An expert group set up by the Department of Telecom has suggested stricter radiation norms for mobile handsets and towers in order to mitigate any possible health related effects due to emissions from these devices.
The proposed radiation norms are 10 times stricter than the existing ones.
The current rules governing mobile radiation are based on the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
This body has stipulated that manufacturers must ensure that the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) level of a cell phone does not exceed 2 watts per kg averaged over 10 grams tissue.
SAR is the amount of radio waves absorbed by the body while using a mobile phone.
The expert group has suggested that this limit should be brought to 1.6 watts per kg averaged over 1 gram tissue. For mobile towers the committee has suggested revising from 200 watts per square meter to 2,000 watts per square meter.
Mr Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communications and IT, said, “While telecom is a huge success story in India, any possible health related effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones and towers are to be reflected and ensured in the guidelines. The final guidelines would take into account the best global benchmarks and scientific evidence on the subject.”
The Department of Telecom had set up the group in August 2010 to evaluate the evidence, revisit radiation guidelines for mobile towers and adopt guidelines for radiation emission by cell phones.
This group had experts from Ministry of Health, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Indian Council of Medical Research.
The WHO had recently said that use of mobile phones could cause cancer. The health body advised consumers to switch to text messaging and use of the hands-free option to reduce exposure.
In response to the increasing amount of information shedding light on how cell phones can alter the brain in many known and unknown ways, Italy’s Supreme Court cantered in Rome has decided to take action. Seeking to protect unknowing consumers with a particular eye on children, whose brain is still developing and more susceptible to damage, the court has ruled that a link exists between brain tumour development and cell phone use.
The ruling follows a monumental study that found a massive 290% spike in brain tumour risk after using a cell phone for 10 years. A study that has real relevance for Innocente Marcolini, an Italian businessman who was a key part of the court’s ruling. Marcolini was an active cell phone user, reportedly talking on the phone for around 6 hours every single day at work. Over 12 years of use, Marcolini developed a tumour which many scientists are saying is the result of cell damage via the electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones.
This electromagnetic radiation, which is also emitted from cordless phones, damages cells to the point where tumours can become much more likely. DNA damage can also occur, similar to how laptop Wi-Fi has been found to damage both DNA and fertility in as little as 4 hours of direct use.
Marcolini, like many professors and doctors around the globe, is pleased that the Italian government has finally recognized the link between cell phones and tumours like his own. According to The Telegraph, Marcolini hailed the announcement as essential to protecting susceptible children from the dangers:
“I wanted it recognised that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones… Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness.”
Marcolini’s statement was also backed by professor Angelo Gino Levis, a highly recognized oncologist and educator of environmental mutagenesis. Coupled with neurosurgeon Dr Giuseppe Grasso, Levis explained to The Sun that the ruling will allow for many consumers hurt by cell phones to take action. Discussing a potential future lawsuit against cell phone companies, Levis seemed very optimistic over the future of the ruling. He said:
”The court decision is extremely important. It finally officially recognises the link. It’ll open not a road but a motorway to legal actions by victims. We’re considering a class action.”
A class action could very well not only gain media attention on the subject, but actually go places legally. In the event that enough consumers jumped on board, class actions could spring up outside of Italy and take on big cell phone corporations for the damages incurred by the use of their phones. Then again, Apple and other companies actually warn you right inside their manuals that the phones can cause serious problems and recommend holding it a couple inches or so away from your head. In other words, these companies were certainly aware of the real dangers to public health.
Nevertheless, the ruling means great things for the future of forcing companies to answer for their actions and create safer technology.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Czech Republic, Prague,
Hobart Burnie, Tasmania
Congo, Republic of the Cook Islands
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced a bill in Congress last Friday that would examine force the FCC to investigate the potential side effects of radiation from mobile phones. The bill demands that the government “examine, label, and communicate adverse human biological effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields from cellphones and other wireless devices, and for other purposes.” On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office also called for action, noting that the Federal Communications Commission set its maximum exposure limits more than 15 years ago during the early days of mobile technology. The GAO warns that federal cell phone radiation standards are outdated and may not protect public health.
“The FCC has been wearing a blindfold for more than a decade, pretending that while cell phones were revolutionizing how we communicate, the agency didn’t have to take a hard look at what this meant for its so-called safety standards,” said Renee Sharp, director of Environmental Working Group’s California office. “Finally, the FCC has been taken to task for this grave oversight, and we hope and expect it will use the GAO’s findings to update its safety standards for wireless devices.”
The GAO notes that the FCC’s current standards allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the body as a whole, and do not account for the possible risks to children’s developing brains. In addition, the agency did not consider the impact of frequent cell phone use over the course of many years.
“In 1996, tweens and teens were not consumers of wireless technology, but today it’s hard to find a group of young people who aren’t armed with the latest mobile device,” said Sharp. “Those populations who are now talking and texting daily were not considered by the FCC when it devised its safety standards fifteen years ago.”
The FCC announced in June that it was considering whether or not to evaluate its current standards, however no final decision was made. The agency has repeatedly spoken of confidence in its current guidelines and claims cell phone emissions pose no risk to consumers.
In the largest study of its kind, scientists from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer found no clear evidence that mobile phone’s increase the risk of cancer, although the team noted that it could not predict long-term effects.
Simi Valley, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
The Netherlands, Amsterdam
EMF or an Electromagnetic shield Shield serves many important purposes. Some might think that feeling the need to use an EMF shield is “paranoid,” but the truth is they are extremely practical and in fact, are used with many devices we use every day.
An EMF shield on laptop computer helps mask keyboard input which prevents people from tracing your key strokes at a distance and then determining your passwords. Another EMF shield that nearly every home will have is on their microwaves. Have you ever noticed that despite the microwave door being transparent, it’s still difficult to see through it clearly? This is due to the fine metal mesh that is installed within the glass on the door. Even though the mesh is not solid; it acts as a shield because the holes in the mesh are smaller than the wave-lengths trying to get through them. You will also find a shield built into your cellular phone which prevents you from picking up other people’s phone calls or intercepting their text messages. Older model cell phones did not have this as a standard feature and it was common for text messages to be hi-jacked by other phone signals or calls to be randomly intercepted by another wireless phone signal.
Other examples of devices that use an EMF shield include; broadcasting equipment such as that found in radio stations, medical equipment, dispatching equipment and emergency paging devices. All these technologies require EMF shielding otherwise cell phones and radio signals could interfere with them causing a catastrophic failure. This is a major reason why you are not supposed to use your cellular phone when in-flight. Although the airplane’s equipment does use this shield; the consequences of the interference with a cell-signal or AM/FM radio wave could result in a fatal equipment error and it is just is not worth the risk.
The aforementioned are all instances of an EMF shield that have already been built into consumer products for your convenience, but there are instances where there are no shields where there should be. Have you ever noticed the pesky frequency at which your baby monitor picks up the neighbors child crying or the couple down the street arguing? Baby monitors are one-way radio signals that operate, typically, on one of two channels; so the chance of someone else’s monitor being on the same channel as yours is pretty good. Despite the fact that the neighbor might be three doors down from you, the radio waves on your monitors can still interfere with one another. If you were to use an EMF shield on your monitor it would reduce and even eliminate that crossover interference altogether.
The uses for an EMF shield are endless. To protect yourself from laptop radiation, you can use The DefenderPad EMF shield. Just remember that wrapping your own head in tin foil – although conceptually accurate – may not actually prevent anyone from reading your mind or hi-jacking your brain waves.
Garden Grove California USA
City of Gosford, Australia,
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Equatorial Guinea, Malabo,
Al ‘Awdah, United Arab Emirates, Al ‘Awdah, UAE
The turf war between the Telecom Ministry and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over regulating electromagnetic radiation emanating from mobile towers has intensified. The Department of Telecom has asked the Ministry to stay away from issuing any policy related to governing mobile radiation.
This follows an advisory from the Environment Ministry in August asking State governments to conduct regular audit of electromagnetic radiations emanating from towers set up by mobile companies. Under this advisory, the Environment Ministry had asked local bodies not to give permission to mobile companies to set up base station in ecologically-sensitive areas, without consulting the Forest Department.
In response, the DoT has written to the Ministry that it was already doing regular checks. “There is no need for any special arrangement for ecological-sensitive areas… Issue of electromagnetic radiation is dealt by the DoT. Involvement of multiple organisations and issue of directions on the same subject by different Ministries will create complication and difficulties,” it added.
The Telecom Ministry and the MoEF have been at loggerheads on this issue for a while with the latter wanting stricter norms and greater role for itself. Earlier, the MoEF set up a Committee to study the impact of mobile radiation on biological systems despite opposition from the Telecom Ministry.
Sibal versus Gehlot
The advisory issued by the MoEF has prompted several State governments to take action against mobile companies. In Rajasthan, for instance, all telecom companies have been told to switch off their cell sites near schools and hospitals.
Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has told Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, to review the decision as it was affecting communication in the State. “Mobile towers have been installed strictly as per guidelines issued by the DoT and they are radiating well within the limits prescribed, which has been verified by the Committee appointed by Government of Rajasthan as well as by the High Court of Rajasthan,” Sibal said in a letter to Gehlot.
Sibal said that the closure of towers in the State may also impact e-governance initiatives in Rajasthan as well as connectivity to village centres. “With closure of base stations near hospitals, doctors will be out of reach for patients. There are large number if hospitals in Jaipur town. The closing down of mobile towers within 500 metres of hospitals will affect about two-thirds of the city,” Sibal said.
Recently, the DoT had asked telecom companies to bring down emission levels by a tenth of earlier permissible limits. Monitoring agencies within DoT have been conducting random checks on towers. It has also set up a helpline to address complaints related to excessive radiation. It also penalised several operators in Mumbai for violating the norms.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Russian Federation, Moscow City
Not that you’ll be eating your cell phone anytime soon, but did you know that it’s loaded with toxins like mercury, chlorine, and cadmium? Helping to analyze cell phone dangers, the Ecology Center of Ann Arbor, Michigan teamed up with ifixit.com to take apart and identify components of 36 models of cell phones. They found at least one of the following in every device:
In total, ifixit dismantled over a thousand cell phones to test for toxins by utilizing X-ray fluorescence to irradiate and measure the radiation given back by an object. Certain materials like the toxins are identified by the signature of radiation the object re-emits.
“Even the best phones from our study are still loaded with chemical hazards,” bemoaned Jeff Gearhart, research director of the Ecology Center. He published the results of the study on his website, HealthyStuff.org. “These chemicals [are] linked to birth defects, impaired learning, and other serious health problems.”
Cell Phone Dangers to Children and Adults
Although cell phones are extremely convenient, this convenience does not come without risk or consequence. Using a mobile device for any length of time is damaging to some degree, but new research is shedding light on just how significant of an influence extended cellphone use has on the brain. In one study, it was revealed that 10 years of cell phone use resulted in an average 290% increased risk of brain tumor development.
Similarly, researchers found that 143 proteins in the brain were negatively impacted by radio frequency radiation over a period of 8 months. A total of 3 hours of cell phone exposure were simulated over the 8 month time period, and the results showed that many neural function related proteins’ functional relationship changed the for worse. It’s no surprise that celebrity Sheryl Crow attributes her brain tumor to cell phone use.
What’s more, cell phone dangers play an even greater role on children, who have thinner skulls and younger developing brains. One report shows just how prevalent cell phone dangers are for children. Due to developing organs, lower bone density of the skull, lower body weight, and a less effective blood brain barrier, children are especially vulnerable to cell phone radiation. This is even more true for unborn children, with research showing that microwave radiation emitted by cell phones negatively influencing fetal brains.
It was also revealed in a study conducted 4 years ago that 54 percent of children born from mothers who used cell phones had behavioral issues. What’s more, the percentage jumped to 80 if the children grew up talking on cell phones frequently.
There’s a reason the World Health Organization put cell phones in the same risk category as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform.
Toxic for the Environment
Sadly, the earth, too, suffers from the toxins in cell phones. Mining tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold for cell phone production causes groundwater contamination as well as human exploitation and brutality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Moreover, once a cell phone is discarded, it is shipped to places in the world most Americans don’t see much of, like China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, where underpaid workers handle the materials and are exposed to the toxins we go to such lengths to avoid, ourselves.
“[The toxins] have been found in soils at levels 10 to 100 times higher than background levels at e-waste recycling sites in China,” says Gearhart. “We need better federal regulation of these chemicals, and we need to create incentives for the design of greener consumer electronics.”
CEO of ifixit, Kyle Wiens, says that in 2009, 2.37 million tons of electronics were discarded. “Of the digital castoffs, only 25 percent made it into recycling centers. We can’t allow the other 75 percent of our old electronics to become waste. All those toxins add up.”
What we can Do
First and foremost, we ought to consider limiting our use of the luxury items—like cell phones—in question. Buying used electronics can cut down on waste and keep items already in circulation out of landfills.
As said by Wiens, we must kee[ pushing for better regulation of harmful materials. In the meantime, recycling e-waste properly can help keep toxins out of our groundwater. Visit e-Stewards for your local e-waste recycling program or drop off unwanted electronics at a nearby Best Buy.
On a personal level to avoid cell phone dangers:
* Limit cell phone use
* Don’t allow young children to have cell phones
* Use the speaker feature more often
* Place your cell phone far away or turn it off while not in use
* Consider investing in cell phone radiation protection
West Covina, California
United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi,
City of Hawkesbury, Australia
Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo
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