Since last 2-3 years, a systematic campaign has been launched in media about the dangerous “radiation” from cell phone towers. It was called ‘radiation’ intentionally to scare the public, as a common man links the word with dangerous products of nuclear accidents. The author of this post, Mr. Balbir Singh, a senior officer of Indian Telecommunication Services, has an experience of nearly 25 years in dealing with radio communications and through this post, aims to make the readers a little more aware of how baseless the theory behind these campaigns are.
The radiations, which are nothing but electromagnetic waves, are identified by their frequency bands. In ascending order of frequency these are named as medium and short wave radio, Very high, Ultra high, microwave, infrared, visible light ,ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays and cosmic rays . The frequencies above visible light are capable of ionizing the matter and so, are dangerous to the DNA of living cells. Visible light and frequencies lower than it, on the other hand, are regarded completely harmless. The cell phone towers emit waves in the UHF range which is much below the heat and visible light frequencies.
Coming to the power of these radiations, never will these evangelists report the fact that for a two way communication, the minimum power received by the mobile hand set from the tower and, received by the tower from the hand set has to be the same. So, a mobile tower and a mobile phone actually radiate more or less the same amount of power. Comparing tentative level of emitted powers from some of the most commonly identifiable devices:
Door Darshan: 10-20 Kilo Watts (UHF), Aakash Wani : 10-20 Kilo Watts (VHF), Micro wave oven : 1 Kilo watts, Police wireless : 20-50 watts (VHF), First Generation Mobile system (in 90s) in New York : 250-500 Watts (UHF), Mobile systems used presently : 10 Watts (UHF) per antenna.
There are thousands of maintenance officials working in above departments for eight hours a day and reside in colonies hosting these sources of UHF/VHF since last thirty years. But there is no evidence of any higher incidence of brain cancer or any other specific health problems in these departments. And why would there be? High power electric transmission lines, electric motors, railway engine and lines, spark plugs of vehicles, TV remotes, Computers and kitchens all emit mu UHF power. In fact, all matter at a nonzero temperature, like living animals, vegetables, electric bulb, heaters, and outer universe continuously emits a spectrum of these rays.
In a study conducted to draw some meaningful conclusions in this regard, the radiation level from other sources in our homes were measured. And the power near each of the object was found to be
Tower in open ground =2.52 Tube light= 1.378 Mixie- Grinder System = 4.175 Sun light = 1.67 100 watt bulb=1.6 Hot Tawa (on stove) =0.793 Fire in lighted chulha=0.450 Mobile phone = 0.320.
It can be understood from the above measurements that mobile telephony radiation is of no significance as compared to other radiations in the same band.
Media has reported measured power density in mobile telephony band between 5 to 10 watts per square meter at many congested places. Just by transmitting 10 watts or 100 watt (assuming there are ten mobile towers in area), a power density of 5 to 10 watts per square meter in a radius of 5 Km area cannot be created. It violates the principles of conservation of energy!!
So where from this power has come? And that is the catch. In a market place hundreds of mobile handsets are on. The total power density in an area due to the hand sets will be thousands of times more than the power received from the towers.
Some Ph.D aspirants have concluded that the mobile radiations affect the crops ( Moong specially), honey bees and birds lose their sense of direction and path. A lady from Bombay and a gentleman from Jaipur claim to have developed brain tumor due to the cell phone tower. Some study conducted in a busy mall near mobile towers report irritable behavior, loss of sleep, and depression in the employees. So let us consider the following things:
1. If these cell phone towers had any adverse impact on life cells, then all bacteria, virus, fungus, protozoa, and plants near the towers would have died. Mosquitoes and flies would die or run away. The life time of these organisms and insects is few hours or few days. Millions of their generations have passed and were exposed since last 15-30 years. We would have come across many new mutated species by now. But this is not observed.
2. Mobile radiation is predominantly accused of brains cancer and tumors. But, in fact, reaching frequencies up to the brain penetrating the skin and electrolytic fluids around the brain is not possible. Skin cancer, ear cancer, nose cancer or teeth cancer will precede the brain cancer. There are nearly 20 lakh cell phone towers in India. If we assume that each tower creates cancer in three families living nearest to them then there must be at least sixty lakh families with different forms of cancer. Fortunately there is no such evidence.
3. The mobile phones have penetrated every place in the country during last 15 years. There is no down fall in the total production of any crop, honey or whatever the claims have revolved around. On the contrary, towers have and still seem to be the preferred resting place for birds.
4. In busy malls there is a heavy flux of customers. Every new face causes secretions of adrenaline in the attendants. The irritability or sleeplessness or mild depressions are the well known consequences of the adrenaline. Some people answer 400 calls daily. This will affect their health irrespective of a mobile or a land line phone.
It is the right time for creating a proper public understanding of the issue before unfounded panic is spread. They say knowledge is power, so the next time someone talks about this nonsense, you can kick their asses right out of the park.
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