People at risk of diabetes now have another reason to worry. A new study has linked diabetes to radiation from cell phone towers.

Sultan Ayoub Meo, a professor at the College of Medicine, King Saud University (KSU), said that the dense installations and unscientific proliferation of cell phone towers is the reason behind many health problems, including diabetes mellitus. The professor based his research on the effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Filed Radiation (RF-EMFR) generated by mobile phone base station towers (MPBSTs) on hemoglobin.

Meo's research findings have been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. “This is the first study added in the global science literature about radiation and its link with type 2 diabetes mellitus,” states the journal.

The study assumes significance in the increase in the use of mobile phones in the Middle East nations, including Saudi Arabia, in recent years. “There are about 7.3 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, and this figure is more than the world’s population,” said Meo in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

Meo said that mobile phone companies put up their towers in residential and commercial areas, such as on or near school buildings. Apart from diabetes, the emissions from these towers cause problems such as headache, depression, high blood pressure and sleep disorders. In addition, the emission from the towers cause damage to the nervous, cardiovascular and reproductive systems.

Meo based his research on two elementary schools in Riyadh. He and his colleagues selected 159 healthy students (96 from one school and 63 from another school) of the same age, gender, nationality, regional, cultural and socio-economic status.

The team collected blood samples from the students and analysed the HbA1c. They found that the students exposed to high RF-EMF generated by MPBS had significantly higher HbA1c than the students who were exposed to low RF-EMF.

Given the controversies regarding cell phone towers, cell phone companies are adopting unusual methods to cover up such towers. In Florida, one company has disguised their cell phone tower as a white cross. Cell phone towers made to look like bell towers at churches are also becoming common, according to