• Cell Tower Radiation : by Rajesh Chopra - LiveIndia.com


    By: Dr. K.C.Sahu

    Powai - 17 May 09 : A few years before, when a controversy arose on the possible ill effects of a mobile phone hub atop a multistoried building of Cuffe Parade, I was approached to submit a technical report on the subject for judicial consideration. Not being an expert on the subject, I referred the aggrieved party to a reputed and competent Scientist for the job. The report was submitted and placed before the court, who sought independent comments from the Apex Authority on Radiation Regulation in India, but was informed that the Authority deals only with “Ionizing Radiation” and could not comment on “Non-ionizing Radiation” on human being. Whereas the Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) in ionization range is known to be extremely harmful to living being, the EMR emitted by mobile or cell phones and their hubs falls in non-ionization range and little information are available on the subject.

    EMR in the microwave range though non-ionizing, is very well known to have thermal effect, such as in micro-ovens, but its athermal effect on body tissues and organ remains a matter of curiosity, research and speculation.

    Mobile or cell phones working in microwave range have given a tremendous boost to telecommunication facilities: increase comfort, save time, expand business and save life in emergency, but have posed many socio-medical problems amongst users. The problem is acute in India because of the sheer number of users majority of whom are children, mass ignorance and abuse, exploitation of interested parties (makers, service operators, consumer goods manufacturers, media etc), poor or total absence of regulatory authority and the amount of money that goes behind the business.

    Warning people about the harmful effects of radiation from mobile phones, Ministry of Telecommunication, Govt. Of India has asked service providers and makers to avoid promotional advertisements inducing vulnerable segments like children and pregnant women using cell phone. But the rules are only in its violation. With drivers on wheels, students and teachers in schools, colleges and class rooms, during meetings, conferences and discourses, in places of warship (also during worship) and in funerals (even while carrying dead body on shoulder), mobile has become a common object of use. Govt. and mobile phone companies do not want the users to be aware of the possible adverse effects simply because too much money is on line. 

    History is full of such instances- DDT, Asbestos, Tobacco and Smoking, bottled drinks and Endosulphan spray in cashew plantation in Kerala, all harmful to public and community are overlooked through pressure from one corner or other. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value of mobile, mandatory to be mentioned in each set and strictly followed in USA, UK , Canada and EU, are not given in Indian phones.

    Although the number of mobile users has snow balled, 2 billions in world and 500 million in India, unbiased knowledge on effect of cell phone use on humans is practically not available. The reason is, no visible impacts can happen on humans in a short period of observation that the phones are on use and no experiments can be undertaken on man. Experiments on animals however show significant effects – rats whose brain cells are similar to man develop brain tumour, rabbits develop cataract. But extension of animal models to man is not possible.

    Mobile phones use Electromagnetic Radiation in microwave and very short radio wave range and as per present information, normal use has little or insignificant impact on human health. But quite a few believe that if used for a long period, is likely to be harmful. Studies undertaken by a number of Scientists spread over many countries and health related information that have appeared in various media on cell phones and their base stations are summed up as follows:

    Symptoms and Health Risks on long use of cell phones:

    Sleep disturbances and Restlessness, Depression and Nervousness, Headache and Reduced power of concentration, Hot Spot in brain, Partial over heating and opening up of Blood-Brain Boundary to toxins, Over heating of eyes (cornea and lenses have no thermal regulation), High Blood Pressure, Impotency-Productivity problems, Exhaustion and Physiological problems, Geno- type disturbances, Changes in blood formation and reduction of WBC etc.

    Some authentic statements that support the above list of ailments are summarized below:

    1. The first positive link between mobile use and malignant brain tumour was suggested by a comprehensive Swedish study which established 240 % risk of brain tumour in heavy users of mobile phone (2000 hours of use or 1 hr. per day for a decade or so). Earlier studies made for a shorter period and on a smaller number of people had failed to detect any such link.

    2. A Neurosurgeon from Australian National Univ. found 1 hr. of continuous use of mobile phone increases the risk of development of brain tumour by 2 to 4 times.

    3. Young children have soft scalp and thin skull, developing nervous system and a long life ahead for exposure to radiation from mobiles, therefore considered to be the most vulnerable section of the society. “Do not let kids to use mobile- its radiation can alter DNA” warn Scientists. The National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) finds a “weak link” between Electromagnetic Field and childhood Leukemia

    4. People who have used cell phone for 10 years have 40% more likely to have Glioma (A malignant tumor on the side where the phone is held).

    5. An epidemiology study in Tel Aviv Univ. showed 50 % more risk for tumor formation in parotid gland (The largest salivary gland).

    6. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine found significant adverse effect on semen quality and an Hyderabad based Indian Endocrinologist noted decreased sperm count, motility, viability and quantity of semen and increased risk of Testicular cancer among habitual mobile users.

    7. Many well known Cardiologists feel cell phone can effect heart: Pace-makers, Implantable Cardiovestor Defibrillators (ICDs) and Impulse Generators.

    8. Pregnant women and embryos are at risk from cell phone radiation and several studies reveal link to Brest Cancer.

    9. Research in Human Genetic Department of Guru Nanak Univ. found DNA and Chromosome damage: “Exposure to Radio Frequency (RF) signals generated by cell phone effects physiological, neurological, cognitive and behavioral changes and induces, initiates and promotes carcinogenesis”..

    10. An Israeli study has detected mouth cancer for frequent speakers

    11. Cell phone radiation is likely to increase Acoustic Neuroma, a tumor of the nerve connecting ear to brain (?).

    12. Experiments on rats have shown brain damage, radiation from cell phone stations (hubs) effects navigation of migratory birds and for cattle grazing near cell phone towers American farmers have reported still birth, spontaneous abortion, birth deformity and behavioral problems. Moving of the cattle away has reversed declining of general health of grazing animals. No such studies have been made on human population, although Governments of UK, USA, Canada, Australia and European countries do not allow microwave hubs near schools and populated regions. In India many housing societies invite hubs atop their building for financial gain at the risk of resident’s health.
    13. A Canadian team detected clustering of Red Blood Cells (RBC) in the brain and hindering of oxygen supply to the blood cells when spoken over an unprotected cell phone continuously for 5 minutes. The radiation hampers movement of RBC through micro-vessels.
    14. A Swedish study proposed leakage of albumin into brain via permeated Blood-Brain-Boundary.

    15. Thermal effect of EMR has produced cataract in rabbit and premature cataract in humans.

    16. According to a German Doctor mobile phone radiation alters cell function, increases BP, and people with the phone by bedside have poor REM sleep and decreased production of Melatonin, a cleansing chemical in blood. With larger dose of the radiation EEG and calcium value in blood changes.

    17. “Ringxiety”- a psychological disease of hearing phantom sound and sensation of cell phone ring has appeared in Japan (also reported in India) among cell phone users.

    18. Cell phone radiation interferes with navigational equipments; therefore its use is banned in airborne flights, also in hospitals near ICUs using life-line E-gadgets. Its use in gas stations is discouraged after it was found to have triggered a spark and ignited a filling station.

    19. An IIT-Bombay EE-Professor emphasized that radiation from mobile phone not only goes to the tower, it also enters the body and organs of the user and people next to him. Unlike cigarette smoking, one can not smell, see or feel the electromagnetic radiation which permeates the immediate space and produce a new type of “Radiation pollution”. Like passive smoker, people near by become passive receiver of this “New Pollutant”

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