T-Mobile Cell Towers at Michigan Schools Sparking Protests Due To Health Effects – Environmental Health Trust


Parents are protesting cell towers at their children’s school due to the science linking exposure to health impacts. In Wyandotte Michigan, where T-Mobile installed a cell tower at Washington Elementary School, parent protests have resulted in the School District Superintendent resigning and the school administration investigating alternative locations.  Further, parents in nearby Detroit Public Schools are calling for the removal of  the numerous cell towers on Detroit Schools. 

Now a state bill has been out forward to ban cell towers at schools by Representative Desana.

Cell phone companies such as T-Mobile cannot get insurance coverage for long term health damages from cell tower radiation exposure. In fact, telecommunications companies warn their shareholders of liability risks due to lawsuits. However companies do not warn the people living near their towers, nor the parents of children going to schools with cell towers. 

For example, T-Mobile’s 2023 Securities and Exchange Commission filing states: 

“We, along with equipment manufacturers and other carriers, are subject to current and potential future lawsuits alleging adverse health effects arising from the use of wireless handsets or from wireless transmission equipment such as cell towers.”

“In addition, the FCC has from time to time gathered data regarding wireless device emissions, and its assessment of the risks associated with using wireless devices may evolve based on its findings. Any of these allegations or changes in risk assessments could result in customers purchasing fewer devices and wireless services, could result in significant legal and regulatory liability, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition, cash flows and operating results.” 

Cell tower antennas emit microwave non ionizing radiation. T-Mobile is one of many companies that specifically defines pollution as including microwave and other non ionizing radiation in their cell phone protection insurance plans. They tell consumers the company  will not take responsibility for harm from damages from microwaves and non ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

T- Mobile’s ”Premium Handset Protection Insurance Warranty” states that their “insurance does not apply to loss or damage caused directly or indirectly” by “Pollution” which is defined in their policy as including “any artificially produced electric fields, magnetic field, electromagnetic field, sound waves, microwaves, and all artificially produced ionizing or non-ionizing radiation and/or waste.”  

T-Mobile and other cell tower companies state that the radiation from their cell towers meet FCC human exposure limits and thus they are safe and the companies are not breaking any laws. What they do not mention is that FCC limits were set in 1996 and these limits are not based on protection against long term health damages. They protect against overheating but not cancer or biological effects. 

T-Mobile neglects to inform parents that it commissioned a report in entitled the Ecolog Institute Report which reviewed the science on health effects and recommended an RF exposure limit 1000x  lower than the FCC’s current power density limit after reviewing the research on biological effects, including impacts to the immune system, central nervous system, hormones, cancer, neurotransmitters and fertility. (Read the T Mobile Commissioned Ecolog Report on Wireless and Health here)

In fact, The Los Angeles California School District Office of Health and Safety developed a “cautionary level” for radiofrequency radiation 10,000 times lower than FCC regulations because, “it is believed that a more conservative level is necessary to protect children, who represent a potentially vulnerable and sensitive population.” The Bioinitiative Report has charts showing adverse effects found in various published studies here at much much lower  levels.   

Most insurance plans have “electromagnetic field exclusions” as the standard in their policies They simply will not cover health damages from wireless radiation as insurers rank 5G, wireless microwave non ionizing electromagnetic radiation as a “high” risk, and they compare the issue to lead and asbestos. (Read EMF exclusions here.) 

A 2019 Report by Swiss Re Institute, a world leading provider of insurance, classifies 5G mobile networks as a “high”, “off-the-leash” risk stating, “Existing concerns regarding potential negative health effects from electromagnetic fields (EMF) are only likely to increase. An uptick in liability claims could be a potential long-term consequence” and “as the biological effects of EMF in general and 5G in particular are still being debated, potential claims for health impairments may come with a long latency.” 

Portland Oregon Public School’s Genesis  Insurance policy states health damages from electromagnetic radiation is excluded. 

“Exclusions: This insurance does not apply to: Bodily injury, personal injury, advertising injury, or property damage arising directly or indirectly out of, resulting from, caused or contributed to by electromagnetic radiation, provided that such loss, cost or expense results from or is contributed to by the hazardous properties of electromagnetic radiation. This includes any costs for the actual or threatened abatement, mitigation, or removal.” 

U.S. mobile operators themselves have been unable to get insurance to cover liabilities related to damages from long-term RFR exposure. 

As Crown Castle’s  10-K Report states: 

“We cannot guarantee that claims relating to radio frequency emissions will not arise in the future or that the results of such studies will not be adverse to us…If a connection between radio frequency emissions and possible negative health effects were established, our operations, costs, or revenues may be materially and adversely affected. We currently do not maintain any significant insurance with respect to these matters.”