Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lokmat News Report





SUMMARY---Various studies have revealed that frequent exposure to these RF (Radiofrequency) radiations can lead to health related problems ranging from chronic fatigue to DNA damage. Research done by Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, California, revealed that even at low levels of RF radiation, there is evident damage to cell tissue and DNA. These radiations also reduce the competence of the immune system. Leukemia is one of the major illnesses among people living in the vicinity of cell phone towers. A study by Dr Bruce Hocking from Australia revealed that children living near cell phone towers had double the risk of childhood leukemia than those who lived at least 7 miles away from the towers. Problems like eye cancer, miscarriage, cardiac arrests and brain tumors are also common health risks of living near cell phone towers. It also leads to other relatively less serious health issues, like; sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, irritability, anxiety and depression. Some researchers argue that these harmful radiations can also lead to memory loss and infertility.

A pregnant woman and the fetus both are vulnerable because of the fact that these RF Radiations continuously react with the developing embryo, increasing cells, because of thermal heat also. When the pregnant ladies either use Mobile Phone or when illuminated with RF Radiations, the developing child can become affected, the developmental mall formation may occur.

Children are at the greatest risk, due to their thinner skulls, and rapid rate of growth. Also at greater risk are the elderly, the frail and pregnant women. Doctors from the United Kingdom have issued warnings urging children under 16 not to use cell phones, to reduce their exposure to radio frequency (RF) radiation. The RF Exposure adversely affects implanted Pace Maker and becomes arhythemical. These radiations may stop Pace Maker from delivering pulses in a regular way or may generate some kind of external controlling pulse putting the patient to death.

Dangers of cell phone tower radiations are not just restricted to humans but their harmful effects, such as abnormal growth, have also been seen in animals and plants. According to Dr. W. Löscher of the Institute of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy of the Veterinary School of Hannover in Germany, dairy cows that were kept in close proximity to a TV and cell phone tower for two years had a reduction in milk production along with increased health problems and behavioral abnormalities. In an experiment, one cow with abnormal behavior was taken away from the antenna and the behavior subsided within five days.

When the cow was brought back near the antenna, the symptoms returned.

The electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phone towers and cell phones can pose a threat to honey bees, a study published in India have concluded. An experiment conducted in the southern state of Kerala found that a sudden fall in the bee population was caused by towers installed across the state by cell phone companies to increase their network. The electromagnetic waves emitted by the towers crippled the "navigational skills" of the worker bees that go out to collect nectar from flowers to sustain bee colonies, said Dr. Sainuddin Pattazhy, who conducted the study, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. He found that when a cell phone was kept near a beehive, the worker bees were unable to return, leaving the hives with only the queens and eggs and resulting in the collapse of the colony within ten days.

According to a study done by Raman K R scientist who has done research on the subject, "There are two effects in such cases-thermal and non-thermal. A person will fall prey to a thermal effect due to radiation only if he is close to the tower." Being exposed to the thermal effect could cause fatigue, cataracts and reduced mental concentration. This largely occurs to the amount of heat that is generated due to radiation.

Then there is the non-thermal effect, which affects people who are at a distance from the tower. The illeffects of a non-thermal effect are cell membrane permeability. This, according to experts, is also caused due to the heat generated through radiation.

The present study of mine is done on the basis of a two years’ survey done on the study group of 400 persons (including teenagers, pregnant ladies and senior citizens) from Meerut, Moradabad, Dehradun, Gazhiabad and Delhi. For this the population density residing in the radius of about 400-500 meters from the cell phone towers was chosen. All of these people were given a ready made questionnaire, seeking the details of the cell phone towers, whether the consent was taken from them and they were ever informed about the possible hazards of non ionizing radiations of radio frequency before the installation of cell phone towers, their over all health status or changes observed if any in recent times after the masts have come up in their vicinity.

After collecting, following up and analyzing the feedbacks gathered from the study group the following conclusions were inferred and discussed in the paper. (1).75% of the cell phone companies are installing their towers well above the specified radiation power levels recommended by ICNIRP. The specified radiation power level is 600 micro watts per sq. meter but companies are installing towers up to about twelve times above this limit. (2).Majority of the masts is not following the civil construction norms for earth quack proof installations. (3).79% people complained of loss of sound sleep, 10% developed insomnia, 54% had reported of suffering from headache, fatigue and general weakness, 71% were found of having unusual mood swing, mental disturbance and anxiety including students had noticed in the reduction of their mental concentration, 54% complained that they became more prone to seasonal diseases, developed respiratory problems and blurred vision, 13% mentioned of joint pain and 5% were found suffering from skin allergy and itching. It was also noticed in this study that most of the complaints noticed by the persons were found reduced remarkably or illuminated permanently when they moved away from the area of cell phone towers for more than two weeks or so and when they came back near the antenna, the symptoms again returned.

KEY WORDS----Mobile phone towers, Electromagnetic Radiation, Radiofrequency, Health Hazards of Non Ionizing Radiation, and International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.


1. Microwave and Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure, San Francisco Medicine, Vol. 74, No 3, March 2001

2. Mobiles Risk to children, Daily Mail (U.K.), May 11, 2000

3. Radiofrequency Radiation Health Studies, Wireless Antenna Site Consumer Information Package, Sage Associates, Montecito, CA, 2000, www. sageassocciates.net

4. Tower concerns should be health, not aesthetics, Burlington Free Press, January 12, 2001

5. Selected and Extensive Bibliographies on Electromagnetic Fields and Health, Bridlewood Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Information Service, compiled by: Richard W. Woodley, revised 1999,


6. Reported Biological Effects from Radiofrequency Non-Ionizing Radiation, www.waveguide.org/library/studies.html

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www.sageassociates.net/rfchartreportbio-sample.pdf, and Reference List for Some Reported Biological Effects from Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR), Sage Associates, August 2000, at www.sageassociates.net/Bibliography-sample.pdf

8. A Cellular Phone Tower on Ossining High School? includes extensive reference to scientific papers and government documents citing adverse health effects from cell tower radiation, www.cyburban.com/~lplachta/safeweb2.htm

9. Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider's Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage, Dr. George Carlo and Martin Schram, Carroll & Graf, ©2001

10. International Conference on Cell Tower Siting, by Monica Kauppi, No Place to Hide, September 2000, Resolution presented June 2000 and signed by 19 of 23 speakers, including Dr. Carl Blackman of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

11. Ibid, endnote 5.

12. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields, External Review Draft, No. EPA/600/6-90/005B, October 1990.

13. Becker, Robert O., & Gary Seldon, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life,

William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, NY, 1985

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15. The Physiological and Environmental Effects of Non-ionising Electromagnetic Radiation, Dr. Gerard Hyland, presented to European Parliament's Industry, Trade, Research and Energy Committee, July 11, 2001.

16. FCC takes look at 'antenna farm', Denver Post, October 30, 1998

17. Town May Order Company to Remove Cellular Tower, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, March 20, 2000

18. Cellular Tower Zoning, Siting, Leasing and Franchising: Federal Developments and Municipal Interests, by Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, Howlett Attorneys at Law, presented to International Municipal Lawyers Association, September 2001,

19. Plan Wireless Newsletter, Kreines & Kreines, Inc., at www.planwireless.com/index.htm

20. U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, SPRINT SPECTRUM v WILLOTH , (Corrected Opinion, August Term 1998) , Docket No. 98-7442

21. Government of India – Department of Telecommunications: Network status June 2008. Available at:  http://www.dot.gov.in/network/2008/Network%20Status_June_08.pdf [Last accessed October 16, 2008]

22. Draft guidelines for complying with limits for human exposure to electromagnetic fields (base station antennas and mobile Telephones/radio terminals). Telecommunications Engineering Centre, India. Available at: http://www.tec.gov.in/guidelines/Draft_

EMF_Health_Guidelines_Feb_2007.pdf [Last accessed October 16, 2008]

23. United States Federal Communications Commission (US FCC) safety guidelines. Available at: http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html [Last accessed October 16, 2008]

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Be Mobile Without Risk

Be Mobile Without Risk

We need to find ways of making use of cellphones safer

Milind Deora (MP)

A young boy was killed recently when the electronic discharge from his cellphone came in contact with a high-tension overhead wire. Tragic as it was, the incident brought into sharp focus a related issue we've been silent on for too long: cellphone radiation exposure may well be a serious health hazard. After preliminary inquiries, i urged the telecommunications ministry to make it mandatory for all cellphone companies to clearly communicate the potential dangers of cellphone radiation exposure. Both the radiation from handsets and tower-based antennas carrying the signals are already the subject of numerous studies linking prolonged cellphone use to brain tumours, genetic damage and other serious conditions.

Disconcertingly, children and young adults below 18 who constitute a major chunk of the cellphone market are especially vulnerable because their thinner and more porous skulls make it easier for radiation to penetrate the mid-brain. By the time they reach their 20s and 30s they would have exposed themselves to enough radiation for the effects, if any, to show.

Ultimately, research must continue to determine whether or not radiation emitted from cellphones and phone antennae causes brain tumours. But everyone agrees that when the endpoint is a cancer that can take decades to form, we are talking about waiting 10 or 20 years for an answer. I find that unacceptable, especially with lives on the line. So let's turn this around, err on the side of caution and take pre-emptive policy measures now before we cross the Rubicon and have an unprecedented potential health crisis on our hands.

It is not my intention to stir up a hornet's nest and cause undue alarm; we desperately want our cellphones to be safe. Our lives are so thoroughly integrated with wireless technology that we

don't want to think about the impact. I will still use my cellphone after having written this and i suspect everyone else will after reading it. But my fear is that, just as with cigarette smoking, if there is indeed a cumulative risk to using a mobile phone, it is possible that users won't be aware of it until it's too late. The science may be inconclusive but that doesn't mean the threat isn't real.

Have we seen enough red flags to justify public warnings even as we wait for the science to evolve? International precedent ought to be instructive here. Governments across the European Union have enacted new safety standards related to electromagnetic radiation. The French government warns against excessive use of mobile phones, especially by children. Germany advises its citizens to minimise cellphone and Wi-Fi use, and the European Environment Agency wants exposures to be reduced. Several other nations have recommended measures to minimise exposure and advise limited use for children.

Here in India, the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC, the technical arm of the department of telecommunications) proposes that manufacturers display the specific absorption rate or SAR level of their cellphones in the handset menu and comply with global emission standards. The TEC also proposes that cellphone ads not feature children and pregnant women. I welcome these preliminary guidelines but i think we may need to go beyond them. SAR levels can vary widely and, in any case, the jury is still out on whether that is the right metric to measure cellphone safety. Cellular damage, it seems, can even occur at low temperature levels that would not register on the SAR scale.

The cellphone industry must share the responsibility of risk communication and management. It is critical to do so in a domestic market projected to reach 600 million cellphone subscribers in a year's time including huge swathes of unaware and illiterate consumers in rural and remote corners that manufacturers have successfully penetrated. It also has to be said that insensitive practices of industry in siting base stations within sight of schools and hospitals and whose antennas appear to be aimed directly at buildings where people live, is unacceptable and bound to raise a public outcry.

By the same token, government in conjunction with the scientific community must evolve a credible communications strategy and give the public a sensible assessment of safety and risk.

It is time we had an honest and robust debate about this both in Parliament and in the public square and find creative solutions to address public fears and mitigate the risk. This will require a sustained and joint effort by all stakeholders including industry, government and the public.

The choices are difficult but the costs of action and inaction could be a game changer. No one can know what the “right” decisions will be, but i do know that policy must decide that question. This is a job for democratic politics, informed by, but not shackled to, an insightful but imperfect scientific enterprise. We need to find ways of making cellphone use safer and limit usage by children certainly but we'll never get to that stage if we don't acknowledge the potential dangers first. In the meantime, i'm going to take a cue from the nearest teenager: texting and tweeting is safer than talking.

The writer is a member of Parliament.