Study Links In-utero Exposure to Magnetic Fields to Child Obesity

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Wireless devices and household appliances may impact fetal development, changing endocrine and metabolic systems, according to a large study by Kaiser Permanente.

High electromagnetic field levels of household appliances (such as washing machines and hair dryers) and wireless devices (such as laptops and routers) may be at least partially to blame for the rise in childhood obesity in recent years, according to a 13-year study by Kaiser Permanente that followed hundreds of pregnant women and 733 of their children.

After controlling for several factors, including child gender, pre-pregnancy BMI, maternal age at delivery, race, education, breastfeeding, and smoking, researchers write in Nature’s Scientific Reports that children exposed to high in-utero levels are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese as children exposed to low in-utero levels.

Specifically, high levels were considered to be more than 2.5 milligauss (mG), which is a unit of magnetic field strength, while low levels were considered to be less than 1.5 mG, and medium was everything in between. (The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of magnetic field measurements in everyday electrical devices.)

“”Pregnancy is a critical developmental stage that is among the most vulnerable periods to environmental exposures,”” De-Kun Li, a perinatal epidemiologist and the lead author of the study, said in a news release. “”EMF exposure during pregnancy could impact the fetal development, including endocrine and metabolic systems, predisposing offspring to higher risk of obesity…This finding could have implications for possibly reducing childhood obesity and better understanding the obesity epidemic.””

When breaking the study down into the 18 factors considered, the findings are a bit befuddling. Out of all areas studied, including maternal, prenatal, and childhood factors, researchers found that only family income and childhood habits of eating fruits and vegetables varied among the low, medium, and high maternal exposure groups.

It turns out that children who ate more fruits and veggies tended to have a mother with higher magnetic field exposure during pregnancy. Researchers said they could not explain this association. And oddly, the pattern of exposure according to family income was inconsistent: Women with low or high family income had lower exposure than women with medium family income.

The study comes on the heels of Dr. Li’s previous work showing that electromagnetic fields could play a role in pregnancy outcomes and childhood diseases such as asthma. Still, he stresses that the results need to be replicated by additional studies.

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Electromagnetic Radiation is More Than Skin Deep

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Milind Deora, Lok Sabha MP, has recently brought into the public domain a major health issue relating to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and base stations mounted on telecom towers. The trigger for his taking this important public health issue with the department of telecom (DoT) was the accidental death of a young boy, which, according him, was due to ‘electronic discharge coming in contact with high-tension overhead wire and (that) electrocuted him’. While this may be a freak incident, Deora has rightly focused on the related issue of cell phone radiation, a serious health hazard in the long term.

The non-ionising radiations from microwaves emitted by telecom base stations and cell phones have been considered safe due to their extremely low power density that does not cause any thermal effect on human cells as long as the exposures are within the limits prescribed by the Inter- national Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (Icnirp) in its guidelines. Based on studies conducted in the 1990s, Icnrip fixed limits on radiation from cellular base stations that are 4.5 W/m2 for GSM 900, 9.0 W/m2 for GSM 1800 and 10 W/m2 for UMTS (3G) in 1998. Several measurements made of radiation at the base of telecom towers and other locations have found radiation levels much lower than these limits. Therefore, WHO has declared mobile phones and base stations safe for public health.

However, it should be noted that the Icnirp guidelines are based on short-term, immediate health effects such as stimulation of peripheral nerves and muscles and harm caused by tissue temperatures, resulting from absorption of energy during exposure to electromagnetic fields expressed in terms of specific absorption rate (SAR). These are not based on long-term exposure to radiation from cellphone and base stations, particularly from broadband wireless systems such as WiMAX and 3.5G mobile systems.

Subsequent to the publication of the Icnirp guidelines more than a decade back, a number of studies have brought out the dangers of long-term exposure of RF radiation to public health. Notable among these are the Freiburger Appeal published in October 2002 by the interdisciplinary society for environmental medicine of Germany. The Salzburg Resolution of 2000 recommends outdoor exposure limits that are much lower than the Icnirp guidelines, particularly in publicly accessible areas. Similarly, the Catania Resolution recommends preventive strategies based on the ‘precautionary principle’. The Paris Charter, signed in March 2003 by three mobile phone operators and the City of Paris, limits public exposure to radiation at levels much lower than the Icnirp limits.
The inadequacies of the existing guidelines have been brought out in the BioInitiative Report 2009 in which a number of adverse biological effects of electromagnetic radiation at very low levels from hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have been highlighted.

It is learnt that in India, the Telecom Commission has decided to adopt Icnirp guidelines. In view of the doubts raised about these guidelines in so many countries, including the European Union, it will be prudent to carefully examine all existing international standards and review the decision already taken. The country will have one billion mobile phones by 2012. To connect so many cell phones, about one million base stations may be required. This will create an enormous electromagnetic smog, particularly in urban areas. The effect of such exposure from multiple base stations has not yet been studied in depth. The latency of a serious disease like cancer is ten to 20 years. Therefore, a precautionary approach is justified.

Some regulatory measures can somewhat mitigate the problem. One is to prescribe the maximum emitted power for various systems in the licence and to measure the same for compliance during acceptance testing. Another could be mandating indoor coverage for all commercial and office buildings, particularly for third generation systems. It is estimated that 80% of the 3G multimedia (data/video) traffic will originate or terminate indoor in crowded urban centers. To provide in-building coverage, outdoor base stations have to increase their power level, ie, radiation contributing to the electromagnetic smog.

In case dedicated indoors cells are provided, their radiation level will come down considerably. Studies have indicated up to 400% increase in system capacity by deployment of indoor pico/ microcells and outdoor macrocells, which will make the environment safer, due to reduction in electromagnetic radiation levels. Last but not the least is to give financial incentive to operators who deploy lower power density systems which are environment-friendly.

Since the 3G systems have a much higher level of radiated power, a numberof countries, notably China, have prescribed stricter norms to limit electromagnetic radiation from these systems. These norms are more stringent than what is applicable in Europe/ North America.

Since 3G and broadband wireless access systems like WiMAX are to be inducted in India in the near future, urgent action is required to study the effects of radiation from these systems by an independent group of experts with a view to fixing limits in the Indian context. While various municipal corporations like MCD have recently formulated policies to regulate erection of towers in cities like Delhi, mainly from aesthetic & structural angle, there is no authority at present to regulate radiation from these towers. This must be done by Trai in the interest of public health.

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A Mild Cellphone Warning Has Me Really Worried

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Right after I learned that a panel of scientists from the World Health Organization had said for the first time that there may be a “”possible”” link between cellphones and a highly malignant type of brain cancer, I went for a walk in my downtown neighbourhood.

Roughly every third person was using a cell phone – mommies pushing strollers with one arm and holding a phone to their ear with the other; laughing and shouting teens coming home en masse from school, some texting, some talking; the now standard wilted-tulip-necked pedestrians checking their messages.

Maybe one day, if the darkest of scenarios is true and heavy cellphone users start showing up with glioma, this everyday street scene will seem as remarkable to us as photographs of roomfuls of people from the fifties and sixties madly smoking: How could we all have been so stupid?

But then again, maybe not. The evidence of any link between the electromagnetic waves that cellphone use depends on and cancer is tenuous and frustratingly hard to quantify, and all this panel of scientists from the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer did was review the existing studies to date, issue a general warning and call for, yes, more research.

Still, I’m weirdly agitated about this latest cellphone scare, however much it has been mocked by naysayers who in a rather patronizing way point out that the WHO’s list of “”possible”” carcinogens includes pickled onions and coffee.

I’m angry not because I just got a new smart phone – if anything, I will be e-mailing more and talking less – but because this cancer theory has been around for a long time and it’s not going away. Indeed it is starting to segue from a heavily mocked urban myth to a more urgent “”what if?””

It’s not myself I’m worried about. I am not a heavy user. But our grown kids don’t even have landlines. The whole ritual of renting that first apartment and waiting for a phone to be installed is ancient history.

And if they are self-employed or working on contract, as so many are, they are on their phones all day and night. For twentysomethings, a cellphone is not a habit, it’s a way of life.

So if anyone is going to end up with tumours and fertility problems (if you’re a guy and carry a phone in your jeans pocket), it’s our children. And that makes me angry on their behalf, because they are so dependent on their cells that they are probably not going to pay all that much attention to the WHO alert. (Although I do know one twentysomething who began using a headset immediately after hearing the news.)

Face it, we are all crazy about our cellphones, a fact that Marc Choma, spokesperson for the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which works on behalf of the industry, emphasized so many times in the course of a very brief interview – “”we all love our cellphones, right?””- that I wondered whether the association provides a downloadable app with that soothing message.

The latest numbers show about 25 million Canadian cellphone users, which puts us in the 75 per cent range for penetration, and worldwide the figure is now up to an astonishing 5 billion users.

And as both Mr. Choma and a spokesperson from Health Canada, who said our cellphone safety standards are among the highest in the world, reminded me, any “”responsible journalist”” should emphasize that absolutely nothing has been proven, that the WHO panel only says there is “”suggestive”” evidence of a link between electromagnetic waves and cancer.

There was, however, a very odd quote on the CBC website from Bernard Lord, CEO of the CWTA. “”When you consider that more than half of 911 calls made in Canada are made from mobile devices, I think it’s safe to say mobile devices have saved lives in Canada.”” A statement so irrelevant to the subject of cancer and cellphone usage that it made me more, not less, concerned about a possible health risk.

There is no use in getting hysterical and jumping the gun as the Ontario NDP just did, calling for warnings on cellphones because, as the party’s health critic said, “”they’re cooking your brain slowly.””

But the other extreme is to blithely ignore this warning. So until further notice, it is what it always has been: user beware, while taking steps to minimize your risk like using a headset, texting instead of calling and keeping your conversations short.

Parents of teens, who live only in the moment, should probably be emphasizing safe cell use along with safe sex.

And there should be an aggressive push from consumers and governments to demand the best and most definitive research possible on the subject.

Five billion people have a right to know if cellphone use poses a significant health risk. Even if many of them wish they could just delete an alarming answer.

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Attention All Cell Phone Users: Recent Studies Show Cell Phone Radiation Can Possibly Cause Cancer

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that mobile phone use is a possible carcinogen to humans. Today as cell phone use continues to grow, more researchers are speaking out against the technology to warn the public of serious biological side effects that must be acknowledged and remedied.

In May 2011, WHO was the first large agency to admit cell phones might certainly cause cancer, classifying its electromagnetic radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” and listed cell phones in the same carcinogenic hazardous category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Given the potential consequences, WHO recommended reducing exposure of radiation through hands-free devices and text-messaging.

At the time, scientists found that the use of wireless telephones increase the risk for brain cancer, but had not been able to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. However, in a recent lecture by Dr. Devra Davis, author of the book “The Secret History of the War on Cancer,” she provides toxicological and epidemiological evidence to back up her claims and get the word out on the dangers of cell phone radiation and the biological impact of cell phones which disrupt resonance and interferes with DNA repair causing other types of cancers in the human body than just brain cancer.

Dr. Davis analyzed one interesting case that was released in the recent May issue of the Environmental Health Trust’s newsletter about a young woman who came down with multi-focal breast cancer after having the peculiar habit of tucking her cell phone into her bra. The woman had no other predisposing risk factors for cancer. When cancer specialists analyzed the distribution of her cancerous cells they found the cancer was directly beneath the area of her breast where she’d been tucking her cell phone into her bra. While her doctor can’t prove that the cell phone radiation caused her cancer, the probability is very likely and this case should serve as a potent warning for all of us who keep our phones close to our body in our pants or shirt pockets.

“As a general rule, you should avoid carrying your phone anywhere on your body,” states Dr. Davis. It is important to know that as long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently even when you are not making a phone call. You do not want any part of your body within approximately six inches of the emitting antenna to keep away from radiation exposure.

Carrying your cell phone on your body is the worst place to store your phone. Earlier research published in 2009 showed evidence that wearing a cell phone on your hip could weaken an area of your pelvis. This study analyzed 150 men who regularly carried their cell phones attached to their belts for an average of 15 hours each day for approximately six years. Researchers found that bone mineral density was lower on the pelvis side where the mobile phones were carried, increasing the possibility that bone density could be adversely affected by the electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones. Therefore, all of us especially men may want to reconsider where we carry our cell phones.

There is now robust scientific evidence that cell phones and other wireless devices pose significant health risks to all of us. Yet, even though such findings are not being widely publicized, it makes sense for us to take action now to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Here are some useful tips from Dr. Davis to help minimize your exposure to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices:

Avoid Carrying Your Cell Phone on Your Body: Ideally you should place it more than six inches away from the body, place it in your purse or carrying bag. Avoid carrying it in your pants or shirt pocket.
Reduce Your Cell Phone Usage and Use of Other Wireless Devices: Save your cell phone use for emergencies or important matters only. You would be wise to cut down on your use of these devices.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off More Often: Remember that as long as your cell phone is on, it still emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not making a call.

Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Limit the amount of time spent on your cell phone when you have other land lines available.

Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use which emits more radiation, and therefore the radio waves penetrate deeper into your body.
Don’t Assume That One Cell Phone is Safer than Another: There is no such thing as a “safe” cell phone, they all omit electromagnetic radiation.

Use Safer Headset Technology: Using wired headsets or speaker will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone further away from your body. And make sure that wire used to transmit signal to your ear is shielded to reduce transmitting radiation to your brain.

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Cell Phone and Brain Malignancies: The Right to Know Radiation Act

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As the controversy continues to rage over whether cell phone radiation can be linked to an increased risk of brain cancer, recently introduced legislation in the US Congress would offer the public more information to make educated choices over purchase and use of cell phones.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced H.R. 6358, the Cell Phone Right to Know Act, a bill to grant a consumer’s right-to-know by providing for warning labels on cell phones. It would also create a new national research program to study cell phones and health and require the Environmental Protection Agency to update the outdated Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). A federal appeals court in San Francisco is expected to consider a local right-to-know ordinance this week.

“Consumers have a right to know the radiation levels of cell phones and whether they are buying the phone with the lowest – or the highest – level of exposure to cell phone radiation. They also deserve to have up-to-date exposure standards that are put together by health professionals without conflicts of interest,” said Kucinich.

When Kucinich first called a hearing on the issue as Chair of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee on September 25, 2008, Dr. Ronald Herberman, then Director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, testified to the Subcommittee, “I cannot tell this committee that cell phones are dangerous, but I certainly can’t tell you they are safe.”

Last year, the World Health Organization finished its assessment of the evidence about the links between exposure to radiation from cell phones and health problems. They concluded that there was enough evidence of a link to classify it as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” placing it in the same category as lead and mercury.

The long-awaited Interphone study, a major inquiry into the potential links between cell phone use and tumors, concluded that when taken as a whole, there was not a link. However, when the data was broken down, more risk was found and the picture became clearer. Those using their cell phones typically only 30 minutes per day or more were found to have a 40% increased risk of a type of brain tumor called glioma, when compared to someone who had not used a cell phone. If the phone is used mostly on one side of the head, the risk is 96% more than someone unexposed to cell phone radiation.

“It took decades for scientists to be able to say for sure that smoking caused cancer. During those decades, the false impression created by industry supporters was that there was no connection between smoking and cancer, a deception which cost many lives. While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation,” said Kucinich. “As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones.”

The warning labels required by H.R. 6358 would show the RF radiation emissions from the phone, legal limits and health-based goals for safe exposure. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the SAR is “the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a mobile phone.” The current SAR sets a maximum level of radiation emission at 1.6 watts per kilogram. The current SAR does not take into account vulnerable populations like kids or pregnant women. It also assumes a person’s only exposure is from the phone in use, but with WiFi, “smart phones,” and Bluetooth technologies, exposure to only one wireless device is increasingly rare, especially in urban environments. A Government Accountability Office report on cell phones and health is expected to be released soon.

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Cell Phone Radiation Alert: New Bill Proposes Adding Cell Phone Radiation Warning Label To Mobile Phones

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New bill proposes adding cell phone radiation warning labels to mobile phones, creating a national research program on cell phone radiation, and updating radiation emission standards, Bernstein Liebhard LLP reports.

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A new federal bill called the Cell Phone Right to Know Act, H.R. 6358, hopes to put warning labels on cell phones, create a national research program to study cell phone radiation levels, and require an update on radiation standards. Bernstein Liebhard LLP, a nationwide law firm representing clients injured by cell phone radiation, reports on the bill introduced by Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich on August 6, 2012.* “While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation,” Kucinich said in a statement. “As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones.”

The warning label would include the RF – radiofrequency energy – levels emitted from the phone, legal limits and health-based goals for safe exposure. Current cell phone radiation standards by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) set the Specific Absorption Rate (“SAR”), or the amount of radiation emitted to be at a maximum level of 1.6 watts per kilogram. Set in 1996, the current SAR level does not consider populations that may be even more vulnerable to the dangers of cell phone radiation, such as children or pregnant women. The bill would also require the Environmental Protection Agency to update SAR standards, instead of the FCC.
Cell Phone Radiation Safety Concerns Growing

The FCC submitted a proposal to reevaluate cell phone radiation emission standards in June 2012. An August 7, 2012 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) found that FCC cell phone radiation standards are outdated compared to standards of international regulatory agencies. The current levels may fail to reflect the most recent research on cell phone radiation, and may not identify the maximum exposure that most users are subject to.

Numerous studies have found that prolonged cell phone radiation exposure may put individuals at an increased risk for certain types of brain tumors, such as glioma, acoustic neuroma, and meningioma. In May 2011, the World Health Organization reclassified cell phones as possibly carcinogenic. Individuals who experienced cell phone side effects such certain types of tumors or cancers may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

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Airtel, RCom, Vodafone Among 7 Found Violating Radiation Norms

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Seven telecom operators, including RCom, Tata Teleservices Maharashtra, Airtel and Vodafone have been found violating radiation norms laid down by the government after a random check conducted by officials at a location in Mumbai.

“”11 BTSs (Base Tower Stations) of Reliance Communications, TTML, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Loop Telecom were found radiating beyond permissible limits of the new radiation norms when measurements were carried out in some houses facing the nearby BTS antenna,”” the Department of Telecom (DoT) said in an official statement.
“”Orders were issued to the 7 operators to stop radiating from these BTSs with immediate effect,”” it added.

Functioning of the BTSs may be resumed only after the sites are made compliant and information to that effect is verified by the Telecom Enforcement and Resource Monitoring (TERM) Cell, Mumbai, the statement said.

When contacted, industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) — which represents the GSM players — director general Rajan S Mathews said the operators should be given some time to ascertain about towers which are non-compliant.

CDMA industry body AUSPI offered no immediate comment.

A DoT official said, “”Show cause notices will be issued to these companies on penal action but keeping in mind public health as top priority, we ordered them to shut down these BTSs immediately.””

The new radiation norms, applicable from September, have lowered the limit of emission from telecom towers by one-tenth compared to earlier levels.

Under the new guidelines, emissions from the telecom antenna mounted on mobile towers should be equivalent to the frequency range in which the antenna operates. Like, an antenna operating in the frequency range of 400 Mhz will be allowed to emit 400 watt of energy per 2,000 square metre of area.

Also, it has set minimum distance of a tower (with two antenna) which will be 35 metres from a residential building. There is also a norm to impose a penalty of Rs. 5 lakh per BTS (antenna system at a tower site) per service provider.

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Sheryl Crow Attributes Brain Tumor to Cell Phone Use

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Sheryl Crow claims that her benign brain tumor may have been caused by cell phone use. Doctors found the tumor earlier this year after the singer, aged 50, began having difficulty remembering lyrics.

“I [was] worried I had an early [onset] Alzheimer’s,” she told Katie Couric on her new show, Katie.

Crow reassured fans that the tumor is benign, but the latter remember her battle with breast cancer in 2006. What has puzzled many fans is that she attributes her tumor to excessive cell phone use, although no one should actually be surprised.

Public Left in the Dark About Radiation Dangers
“There are no doctors that will confirm that. [But] I do have the theory that it’s possible that it’s related to that,” she told Couric. “I [used to spend] hours on the old archaic cell phones.”

Industry and media have collectively perfected the art of keeping the greater public in the dark. In fact, Tawkon released a mobile app last year that estimates radiation levels produced by smart phones based on antennae strength, headset or speaker phone use, and baseline figures provided by manufacturers. But what did technology giant Apple do? Ban the app from its App Store.

Studies on Cell Phones as Carcinogens
Meanwhile, research by Greek scientists shows that cell phone radiation changes vital proteins (up to 143) in the brain. Researchers found that 143 proteins in brain areas like the hippocampus, cerebellum, and frontal lobe 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.

Just days ago, the Örebro Hospital in Sweden released their findings that 10 years of cell phone use resulted in a 290 percent increased risk of brain tumor development. The World Health Organization (WHO) has actually warned us all that cell phones are in the same category of carcinogens as lead, engine exhaust, and chloroform—a warning that fell largely on deaf ears in the US.

Cell phone radiation is especially harmful for fetal brains , and these effects may lead to behavioral disorders including ADHD in children. This is especially disconcerting when taking into consideration where many pregnant mothers place their cell phones when texting—on their swollen bellies.

How to Protect Yourself
To protect yourself from cell phone radiation, try the following:

Use the “speaker” option as often as possible.
Hold the device about an inch from your head.
Turn off cellular devices at night or when not in use.
Put your phone in airplane mode to prevent it from sending signals.
Look into radiation protection for your phone, but be wary of scams. Thoroughly study research and reviews on products before purchasing to get the most of your money.

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Lucknow Development Authority Plans New Mobile Tower Guidelines to Reduce Radiation

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LUCKNOW: The Lucknow Development Authority is all set to put in place new guidelines for installation of mobile towers in the city. The authority has constituted a committee headed by LDA secretary to come up with new guidelines/regulations within two months. The development coincides with the Centre’s move to issue new guidelines, while asking mobile companies to reduce radiation levels.

LDA vice-chairman, Rajneesh Dubey said that the committee has been asked to study the new guidelines of the Centre, see how the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) adhered to it and subsequently come up with measures which are in conformity with the new guidelines of the central government. The new guidelines are based on the recommendations of the inter-ministerial committee of the ministry of communication and information technology (IT), which suggested reduction in the level of radiation from the existing 9.2 watt per square metre to 0.92 watt per square metre.

“”Once the committee submits its report and comes with new guidelines they will be endorsed by the board of LDA,”” Dubey said, while speaking to TOI on Monday. “”The committee has been asked to submit its report within two months after which necessary action will be taken against the erring companies,”” he said.

As a matter of fact, none of the scores of mobile towers installed in the city have got the due sanction of the authority. According to records, LDA received only 60 applications to install the towers, till date. Of these, 21 applications were for installation of towers in Hazratganj, while 24 were from Hasanganj. Couple of applications were also received from areas like Chowk, Alambagh, Wazirganj, Gomtinagar, Aliganj and Indiranagar. However, none of them have got the sanction. LDA officials maintain that while in some case, the map of the building is not passed, while in some cases there is absence of no-objection certificate from the respective residential welfare associations. There have also been cases, where the companies did not show the requisite NOC from the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB).

It, however, remains to be seen as to how the authority would enforce the new guidelines, which appear to get stricter considering the health hazards posed by the radiations from the mobile towers. The authority has already been struggling to get the existing rules, which are essentially in conformity with the building by-laws, enforced.

LDA sources said that there had been instances of residential welfare associations pointing out some of the dangerously installed towers in the localities. “”We have been lodging complaints with the LDA repeatedly. However, no action has been taken against anyone,”” said Brikeshwar Tewari, president of a residential welfare society in Gomtinagar.

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Illegal Cell Towers Face Action

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HYDERABAD: The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) will crack the whip against mobile phone service providers who have put up illegal cell towers without permission from the civic body.

The corporation has decided to take action against faulty telecom companies like dismantling cell towers if they do not pay Rs one lakh fee and get them regularised immediately. In June, the AP high court, while disposing cases on illegal cell towers, said that the towers should be erected by taking permission from the corporation. After HC verdict, the GHMC town planning wing slapped notices on service providers like Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Idea, Tata, BSNL and others. A meeting was also conducted with representatives of service providers in June last week and they were asked to submit documents like structural stability certificate and owners’ lease agreement within 10 days. However, even after three months, less than 10 applications were received. “”The corporation will remove cell towers if they do not come forward to regularise the existing 3,400 cell towers,”” GHMC chief city planner GV Raghu told TOI on Monday.

Incidentally, GHMC records show there are only 3,433 cell towers in the city, but there could be another 1,000 more as several new towers have come up in the past two years. Several towers do not have structural stability and were posing danger not only to inmates of buildings where they were erected but also their neighbours. For identifying the existing illegal and new towersGHMC would have to carry out a survey again. Officials estimate that they would get at least Rs 30 crore revenue in form of cell tower fees. As per the survey conducted by the town planning wing in 2010, there were 3,433 cell towers in GHMC limits with highest density (428) towers situated in Circle-10 areas like Khairatabad, Punjagutta, Banjara Hills.

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