts of despicable evil against feral or otherwise introduced animals but not against non-feral or non-introduced animals. As box jellyfish aren't feral or introduced we are compelled to accept them into our loving embrace. (Although it might be a good idea to keep the vinegar handy to neutralize the toxin.)

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    Box Jelly Fish may be there to deal with other pests or to clean up things. Eco systems are quite intricate, but enough of this diversion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rommel543 View Post
    It was my understanding that it was discovered that the sudden colony collapse was caused by a parasite and not cell phone towers. This is what caused other insects and bees away from the hive. Once the parasite infected the hive, the colony began producing a hormone that other bees recognized as a warning to say away.

    I would think that a study would more more broad in determining the cause of the bird loss. I did a quick look through the study and from what I could see there was no mention of investigation into possible parasites, invasive species, or viruses that could be causing the reduction. I'm sure the spread of the human populous in the area, and subsequent pollution would also be causing an affect. ...
    I tend to agree, also. IMHO-- different (colonies of "uncontaminated" species need to examined, e.g., South America, or Africa perhaps) samplings of other species need to be examined for stresses. Given the smaller size-- pound-for-pound ( or kg-for-kg, if you will) --certainly complicates matters much.

    One thing that puzzles me is that x-rays will definitely break bonds and wreak havoc on the DNA--but no one has asked: if these animals might have become disoriented (far flung--I know) from the low energy radiation ( or another source ) and then became prey to parasites, viruses, chemical poisoning?

  17. #17
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    from:

    http://health.yahoo.com/news/afp/hea...107111306.html

    Mobile phones may halt, reverse Alzheimer's

    Researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) found, to their surprise, that 96 mice they zapped twice daily for an hour each time with electromagnetic waves similar to those generated by US mobile (cellular) phones benefited from the exposure.
    Older mice saw deposits of beta-amyloid -- a protein fragment that accumulates in the brain of Alzheimer's sufferers to form the disease's signature plaques -- wiped out and their memories improved after long-term exposure to mobile phones, the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease showed.
    I like those electromagnetic wave studies, I simply like them

    ETA: ... funded by ....

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