The number of cases with neurosurgical problems in Pakistan, including brain and spinal tumors, is on the rise, at least over the last 10 years, putting a huge financial burden on healthcare facilities and families having patients with neurological disorders. There are 120 million mobile phone users in Pakistan, population 190.3 million (July 2011).
Professor of neurosurgery and consultant neurosurgeon at the Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital Dr. Aslan Javed Munir said that apart from genetic factors, exposure to electromagnetic radiations mainly by living under high tension cables, use of mobile phones, impurities through petrochemical industries, X-ray radiations, viruses, previous history of traumas and effect of pesticides usage on agricultural products are considered as the main risk factors behind the increase in neurological disorders.
Cases of neurosurgical problems on the rise
by Muhammad Qasim from The News, Ralawpindi, 27 July 2012:
The number of cases with neurosurgical problems, including brain and spinal tumours, is on the rise, at least for the last one decade, putting a huge financial burden on healthcare facilities and families having patients with neurological disorders.
Talking to ‘The News,’ professor of neurosurgery and consultant neurosurgeon at the Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital Dr. Aslan Javed Munir said that it is alarming that the number of cases with neurological problems, including patients with complaints of backache, neck ache and slipped discs along with brain and spinal tumours, has been on the rise in Pakistan as well as across the globe.
“Nearly 10 years back, we rarely received patients requiring neurosurgical procedures but now the influx of patients with neurosurgical problems has increased to a great extent,” said Colonel (r) Dr. Aslan Javed Munir, former head of the Department of Neurosurgery at CMH, Rawalpindi.
He added that the cases of neurosurgical problems, right from neurosurgical trauma including head and spinal injuries to tumours, have increased. “The traumas increased mainly because of increase in road traffic accidents and general violence while routine spinal problems have also been on the rise because of unhealthy lifestyles.” He explained that every four out of five adults are having routine neurological disorders including back or neck pains during some part of their life, which is because of unhealthy life styles including unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, lack of exercise and stress. Odd working hours, sitting postures, watching TV and long hours working on computers are contributing a lot in increase in number of patients, said Dr. Aslan.
It is important that a number of health experts working at the allied hospitals do admit that none of the allied hospitals including Holy Family Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital is capable of treating ideally the patients with neurosurgical trauma or brain and spinal tumours because of lack of diagnostic and surgical equipment and staff required for the purpose.
The neurosurgical procedures are much expensive and almost unaffordable for a large proportion of population across Pakistan. There is a need of developing centres that can provide free of cost treatment to poor and needy patients requiring neurosurgical procedures, said Dr. Aslan while responding to a query.
He said that he is working on a plan of conducting at least every 10th surgery free of cost to accommodate poor patients. “I have also a desire to develop a centre to provide free of cost treatment facility to poor patients requiring surgeries in result of trauma or neurological disorders yet it needs a huge budget,” said Dr. Aslan.
To a query, he said that apart from genetic factors, exposure to electromagnetic radiations mainly by living under high tension cables, use of mobile phones, impurities through petrochemical industries, X-ray radiations, viruses, previous history of traumas and effect of pesticides usage on agricultural products are considered as the main risk factors behind increase in neurological disorders.
“By taking certain preventive measures both at the government and individual levels, the number of cases with neurological problems including traumas can be minimised,” said Dr. Aslan. One should avoid odd sitting and sleeping postures and should avoid sitting for long hours unnecessarily in front of computers. Also there is a need to develop habit of daily exercise or walk while unhealthy lifestyles including junk food and obesity should be avoided, he suggested.
Dr. Aslan added that the government should take steps to create awareness among public on how to minimise the main risk factors causing increase in number of cases. To minimise the impact of road traffic accidents, one should wear helmet when on bike while the use of seat belts and air bags in cars can also minimise the number of head and spinal trauma in case of accidents, he said.
Dr. Aslan said that like the developed countries, early reporting of symptoms related to neurological problems including continuous headache, sight problems and pains related to spine can be helpful in reducing the incidence of brain and spinal tumours.
Central African Republic, Bangui
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, Al Ain, UAE
Four final year information technology students of Xavier’s Institute of Technology, Mahim, have taken up the task of creating awareness about the implications of mobile tower radiation emission among city’s college students. From forums on social networking sites and blogs, to college
festivals and seminars, the students want to build pressure on the union government to take cognisance of the hazards of suspected high levels of radiation emitted by mobile towers.
Kanica Jain, 21, along with her classmates Sasha Sequeira, 21, Nileema Lobo, 21, and Jaysel Meledath, 21, began their research on mobile tower radiation six months ago. After receiving complaints from students and faculty members about headaches, dizziness and nausea, the students launched the campaign, ‘The Radiation Zone — Red, Yellow n Green’.
“Students working in the laboratory complained of uneasiness. After studying theory papers and discussing the topic with experts, we concluded that the health hazards were an effect of exposure to mobile tower radiation,” said Lobo.
“What began as a college project soon turned into a campaign, because everyone in the city is vulnerable to the hazards that could be posed by high radiation,” said Meledath, a resident of Andheri. “In my locality, residents that have mobile towers fixed on their terrace continue to be apathetic because of the high monthly rents that the mobile operators pay,” he added.
“We need to work out alternatives to deal with the problem. The first step has to be reduction in the permissible limit for mobile tower radiation emission, which is 450 milliwatts/square metre at present,” said Sequeira.
San Antonio, Texas
India, New Delhi,
Daly City, California
Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou
Cotonou (de facto capital)
Dhadna, United Arab Emirates, Dhadna, UAE
Are cell phones dangerous to health? A recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stirred up concerns once again that cell phone use when held close to the head could potentially cause brain cancer from radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation emissions.
The article reported that handheld cell phone use increases neural function as measured by brain glucose metabolism. These changes occurred mostly in the region of the brain closest to the antenna and receiving most of the radiation. Nobody knows the implications of this effect, other than we now understand that cell phone radiation can alter brain metabolic activity and neurophysiology. The authors correctly conclude that this does not imply that cell phone use can increase the risk of brain tumors. This finding is of unknown clinical significance. But because it demonstrates that radio-frequency emissions are biologically active, it raises more questions than answers.
As to cell phone use causing brain tumors, review of the scientific literature gives mixed results. A large review of the relevant literature published in the journal Epidemiology in 2009 concluded that the overall data was insufficient to prove a causal association. For brain tumors such as malignant glioma, acoustic neuroma and meningioma, the study lengths were too short to make any conclusions since it may take many years for tumors to develop. The authors concluded that increased risk for any tumor of the brain, head or neck was not demonstrated within 10 years of cell phone use. In a more recent Swiss study, no association was seen in children after five years of use.
The strongest evidence of an association between cell phone use and brain tumors comes from studies conducted in Sweden between 1997 and 2004. These researchers found an association of increased incidence for malignant glioma and acoustic neuroma especially on the same side of the head the user most often held the phone. The highest risk was for those people with first use less than 20 years old and for those with greater than 10 years of use. Another separate major study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that the increased risk was reserved only for those with the heaviest cell phone use. The heaviest users had a 40 percent increased risk for malignant glioma.
The energy emissions from cell phones may also alter neurotransmitter and other neurochemical activities of the brain influencing emotions and other neurologic conditions. There are studies demonstrating that regular to excessive cell phone use, especially in children and young adults, is associated with anxiety, poor emotional stability, depression, fatigue, dizziness, sleep disturbances and headaches. These studies only show an association, not cause and effect.
In May 2011 the World Health Organization announced that it was classifying the electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones as “”possibly carcinogenic.”” But it acknowledges, as do virtually all researchers and organizations including the National Cancer Institute, that the evidence is inconsistent and insufficient to make any firm conclusions and that more research is needed.
Many authorities are particularly concerned about children whose brains are still developing and who may be more susceptible to the radiation exposure over a lifetime of use.
The most definite conclusion at this point is that the danger of distraction while driving is the greatest health risk to cell phone users and to others on the road. The data on this are clear. Studies have considered cell phone use while driving as the equivalent of driving with an alcohol level of 0.08.
Indiana should join the growing number of states that make cell phone use while driving illegal. We’ll sort out the risks of cancer down the road.
Costa Rica, San José
City of Canada Bay, Australia
The Netherlands Amsterdam
Rishikesh: Threats of mobile tower radiations are well known in the urban areas but they are equally threatening lives in the rural areas too. The fruits of development might not have reached the villages but mobile tower radiations have not just sneaked into the lives of the rural people but their hazardous impacts are also being witnessed.
Shyampur, a remote village of the Uttarakhand is a veritable example of the fallout of rapid urbanization. Once, the village was known for its highly fertile land but now it has turned into a jungle of concrete with innumerable buildings swallowing most parts of agricultural landscape creating ruffles in the rural life.
One can witness many mobile towers oozing harmful radiation in the village. There are four such towers in a circumference of just two kilometer in Bhallafarm area. Presence of the towers in residential areas endangering lives of the people.
Speaking in this connection, Awwal Singh Kathait, a native of the village, said that many people in the village are complaining health related problems and have also fallen prey to various disease during a span of five years since these mobile towers came up in existence in the area.
He further said that he too has suffered continuous bouts of headache, may be due to radiation from these towers.
Manoj Vishwakarma from the same village has also complained continuous headache as well as sleeplessness.
He was also of the view that they are feeling such problems due to radiation from theses mobile towers.
The villagers said that they came to know about the deadly fallout of the radiation from theses mobile towers after popular Hindi daily ‘Dainik Jagran’ launched a campaign named Khatra-e-jaan in this regard.
Somalia, Mogadishu, ,
New Orleans, Louisiana
Al Ghabah, United Arab Emirates, Al Ghabah, UAE
Professional pilot Melissa Chalmers has moved twice in 10 months to escape wireless radiation and worries she’s running out of places to hide.
The commercial pilot of 20 years is on sick leave. She suffers from sensitivity to electromagnetic waves — the invisible waves given off by almost everything electric, in particular, those emitted by communication towers that are popping up across Canada.
Chalmers, who lives near Grand Bend on Lake Huron, may be moving again because of a new a cell tower not far from her forested home.
“They have put a tower up down the road. I’m just waiting for it to be turned on and then I will probably have to leave the home,” she said.
Chalmers first noticed, about two-and-a-half years ago when she lived in London, that the nausea she felt when she was in her apartment subsided when she left.
Cellphones, cellphone towers, wireless internet routers, cordless phones and power lines have all been recognized as possible contributors to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EMS), which is caused by significant exposure from radio waves.
EMS symptoms include poor sleep, fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, memory impairment and skin rashes.
Dr. Riina Bray, medical director, Environmental Health Clinic, Toronto’s Women College Hospital, is a leading physician on EMS and its symptoms.
“I’m just basically seeing more and more folks with electro hypersensitivity . . . there is a small fraction of the population who are hypersensitive and the WHO (World Health Organization) supports that phenomenon as being real,” she told the Star.
“With the continuous onslaught of this stuff in our society it is very hard for these folks . . . to get better faster.”
“If I have to move again,” Chalmers told the Star, “it will be three times since Christmas, so I am getting pretty tired of moving and I really don’t know where I am going to go at this point.”
Critics say if Industry Canada, which has total control over telecommunications, has its way there will be no place for people such as Chalmers to live.
Industry Canada did not respond to a Star request for an interview.
Bray said the public should not have to prove harm. “It should be done by industry and government,” she says.
Municipalities that have tried to control the number and location of cells towers say Industry Canada has told them it would block any attempt to usurp its powers.
The municipality of Lambton Shore near Lake Huron found out where it stood when it mused about creating a community, Port Franks, free of wireless radiation as did Oakville when it introduced its own protocol calling for a 200-metre setback.
“I went to that meeting in Oakville where it was discussed and it became very clear from Industry Canada and Health Canada that they were not going to change, they were not listening. They were there to dictate,” said Frank Klegg, a retired Microsoft Canada president, who is now head of Citizens For Safe Technology (C4ST).
Klegg said C4ST wants to work with the federal government to establish so-called white zones across the country where people who are sensitive to wireless radiation can seek refuge.
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said the federal government doesn’t even consult the municipality on 95 per cent of the applications to erect cell towers and for the remaining 5 per cent he suggested the consultation is little more than lip service.
“What shocks me is the federal government pretending that we have a say,” Burton said.
“Our protocol is designed to get us out of the line of fire . . . we have turned away seven or eight now (but) then the proponent then goes to Industry Canada (which) gives them the go-ahead,” he said.
Solomon Islands, Honiara
Armadale Victoria Australia
Al Haybah, United Arab Emirates, Al Haybah, UAE
Is it a cactus? A palm tree? A water tower? No It’s a cell phone tower That’s right Cell phone towers today are being disguised in subtle ways unheard of just a few years ago. See a grain silo? Or a church steeple? You guessed it. It could very well be a cell phone tower. There’s even a cell phone tower that looks just like a lighthouse.never mind that it’s over two miles from the ocean.
But don’t let the pretty and ingenious disguises fool you. There is a real and present danger lurking behind the mask of these innocent designs.
Why the disguises? Obviously, for aesthetic reasons. The cell phone companies don’t want to make their neighborhood friends upset. They want to blend in. So they blend in while they blast your home and neighborhood with toxic electromagnetic radiation.
Cell phone towers, sometimes called masts, or mobile phone towers, weren’t an issue years ago when they were few and far between. One could often drive miles and miles through the countryside and never see one. They were few in number and were only found in obscure locations and seen only on an occasional hilltop. Today cell phone towers have increased dramatically in number. There are now more than 1.9 million cell phone towers and antenna towers spread throughout the U.S. They are now found on churches, schools and firehouses as well as being seen on the rooftop of buildings everywhere. Did you know there is even a cell phone tower near Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park? Can’t sleep well at night? It may be that there’s a cell phone tower close by.
Just why would a mobile phone tower be placed on a church, school or firehouse? Why would school boards and churches agree to this? Money. It’s that simple. The mobile phone companies will pay these organizations, and individual property owners, handsomely to install their equipment on their properties. This “rent money” can range from a few hundred dollars a month to several thousand dollars a month. What school district or church couldn’t use extra money to aid a struggling budget? By “renting” the space on an already-constructed building the cell phone industry doesn’t have to purchase land, build a tower or construct a new building. It simply mounts its equipment on a structure that already exists. It’s a win-win deal for the cell phone company and the new ‘landlord.’
Opposition to these cell tower installments used to gone unnoticed and without question. Not so today. Neighborhoods and citizens are becoming vocally opposed. But it’s not the esthetics that causes residents and property owners to oppose these structures. Communities and citizens are afraid of the potential health effects being caused by this technology as well as the adverse affect on property values.
We Can’t Stop Cell Phone Tower Construction
Unfortunately, there isn’t much one can do to stop the proliferation and continued build out of cell phone towers and structures. Although thought to be legislation about deregulation issues, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) was really an open invitation for the cell phone industry to place their towers anywhere they wanted. Section 704 of the TCA basically states that local authorities can’t ban the placement of towers in their jurisdictions. The law says: “No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission’s regulations concerning such emissions.” So legally the local government can’t refuse the construction of a cell phone tower in your neighborhood Any challenge by local communities could easily end up in federal court. Our lawmakers have basically given the cell phone industry free reign to install these towers wherever they want. And, by the way, the cell phone industry helped write this legislation that our government officials passed as law The public, therefore, now has no voice and no vote. Is there something wrong with this picture? Why didn’t our public officials represent the people instead of big business? Why would you let the very industry you’re trying to regulate write it’s own laws?
Does the income outweigh the potential risks? It appears not. Scores of studies and well-respected research have exposed alarming health effects from various forms of cancer to stress. Many experts today are predicting an epidemic in brain cancer soon.
Representatives from the industry are quick to point out the microwaves emitted by cell phone towers are well below federal standards. And indeed they may be. At least on paper. Most towers operate at a power output of 100 watts. However, this isn’t the total wattage of the tower. What they aren’t telling you is that 100 watts is the power per channel. Since one tower may have dozens of channels you can see that the power output could be highly excessive and well beyond 100 watts. It’s a technical loophole. And, of course, who is monitoring the power output from these towers after they are erected? The FCC certainly isn’t. It doesn’t have the manpower or money to properly regulate the millions of towers and antennas now online. And who is to prevent these companies from turning up the wattage when no one is around? Some have reported that many of these towers have already shown power outputs in the 900 to 1000 watt range.
You Can’t Escape The Radiation. It’s Everywhere.
We simply can’t escape the exposure to this radiation. It’s everywhere. There are so many people using cell phones and wireless connections today that you don’t even have to own a cell phone to be exposed. You’re just as exposed as everyone else. Every time someone makes a call from a mobile phone the signal is sent to a cell phone tower. There are so many calls being made by everyone all around us and now there are so many mobile phone towers in operation, that all of us are caught in the crossfire. It’s like second-hand smoke from cigarettes, except that we can’t get away from it. There simply isn’t anywhere to escape.
How Mobile Phone Towers Work
Cell phone towers emit signals in a “flower petal” pattern around the tower. This 360-degree radius around the tower is called a “cell” and this is what the term “cell” in cell phone means. When your phone is in a “cell” you get good reception and when it isn’t in a?”cell” you get poor reception. So, for a cell phone company to provide complete coverage cell phone towers and antenna towers must be positioned all across the country so that the “cells” overlap. You can begin to see what a huge infrastructure needs to be created to provide complete cell phone coverage. That’s why cell phone towers and antenna towers are so prevalent. Furthermore, that’s why these antennas are installed in so many places like rooftops, fire stations, schools and churches. This is what is necessary for complete coverage.
Studies Show Adverse Health Effects From Cell Phone Towers
If you aren’t sure that cell phone towers and masts are harmful the following study summaries should convince you. Below are listed six studies that have shown significant adverse health effects on people living near cell phone towers. According to Dr. Grahame Blackwell “these are the only studies known that specifically consider the effects of masts on people. All six studies show clear and significant ill-health effects. There are no known studies relating to health effects of masts that do not show such ill-health effects.”
Santini et al. found significant health problems in people living within 300 meters of a cell phone base station or tower. The recommendation was made from the study that cell phone base stations should not be placed closer than 300 meters to populated areas. Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002; 50: 369-373.
A Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research study entitled, “Effects of Global Communications System Radio-Frequency Fields On Well Being and Cognitive Function of Human Subjects With and Without Subjective Complaints” found significant effects on well being including headaches, muscle fatigue, pain, and dizziness from tower emissions well below the “safety” level.
Gerd, Enrique, Manuel, Ceferino and Claludio conducted a Spanish study called “The Microwave Syndrome” and found adverse health effects from those living near two cell phone base stations. The health effects included fatigue, a tendency toward depression, sleeping disorders, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems.
From an Israeli study published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2004, Wolf and Wolf reported a fourfold increase in the incidence of cancer in people living within 350 meters of a cell phone tower as compared to the Israeli general population. They also reported a tenfold increase specifically among women.
In the Naila Study from Germany, November 2004, five medical doctors collaborated to assess the risk to people living near a cell phone tower. The retrospective study was taken from patient case histories between 1994 and 2004 from those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance up to 400 meters from the tower site. The results showed that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher in those patients living within the 400-meter distance and that the patients became ill on average eight years earlier. In the years 1999 to 2004, after five years of operation of the transmitting tower, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.
An Austrian Study released in May 2005, showed that radiation from a cell phone tower at a distance of 80 meters causes significant changes of the electrical currents in the brains of test subjects. All test subjects indicated they felt unwell during the radiation and some reported being seriously ill. According to the scientists doing the study, this is the first worldwide proof of significant changes of the electrical currents in the brain, as measured by EEG, by a cell phone base station at a distance of 80 meters. Subjects reported symptoms such as buzzing in the head, tinnitus, palpitations of the heart, lightheadedness, anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness, agitation, headache, heat sensation and depression. According to scientists this is the first proof that electrical circuits in the brain are significantly affected by a cell phone tower. The distance in this study was a mere 80 meters.
Two-time Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Gerald Hyland, a physicist, had this to say about mobile phone towers. “Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate. Quite justifiably, the public remains skeptical of attempts by governments and industry to reassure them that all is well, particularly given the unethical way in which they often operate symbiotically so as to promote their own vested interests.”
Dr. Bruce Hocking did a study in Syndey, Australia, of children living near TV and FM broadcast towers, which by the way, are very similar to cell phone towers. He found that these children had more than twice the rate of leukemia as children living more than seven miles away from these towers.
Results in yet another recent study conducted on inhabitants living near or under a mobile phone base station antenna yielded the following prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints: headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbances(23.5%). In this study the participants were given a neurobehavioral test battery measuring such things as problem solving, visuomotor speed, attention andmemory. Symptoms of exposed inhabitants were significantly higher than control groups.
Furthermore, Europe’s top environmental watchdog group, European Environment Agency (EEA), is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to mobile phone masts. EEA suggests action to reduce exposure immediately to vulnerable groups such as children.
The development of brain tumors in staff members working in a building in Melbourne, Australia, prompted the closing of the top floors of the building. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is housed in the building. Seven staff members were diagnosed with brain tumors and five of the seven worked on the top floor. A cell phone antenna is located on the roof of the building.
The Orange phone company in England is being forced to remove its mast tower on a building in Bristol, England. The removal is a result of a five-year effort by residents and local authorities to have the mast removed. Cancer rates in the building, which has become known internationally as the “Tower of Doom,” have soared to ten times the national average for the 110 residents living there. The two masts sitting on the roof, one owned by Orange and the other by Vodafone, were installed in 1994. Vodafone has refused the remove its mast.
Cell Phone Towers Affect Animals
Animals aren’t exempt from exposure the cell phone tower radiation either. One veterinary school in Hanover, Germany, reports that dairy cows kept in close proximity to a cell phone tower for two years had a reduction in milk production in addition to other health problems including abnormal behavior patterns.
Firefighters Vote To Suspend Cell Tower Construction On Fire Stations
Concerned about the effect that masts have on the nation’s firefighters, The International Association of Fire Fighters voted in 2004 to voice its opposition to cell phone towers and antennas being place on and around fire stations. They want proof first that there isn’t a safety issue and have asked for a moratorium on further construction and placement of any more towers or antennas on or around firehouses until such a study can be conducted.
What Are These Antennas Doing To Our Kids While They’re In School?’t worth the risk. They should not be subjected to microwave radiation when science has proven there could clearly be devastating effects as outlined in the previously mentioned studies. School boards and parent organizations need to be aware of the inherent dangers from such an exposure. It’s been clearly shown that microwave radiation penetrates the head of a child much easier than that of an adult. This is due to the thinner and softer bones in the head of child. Skull bones don’t fully harden until about age 22.
How Many Cell Phone Towers Are Near You?
The average person lives within one-half mile of a cell phone tower. Have you ever wondered how close you live or work to one of these towers? Would it bother you if one were right in your backyard? How many of these towers and antennas do you think there are in your immediate area? Find out by visiting the website http://www.antennasearch.com/. Simply type in your address and you’ll get a listing and a map of all the towers and antennas within a short radius of your address. Like most people you’ll probably gasp when you see the numbers. These towers are literally everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of them are probably located within a few miles of your home or office.
Watch The Signal Bars On Your Cell Phone
The signal bars on your cell phone tell you how strong the signal is that are connecting to your cell phone. In other words, the closer you are to a cell phone tower the stronger the signal. The stronger the signal the less power your phone has to use to maintain the connection. A strong signal is indicated by a full set of “bars” showing on your cell phone display. Fewer bars mean a weaker signal. A weaker signal means the cell phone has to work harder to maintain the signal. Consequently, more power is needed to maintain the connection. The more power needed the greater the amount of radiation produced by your phone and the greater exposure to you. So always try to talk in outdoors or in an open space. This allows an easier connection from your cell phone to the nearest cell phone tower. Your phone won’t have to work as hard and less power is used to maintain the signal, which translates, to less radiation exposure for you.
What Can We Do?
Obviously, can’t escape the exposure. We’ve established that fact. So what can we do to minimize the damage?
Here are few ideas: We need to limit our exposure any way possible. Don’t live near a cell phone tower if you have a choice. Don’t buy a home near one even if the price is right. Limit your use of wireless devices. Go back to ‘wired’ connections whenever possible. Maximize your health through proper nutrition and good hydration. Eat foods high in antioxidants and take supplements. Eat organically as much as possible. There is no safe distance to locate away from a mast tower. Obviously, the closer to the tower the greater the exposure risk so do locate as far away as possible. Whenever possible encourage your local government officials to consider transitioning to the use of fiber optic cable. Most of it has already been laid underground. It’s just not being used. There are no masts with fiber optics and the small amount of radiation at the exits can be neutralized with technology now available. Discourage the use of Wi-Fi in schools by meeting with your school officials and school boards. Wi-Fi hotspots are popping up everywhere now. Even whole cities are going wireless with the installation of Wi-Fi. Again, it’s all done through a wireless signal, which is damaging to your health. Don’t let cell phone companies install cell phone antennas on the roofs of schools where your children attend. The radio waves are disruptive to their ability to focus, not to mention the health hazards we’ve already outlined. If you can’t change your current situation there is some hope. There are some intervention devices now available that you can use in your home, school and office to help lessen the risk of exposure. Some very good cutting-edge technology has been developed that will intervene and help mitigate the damage being done by wireless connections.
St. Louis, Missouri
City of Bankstown, Australia,
Murfreesboro Tennessee USA
Dibba Al-Hisn, United Arab Emirates, Dibba Al-Hisn, UAE
From bedraggled beggars on the streets to the suit clad brokers on Wall Street – the ubiquitous cell phone is everywhere, in every pocket irrespective of the rich / poor status of its owners. It is no longer an item of luxury albeit it’s a must have today, a necessary evil. For technology comes with a price and the technology behind mobile phones is sure to make mankind pay a heavy price – the price of health and safety.
The recent furore created in the media worldwide over the possible hazareds of mobile phone radiation has made us sit up and take note of the pros and cons of using the innocent looking mobile handset which had till date so surely and surreptitiously taken over our lives. We have learnt to live with the cacophony of ringtones emanating from every purse and every pocket, it has become a way of life. So much so that we run the risk of going into depression if we do not hear its tinkle. Professionals are dependent on it, parents rely on it to keep a tab on their wards and their whereabouts, stay-at-home moms swear by it for the juicy gossip etc it helps to disseminate and the youth – well it is their life line without which all would come to a standstill. The increasing number of cell phone users is a jawdropping figure and so are the mobile phone towers coming up everywhere to cater to the needs of the various network services. These towers are scattering an invisible net of radiation risking the lives of all and sundry.
What is radiation one may ask. One can define radiation as energy travelling through space in the form of waves or particles. It occurs naturally and has always been around, we’ve evolved with it and we’re bombarded with it in one form or another every day of our lives from various sources such as the earth, from space and even within our own bodies. Some experts suggest a little radiation is a good thing and it is used in medical science to combat and diagnose certain illnesses.
There are different types of radiation but lets concern ourselves with the radiation in mobile phones.The type of radiation emitted from mobile phones is electromagnetic radiation. It’s present in mobiles because they use radio frequency (RF) waves to make and receive calls. The doses are considered to be very small as the emissions are low power (short range). Nevertheless, researchers say that there are ways in which one can reduce exposure to these waves.
Here the important question that arises is how much radiation is safe for us if at all it can be termed safe. Many of us keep our ears glued to the mobile phones 24 X 7 – by compulsion or by choice. How much damage has already been done already? Despite extensive research on the subject, there has been no conclusive evidence that using a mobile phone causes long term harmful effects in humans. Yet there are instances when many have complained of headaches, migraines even cancer due to the extensive use of mobile phones or radiation from mobile towers. The debate is on regarding the validity of such instances.
According to the group of 31 scientists from 14 countries meeting at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO/IARC) using a mobile phone may increase your risk for certain kinds of brain cancers.These researchers completed a review of the available scientific evidence on cell-phone radiation and brain tumors. The group, which is working on a research monograph classified cellphones in the carcinogenic category 2B, similar to chemicals like the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust. In layman’s terms it means cell-phone radiation is “possibly carcinogenic” to human beings. “A review of the human evidence of epidemiological studies shows an increased risk of glioma and malignant types of brain cancer in association with wireless-phone use,” stated Dr. Jonathan Samet, the chairperson of the IARC working group.
Other harm that it can cause apart from the above are the lowering of bone density, causing infertility in men, slightly raised blood pressure at the time of use, direct brain warming after prolonged use, which disperses as soon as you stop using your phone and causes no harm,mild fatigue after prolonged use etc.A recent study in Sweden suggested that acoustic neuromas (benign tumours of the acoustic nerve) are twice as common in mobile phone users than in those who do not use mobiles.
The pace of mobile phone technology is advancing by leaps and bounds luring the consumer with newest developments and technologies but sadly the same is not with the case of researches required into the study of potential harm that they can cause. Other studies have shown no adverse health effects associated with cell-phone use, but many researchers believe those results will change as time passes for future studies would show the long-term effects of cell-phone use by a significant number of people.Despite the mixed research results, many people are increasingly concerned about the possible health effects of frequent, long-term exposure to cell-phone radiation.
More serious and urgent research is needed before we can know for certain the effects they have on human health before the scenario worsens. Will it be too late before we take cumulative steps in this regard.
As for now it is confirm that mobiles do emit low doses of radiation and since we have become aware of it we need to take precautions when using them. Mobile towers are a common sight these days and that too in very close proximity of our living quarters. Is such proximity too close for comfort, probably not. Is the common man on the street aware o the health hazard that these towers are creating putting them at risk of catching unwanted ailments as dangerous as cancer? Certainly not.
As of now the health risk is considered to be very, very small, although some individuals may be more susceptible to radiation than others. Whilst it’s true that excessive exposure to RF waves causes heating, the rumours that claim about being able to cook an egg using a mobile phone are entirely false.
In December 2007, Israeli researchers reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology that long-term cell-phone users who live in rural areas face a “”consistently elevated risk”” of developing tumors in the parotid gland compared with users who live in urban or suburban locations. The parotid gland is a salivary gland located just below a person’s ear.
And in January 2008, the French Health Ministry issued a warning against excessive cell phone use, especially by children, despite the lack of conclusive scientific evidence linking cell-phone use with cancer or other serious health effects. In a public statement, the ministry said: “”As the hypothesis of a risk cannot be entirely excluded, precaution is justified.””
The common man on the street who are exposed to such radiation day in and day out is mostly unaware of the possible dangers of mobile usage. In such a situation we need to generate awareness and educate everyone on the safety measures that is to be taken to keep disasters in abeyance. Children especially should never be allowed to come in contact with the danger emitting gadget as their developing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to radiation effects than adults, absorbing radiation at three times an adult’s rate. Moving your phone 20cm away from your head reduces radiation doses by about 98%. Use hands free headsets which dramatically reduce radiation emissions into the brain, indulge in short chats. There are certain devices available in the market that you can fit to your phone that reduce the emissions of radiation or allow the body to neutralise the effects, but beware of over-hyped promotions by these manufacturers using scare tactics to market their products.
Putting your cell phone on speaker mode, using a wireless Bluetooth headset or earpiece, which emit radiation at far lower levels than cell phones, carry your cell phone away from your body—in a purse, briefcase or computer bag—instead of your pocket where it is pressed up against you. Send text messages as then you hold your phone away from your body, and far away from your head, which reduces your exposure to radiation.
When your cell phone has a weak signal, it has to work harder to transmit and receive, and that equals higher bursts of radiation. You face the same problem when you are moving quickly—riding in a car, bus or train, for example—because your cell phone is forced to repeatedly emit new bursts of radiation as it connects to different cell towers along your route. Therefore finish your conversation by staying put at the area where the signal is strongest.Most cell phones emit the most radiation when they first connect with the cell tower. One way to reduce your exposure to cell-phone radiation is to wait until your call has been connected before you put the phone to your ear. These are simple ways that is in our means to avoid radiation to some extent.
The world is waking up to the monster i.e, mobile phone radiation but is our country getting any wiser? India is said to have the worst cellular tower radiation norms in the world. However, steps has been taken and new guidelines are being implemented to curb the hazards. According to new rules cellular towers will have to reduce the amount of radiation they emit to 1/10th of the current level. But the picture seems bleak as given that most countries in the world have radiation levels 1000 to 10,000 times lesser than India.
An IIT Bombay study done two years ago concluded that people living within 10 meters of cell phone towers receive 10,000 to 1 crore times more radiation than required for mobile signal strength. With the government ordering radiation from cell phone towers to be cut down to 1/10th of the existing level, will this be sufficient to prevent health hazards?
HOD Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, Professor Girish Kumar said, “”It should have been reduced 1 by 1000 to even 1 by 10,000 because the health problems happen at even 1 by 10,000 level. Health problems do happen in 5 to 7 years, at 1 by 1000. So we have to take a strict health based guidelines not convenience based guidelines.””
Current radiation limit in India is so high that within two years, the health of one crore Indians could be affected, IIT Bombay research found. Clearly even with these new guidelines, the Indians are not in the safe zone. Most countries in world have 1/100th to 1/1000th permissible levels of mobile tower radiation.
Statistics reveal that people of our country is at a high risk of sustaining damages due to being exposed to radiation by mobile phones and we are in a catch 22 situation even after the so called new norms. But being a third world country probaly our lives are not as precious as those of developed countries. What do we do now? Should we hit the streets demanding protection and safety from the labyrinth of mobile phones or should we take a backward leap and switch to the landline era of phones discarding the technologically advanced but dangerous cell phones? For as far as health is concerned I presume it is better to be safe than sorry.
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Having mobile towers in your neighborhood can also pose health problems like severe headache, sleep disturbance, constant body pain, memory problems, joint pains etc. The more severe health effects noted include infertility, miscarriage, neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), heart problems and cancer.
Children are more vulnerable due to a developing immune system and thinner skulls which allows radiation to penetrate deeper. Women run the risk of health problems like hormonal imbalances and miscarriages as they tend to spend more time at home and are exposed continuously.
There are several national and international studies where scientists have found a strong correlation between health problems and exposure to microwaves from mobile phones and mobile towers.
Till 2009, the Indian government had not adopted any standards for safe exposure from mobile phone and mobile towers. In 2009, India adopted radiation norms specified by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines of 1998. However, ICNIRP guideline is outdated as it is only intended to protect the public against short term gross heating effects and NOT against ‘biological’ effects such as cancer and genetic damage from long term exposure. Also these safety standards are based on 6 minutes per day exposure, without accounting for people who live close to cell towers 24/7.
In Jan 2011, the report by Inter – Ministerial Committee mentioned several health hazards at levels thousand to ten thousand times below the ICNIRP standards and made recommendations to reduce the exposure to 1/10th of what ICNIRP had earlier recommended. However, even that has not been implemented yet.
There are several epidemiological studies done in various countries, such as, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Israel, etc. where they have reported increase in cancer cases in 5 to 10 years, where radiation level was more than 1 mW/m2. Cancer is the last stage and before that people living close to mobile phone towers have reported sleep disturbance, headaches, memory loss, lack of concentration, fatigue, joint pains, vision distortion, miscarriage, heart problems, etc. There are cluster of cancer cases in India also, which occurred after a few years of installation of mobile towers, and where radiation levels were around 10 mW/ m2.
Lots of other benefits of reducing the power – cooling of the amplifier will not be required, and then it may not require Air conditioner. Total power requirement will be reduced, so Diesel Generator is not required and solar panel can meet this requirement. Operators can claim carbon credit and it truly leads to Green Telecom.
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School district to reveal study results from two cellphone towers Tuesday.
Worried that cellphone towers on school grounds could expose children to harmful levels of radiation, a group of parents is fighting to have the two towers dismantled.
A tower designed to look like a tall pine tree was installed between Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools in 2006. Another went up behind San Marino High School shortly thereafter.
School board members approved both and signed off on decades-long lease agreements with cellular companies that earn the public schools about $48,000 each year, San Marino Assistant Supt. Julie Boucher said.
Then along came Ming Jiang, a former Motorola engineer who in August noticed a strange-looking tree while dropping her son off at Valentine. Jiang has organized a group of about a dozen parents and others calling for the tower’s removal.
World Health Organization reports have found no conclusive link between cellphone towers and cancer.
But Jiang and her allies aren’t convinced.
“It’s always been difficult to prove the link between any physical agent and cancer,” said Valentine parent Mike Chen, a neurosurgeon at City of Hope hospital who specializes in brain tumors. “How many years did it take for us to figure out that tobacco causes cancer? That Agent Orange is dangerous? We should be cautious if we can.”
Chen said several studies suggest that radiation from cellphones and towers might interfere with DNA reproduction and impact the human brain. Conclusive proof, no, but “sufficient scientific evidence to raise a warning,” he said.
In response to parent pressure, San Marino school board members voted Sept. 18 to hire a biophysicist to measure radio frequency emissions from campus cell towers. The board also hired the Planning Center, a Santa Ana consulting firm, to analyze those readouts.
Officials are expected to announce results of those studies on Tuesday, and are organizing an Oct. 23 forum on cellphone towers.
Meanwhile, the threat of legal action already hangs over the district.
“We’re monitoring the situation and hoping the school district does the right thing,” said Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos, who sent a lawyer from his firm to attend the Sept. 18 board meeting. “Otherwise, we might have to get involved in a more formal way.”
The tower near Valentine and Huntington schools is owned by Verizon Wireless. The one behind San Marino High belongs to Global Tower Partners, which leases it to Verizon, MetroPCS, Clearwire and AT&T, according to Boucher.
Verizon spokeswoman Heidi Flato said all of the company’s towers operate well below FCC radio frequency emission limits. Verizon has commissioned its own third-party study of tower emissions near Valentine, Flato said.
The Los Angeles Unified School District banned cellphone towers from school property in 2000, a move Jiang is hoping San Marino schools will emulate.
But moving cellphone towers could be costly — “as expensive or more than building a brand new tower,” said Jackie McCarthy, a Cellular Telephone Industry Assn. representative.
San Marino school board member Jeng Yen, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer, said parents and school officials should review hard data before making up their minds.
Yen said radiation-sensitive equipment he used four years ago during a robotics project at Huntington Middle School did not pick up evidence of radiation in classrooms.
“As a scientist, I think to take some measurements is a necessary step,” said Yen. “It’s not a definite threat or an immediate hazard.”
But parent Cindy Yung, a pharmacist, said any uncertainty is enough to prompt caution.
“A lack of conclusive proof [of danger] does not mean there is no risk, and these are our children we’re talking about,” said Yung.
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MUMBAI: Though Sunday’s meet on the dangers of radiation from cellphone towers attracted nearly 400 residents from across the city, building a consensus on getting rid of the towers, a source of revenue for housing societies, is proving to be difficult.
In Chunabhatti (E), members of a housing society are up in arms against the builder for installing a mobile phone tower on the structure. The tower helps the builder rake in Rs 8-10 lakh every year.
“”Though a housing society was formed last year, the builder still collects remuneration from the cellphone companies. The consent of the residents hadn’t been taken while the towers were being set up. Now, residents want to remove the towers from the building as they are a health hazard and because the two heavy transformers on the terrace could damage the building,”” a building resident said.
The residents of the Chunabhatti building are not the only ones suffering on account of cellphone towers. Surendra Patel (60), a Pali Hill resident, has given up sleeping in his bedroom due to constant headaches and sleeplessness, which he claims are due to the radiation from the cellphone tower on a neighbouring building.
Like Patel, many residents in the H (west) ward in Bandra (W) have complained about health problems like headaches, sleep disorders, memory loss, fatigue, buzzing in the head, miscarriages and cancer and leukaemia.
Prakash Munshi, a Malabar Hill resident who with actor Juhi Chawla was instrumental in getting 13 towers removed in the past, is offering guidance to Bandra (W) residents, who have formed a group – Action Against Cell Towers – under the auspices of the Bandra West Residents’ Association (BWRA).
“”As more residents succumb to the lure of cellphone towers on their terraces in exchange for a pittance from cellphone companies, it is important that they are aware of the side-effects of their decision on all the people living in their own building as well as their neighbours. I lost my sister-in-law in 2008 due to brain cancer and I myself suffer from leukaemia. I cannot prove that this is due to cell tower radiation, but I cannot rule it out either,”” said Daryl D’Monte, president, BWRA, who had earlier spoken about a cellphone tower in a building behind his bungalow.
Cornel Gonsalves demanded help from local corporator Karen D’mello to demolish the two illegal cell phone towers at Winnie Apartments oppsite Perry Cross Road and Joyce Lane building on St Andrews Road.
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