The Connect Our Parks Act is Safe, but Maybe Not Wise

Brad Roth
3 min readAug 11, 2023
Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill?

Congress is currently considering the “ Connect Our Parks Act.” It is

a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct an assessment to identify locations in National Parks in which there is the greatest need for broadband internet access service and areas in National Parks in which there is the greatest need for cellular service, and for other purposes.

I don’t want people hiking through Yellowstone while squawking on their cell phone, so I’m not sure I’d vote for the bill. However, a recent opinion piece in by Devra Davis, titled “We Cannot Ignore the Dangers of Radiation in Our National Parks,” encourages people to oppose the bill because of “the damaging impacts of wireless radio frequency (RF) radiation — emitted by cellular installations — on all living creatures.” She concludes that “Expanding cell towers in parks without adequate safeguards will irrevocably harm wildlife, the environment and our encounters with the wild.”

The health risk of cell phone radiation is small to negligible. Russ Hobbie and I review much of the evidence of radio-frequency health effects in Section 9.10 of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology. I also discuss this topic in my book Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill? In that publication, I specifically address Davis’s book Disconnect, which promotes a connection between cell phone radiation and cancer. My conclusions differ from hers. I wrote

Reviews such as these [for example, the FDA’s 2020 review] are a key reason the major health agencies do not believe that cell phones cause cancer. When agency scientists systematically weigh all the evidence, they consistently find no effect. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — the US government federal agency that is responsible for protecting public health — is a bit more equivocal: “At this time we do not have the science to link health problems to cell phone use” [22]. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the US National Institutes of Health and is the primary federal agency for cancer research. Many of the nation’s best and brightest scientists and doctors work for, or are funded by, the NCI. Anyone who wants expert information about cancer should consult the NCI. On its website, it concludes that “the only consistently recognized biological effect of radiofrequency radiation absorption in humans that the general public might encounter is heating to the area of the body where a cell phone is held (e.g., the ear and head). However, that heating is not sufficient to measurably increase body temperature. There are no other clearly established dangerous health effects on the human body from radiofrequency radiation” [13].

Decide for yourself if you support the Connect Our Parks Act. I can see how cell phone reception could be vital for a hiker lost in the Grand Canyon but I don’t want people using their laptop to conduct a noisy zoom meeting in Yosemite. Do not, however, oppose the Connect Our Parks Act because of concerns about health hazards from electromagnetic radiation. There is little evidence that such hazards exist. If you want to examine the evidence yourself, get a copy of Are Electromagnetic Fields Making Me Ill? The Connect Our Parks Act is safe, but maybe not wise.

Originally published at



Brad Roth

Professor of Physics at Oakland University and coauthor of the textbook Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology.