Remember smoking cigarettes? Well, back in the day, no one knew about or for that matter, paid any attention to what would eventually happen to one’s lungs when submitted to the frequent use of tobacco. Practically everybody smoked. I’d even venture to say you smoked or someone close to you smoked, maybe even still do. Well, fast forward 60 or 70 years and look what the attitude about smoking is today. Even secondhand smoke is considered dangerous.

OK then, let’s take a look at our cellphone trend today. Or, shall we say, habit. Just about everybody has one, including our children. Be it for safety, curiosity, convenience, business, all justifiable reasons to have one . . . I suppose. Fact is, our present technological society almost determines we need one. While it is true that the more our population increases, the number of cellphone users increase and, of course, the number of cell towers to transmit our calls increase.

Cell towers for cellphones came along around 1990 and now, 24 years later, a person doesn’t need to look far without seeing a cell tower. Our environment is bombarded with electromagnetic frequencies daily, hourly . . . ’round the clock in fact. We humans are also being constantly exposed. What effect does this have on us? Guess what? Nobody knows . . . yet! But, chances are we soon will.

We are all a million times more exposed to electromagnetic radiation than our grandparents. EMFs are impossible to escape. Just like the side effects from tobacco and second-hand smoke, electromagnetic frequency exposure is making an impact on our existence and taking a toll on our bodies which may not be recognized by us or our governing bodies for quite some time. Nevertheless, the dangers of EMF long-term, cumulative exposure does very much exist.

The United States lags far behind European countries which have wisely begun to regulate cell towers, their number and locations.

We should caution the irresponsible placement of some of these towers permitted in our communities in locations where there are large clusters of residential neighborhoods. When our knowledge of the long-term side effects of electromagnetic radiation is limited and to this point short-sighted, would it not show good judgment on the part of our civic leaders to set conservative standards as to location sites for these cell towers and to limit the number of towers within certain specified ranges?

As it is, the cell tower companies tell us what their needs are and dictate what areas they need to be in order to provide the most coverage. That’s one way to look at it. Another way to view it would be to say they need to be in the more densely populated areas in order to obtain the most customers. Isn’t that the tail wagging the dog?

Once again, we now live in a world where cellphones are part of our daily existence. They are, arguably, a necessity and possibly a necessary evil. However, the recent proposal for a cell tower location on Denmark Road in Union is receiving objection because of its close proximity to populated residential neighborhoods to which dangerous side effects to EMFs exist but remain largely unstudied.

Union has an industrial site within the vicinity off of Progress Parkway. A Union official has even offered to make a site available to the cell tower company. It is irresponsible governing that disregards the safety and well-being of the citizens. It would behoove our city planners to take a close look at the present zoning codes and make responsible changes where needed . . . with input from the people of Prairie Dell. Growing pains come with change and certainly becoming comfortable with new technologies can be challenging. One would hope, however, that the learning curve of knowledge required to safely coexist with cell towers is not too steep.