"City doctors recommend people not expose themselves too much to radiation either from cell phone or cell phone towers. They also suggest that pregnant women and small children be kept away from gadgets that emit high doses of radiation even if they are nonionizing in nature."
by Syed Akbar, TNN, 13 April 2017
HYDERABAD: The Supreme Court's order on closure of a cell phone tower has kicked off a debate among health experts in Hyderabad on the impact of electromagnetic radiation on the health of people, animals and plants. Like their counterparts around the world, city doctors are also divided on whether or not cell phone towers cause cancers and other health issues.
Scientific data on the matter is inconclusive as no fullfledged study -covering a large section of people spread over a vast area -has been conducted. There are a number of research studies, including half a dozen from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but their data is limited to a small area and a small population.
Nevertheless, electromagnetic radiation is known to affect the health of people, animals, birds and even flora.There are also research reports that mobile phones cause more damage to an indi vidual's health than the mobile phone base station. In case of mobile phones the electromagnetic radiation is concentrated on a particular area like the head, chest and waist.
Even the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), a medical research body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the International Commission on NonIonizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) have not come out with conclusive evidence linking cell phone towers with cancers or other severe health issues including insomnia.However, they have fixed guidelines on the strength of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by base stations (mobile towers). Unlike mobile phone, the radiation exposure from mobile towers covers the whole body . But the impact depends on the height of the tower, direction of the waves, and the presence of multi-storied buildings and huge trees in the vicinity . Greenery absorbs radiation and reduces the impact. The duration of the expo sure is also important.
City doctors recommend people not expose themselves too much to radiation either from cell phone or cell phone towers. They also suggest that pregnant women and small children be kept away from gadgets that emit high doses of radiation even if they are nonionizing in nature.
City health experts call for a long term area-specific study covering a number of localities with cell phone towers to arrive at conclusive evidence on their ill effects. Unlike in the case of ionizing radiation (nuclear exposure), non-ionizing radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers take a long time to trigger health issues. It may take even 20 years for the problems to surface.
`Exposure Raises Tissue Temperature'
According to a document by International Commission on A Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNRP), since telecom base stations release high frequency radiation round the clock, people living near them get whole body exposure. "High frequency fields have the ability to penetrate the human body. The main effect of this exposure is a rise in temperature in the exposed tissue. The human body can adjust to small temperature increases in the same way as it does when undertaking exercise and performing sporting activities.Above a certain level, depending on the duration, high frequency exposure and the accompanying temperature rise, can provoke serious health effects, such as heatstroke and tissue damage," the ICNRP document warns.