Health hazards from mobile towers
Scientific reports on biological effect of cell tower radiation on human health are a grave concern. To get signals cell towers are erected at strategic places with receivers and transmitters attached to them. Receivers receive the signal from their respective suppliers and transmitters transmit the signal to cell phones and other devices wherever radiation could penetrate. The type of radiation transmitted from the towers is the electromagnetic radiation that is similar to that of sunlight but, radiation from mobile towers is seriously detrimental as told by physicists.
According to the report on “Cell Tower Radiation” submitted by Prof. G. Kumar, Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Bombay to Secretary, DOT, Delhi, in 2010, one mobile operator may transmit 50-100 W of power and so, more operators on the same tower or in the same location, means more power and more radiation. Cell towers transmit radiation 24 x 7, so people living within 10’s of meters from the tower will receive signal that is 10,000 to 10,000,000 times stronger than what is required for mobile communication.
India adopted radiation norms of 4.7 W/m2 for GSM 900. However, serious health effects have been noted even at low as 0.0001 W/m2. A few countries have adopted 0.001 W/m2 or even lower. The biological effects due to microwave radiation from mobile towers include: risks to children (softer skull, softer bones-easier for radiation to penetrate), risks to pregnant women, infertility, DNA damage, interference with pacemakers used in the body, effects on skin, ear and eye damage, weakening of bones, sleep disorder, tumours, brain diseases, increased cancer risk. Apart from having a detrimental impact on human health, radiation from mobile towers affects animals and plants as well. There are so many studies that have been carried out on this issue and one can get these reports on the internet.
I want to draw your attention to the locality where I reside at Mawlai Mawdatbaki, Pata-A where two tall towers were erected in 2005-2008 near many houses, some of them only a few meters away. One of the towers belongs to Airtel and the other to Vodafone. Last week, some technicians came to connect some device to the Vodafone tower. When asked, they said they are connecting Jio to the tower. Surprised and shocked, that day we came to know that Vodafone sold the tower to a company known as ATC, already two operators namely IDEA and BSNL are using the same tower as told by the land owner. Therefore, the two existing mobile towers are catering to 5 operators that are transmitting radiation non-stop.
Operators of mobile towers must be strictly instructed that power density inside residential or office buildings, schools, hospitals, should be within specified guidelines. Residents staying in close proximity to the towers must be informed about the harmful effect of radiation.
The crucial questions are: (1) Are network operators aware of health risks and do they follow the radiation norms and guidelines? (2) Do they have a Radiation meter to check the intensity of radiation regularly? (3) Who will be responsible for the health risks of people staying within close proximity to mobile towers? (4) Is the Government/telecom department aware of the sharing of towers by many operators and so, the strength of radiation transmitted by these operators together?
I therefore urge land owners to first understand the health risks involved when they lease their land to companies to accommodate mobile towers. I also urge those in seats of authority to rethink the situation and minutely assess the health risks involved and look for alternatives to remove the towers from residential areas and relocate them in areas where they would not pose a blatant hazard to public health, and at the same time be able to serve the needs of the public in terms of allowing enough scope for mobile phones to access signals. I strongly urge the public to understand the ill effects of radiation and therefore to stand united for an issue like this for the greater good of society.
We need telephone, internet and other modes of technology but not to the detriment of our health.
Fish ban in Meghalaya
On the captioned subject I would like to ask the following questions:
- Is it right not to ban sale of fish imported by the state of Meghalaya despite the fact that the fish reaches the traders after 15 to 20 days of transit. So it is natural to say that the fish imported into Meghalaya is injected with formalin which is used to keep dead fish fresh. So how can imported fish to our state be declared formalin free?
2 We are part of the problem if we don’t ban and rather provide supplementary proof and evidences for absence of formalin. The earlier statement of the Health Minister not to ban sale of fish imported to Meghalaya is uncalled for.
3 There is something fishy about fish from Andhra Pradesh that has raised concerns in the states of Goa , Assam, Nagaland and Manipur resulting in the ban in the sale of such fish after they were detected to be having formalin.
4 It is pathetic that the Khasi Jaintia Whole-seller and Retailer Association President Mitchell Wankhar is part of the problem by claiming that the fish supplies that reach Shillong City from other states are safe and chemical free whereas the whole of India is scared of formalin as it is known to be carcinogenic.
5 Facts cannot be ignored as the citizens of the city are quite aware of the consequences and rather plead for a solution to the Health Minister without any self interest for non-hazardous and healthy food. We in the Health Department are more concerned as to how such a test cannot be successfully conducted in our own State.