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 levelsof 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.
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.
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.
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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.
Cape Verde, Praia,
Yonkers, New York
City of Ryde, Australia,
Congo, Democratic Republic of the Kinshasa
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.
Cape Verde, Praia,
Yonkers, New York
City of Ryde, Australia,
Congo, Democratic Republic of the Kinshasa
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.
West Valley City Utah USA
Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby
With mobile penetration of more than 100%, many mobile towers are mushrooming in the cities. To provide seamless coverage to the mobile users, telecom companies are installing the towers every 300 meters in the city and sometimes less than that. This is all done to keep up the growing demand of voice and data traffic in the cities.
Apart from the health issues which these mobile towers pose on human being, these mobile towers are making the city skyline aesthetically unpleasant. These mobile towers are just an eye sore when somebody looks at the skyline. No regulation on installations of these mobile towers in the cities has degraded the skyline of almost every city. Moreover there are no proper design specification for the towers and no designated approval body to approve the tower designs. Safety of such towers is also questioned by different agencies in the recent past including Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) of residential colonies.
In European countries, innovative methods like camouflaging, landscaping and stealth structures are used to lessen the unpleasant visual impacts of mobile towers and antennas installed on them. And they also use low power radiating systems where the antennas can also be mounted on the street furniture like behind sign boards and light poles so that visual asthetics of the the city are maintained and do not create eye sores like seen above in India.
Chula Vista, California
Egypt, Cairo: city limits
Perth Albany, Victoria,
City of Greater Taree, Australia
Al Hamraniyah, United Arab Emirates, Al Hamraniyah, UAE
There was big cellphone news out of San Francisco this week – and we’re not talking about the Wednesday launch of Apple’s latest must-have gadget, the iPhone 5. On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, blocked the implementation of that city’s heavy-handed cellphone radiation warning law, pending the outcome of an industry challenge.
This isn’t a case about medicine or Americans’ love of constant connection. It’s about whether the First Amendment protects businesses from engaging in nanny-state, government-ordered speech.
The ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, would require cellphone dealers to tell customers the devices may expose them to levels of radio-frequency emissions the World Health Organization classifies as potentially cancer-causing. Businesses would be required to prominently display an informational poster advising customers that the energy emitted by mobile phones is “”a possible carcinogen.”” Retailers also would have to provide customers with an information sheet and paste an informational sticker on all display literature, with all language scripted by the city.
The wireless industry has vehemently contested the assertions contained in the health advisory, noting the World Health Organization issued a report in June 2011 concluding that no adverse health effects had been established as being caused by mobile phone use.
In its brief, unpublished opinion, the 9th Circuit – which has jurisdiction over Nevada – reversed a lower-court judge who said the city could compel cellphone companies to distribute a “”fact sheet”” because its Board of Supervisors concluded “”there is debate in the scientific community about the health effects of cellphones.””
All such portable communication devices certainly do emit radio-frequency radiation, at cumulative levels that differ from device to device. Those levels will be higher for people who never put their phones down. Users should seek independent data on potential health effects.
But this case is primarily about “”compelled speech.”” In a friend of the court brief, the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute argues that retailers have a constitutional right not to be forced to speak for the government. As anyone who has looked at a cigarette pack or advertisement in recent decades could have predicted, the court agreed only in part, holding government-compelled speech must be “”purely factual and uncontroversial.”” The debate over the health risks posed by cellphones is far from settled.
“”The very purpose of the First Amendment … is to ensure that Americans are free to think, speak, write and worship as they please, not as the government dictates,”” notes John W. Whitehead, president of institute. “”Well-meaning or not, the government’s desire to communicate a disputed health alert about cellphone usage cannot be permitted to trump the First Amendment rights of San Franciscans to decide for themselves whether or not to advance such a message.””
Those concerned about the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation have plenty of ways to publicize their concerns. But if freedom of speech means anything, it certainly should forbid government from using the force of law to require anyone to speak out against his or her own interests and beliefs. San Francisco’s ordinance should be struck down before it can spread here or anywhere else.
Broken Hill Australia
Sri Lanka, Colombo
San Bernardino, California
Providence, Rhode Island
Allentown Pennsylvania USA
Microwave – and other forms of electromagnetic – radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process originally described in the 1970s as Microwave Sickness.
When the talented physician-author Servan-Schreiber wrote those prophetic words he was lucky. It had been 18 years since he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor incidental to an MRI. The book describing the anti-cancer program he developed had sold several million copies and may well have extended his life. Most brain tumors remain hidden and are only diagnosed after metastasizing into seizures or strokes. David’s luck ran out last year, when he died of a glioblastoma—spreading malignant tumor of the brain. Was it merely a coincidence that he had used one of his three cellphones held close to his head regularly for more than a decade before developing this fatal brain tumor? The WHO (World Health Organization) thinks not, having recently declared cellphone and other wireless radiation a “possible human carcinogen,” adding them to a list that includes some pesticides, engine exhausts and solvents. While we cannot be certain whether cellphone radiation may have promoted or caused the tumor that took his life, that is a highly plausible explanation.
In America today, about 20 million children under the age of 14 have cellphones, and the CDC reports that one-fifth of all 2 year olds reportedly spend two hours a day in front of a screen. Increasingly, scientists and policy makers in tech-savvy nations like Israel and Finland are concerned that the ways these devices are used imperil the brain. The iPhone plastic baby rattle case protects the phone’s glass screen from cracking when dropped or chomped on by teething inquisitive babies, but does not protect the infant’s young brain from the phone’s pulsed digital microwave radiation.
Cell phones have revolutionized the ability to carry out research and promote public health interventions. But, there’s growing recognition in technologically advanced nations that we need to get smarter about how we use these and other wireless devices. Fine print warnings that come with all smart phones today advise not keeping phones in the pocket or next to the body — advice that is typically ignored. Growing numbers of national authorities, from Israel to France and Russia are making concerted efforts to promote awareness of the need to Practice Safe Phone.
The proliferation of wireless gadgets overlooks a critical health issue: non-ionizing or microwave radiation at levels that do not induce measurable changes in temperature can change and damage the brain and sperm of experimental animals. A cellphone is a two-way microwave radio with intermittent and destabilizing pulses, unlike microwave ovens that steadily operate at the same frequencies at much greater power. The weak and erratic microwave radiation from cellphones and tablets cannot directly break the bonds that hold molecules together, but does disrupt DNA, weaken the brain’s protective barrier and release highly reactive and damaging free radicals.
A 5 year old’s brain, healthy or otherwise, is encased in a thinner skull and contains more fluid than an adult brain. According to studies carried out by industry modelers in Switzerland and France, the bone marrow of a child’s head absorbs 10 times more radiation than an adult, while that of infants and toddlers will absorb even more. Few parents realize that infant apps such as One Fish Two Fish, Peekaboo Farm, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star may do much more than amuse and distract babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that children need more real face time than screen time; more laps than apps.
Most disconcerting are findings from Nesrin Seyhan, the NATO-supported founding chairman of the Biophysics Department at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, whose studies show that prenatally exposed rats and rabbits have fewer brain cells — and those that survive sustain more damage to their brains, livers, reproductive systems and eyes. Recent reports from Yale University’s chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hugh Taylor found that prenatal exposures significantly increased hyperactive behavior in offspring. Other research carried out by National Institute of Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, MD, PhD, showed that exposures to cellphone radiation directly alters brain metabolism in human brain cells. Experimental work completed by American, Australian, Greek and Turkish teams working with experts in male reproductive health has reported that cellphone-radiation-exposed human sperm die three times faster, swim significantly more poorly, become more deformed and develop significantly more damage to sperm DNA.
The brain cancer story remains complex, because the disease has a long latency up to four decades and because past uses and users differ radically from current ones.
Distance is your Friend
What can you do to protect yourself from radiation emitted from high tech gadgets? Fortunately, industry has begun to issue more warnings. Samsung provides this advice: “Your mobile device is not a toy. Do not allow children to play with it because they could hurt themselves and others, damage the device, or make calls that increase your mobile device bill. Keep the mobile device and all its parts and accessories out of the reach of small children.”
* When it comes to using electronic devices, remember: Distance is your friend.
* Don’t hold a cell phone directly up to your head. Use a headset or speakerphone to talk on the phone, or a case (such as Pong) that has been independently tested to reduce radiation up to 90%.
* Pregnant women should keep cell phones away from their abdomen and men who wish to become fathers should never keep phones on in their pocket.
* Don’t allow children to play with or use your cell phone. Older children should use a headset or speakerphone when talking on a cell phone.
* Do not text and drive, and use specially adapted antennas for cars to avoid absorbing maximum power as the phone moves from one cell system to another.
* Turn off your wireless router at night to minimize exposure to radiation.
* Eat green vegetables and get a good night’s sleep in a dark room to enhance natural repair of DNA that may have been damaged by radiation.
Japan, Tokyo City,
Simi Valley California USA
Charlotte, North Carolina
Cotonou (de facto capital)
Al Masafirah, United Arab Emirates, Al Masafirah, UAE