Mobile Tower Radiation: Health vs. Connectivity?

The government’s initiative to reduce the radiation levels highlights the possible health concerns for the general populace due to exposure to radiation. But it also begs the question whether the services would be hampered post-application.  

Ankita Mitra Aug 24th 2012 A-A+

Summary:

Considering the telecom industry and its application in our lives, the government’s initiative to reduce the radiation levels highlights the possible health concerns for the general populace due to exposure to radiation. But it also begs the question whether the services would be hampered post-application.  

The Indian government seems to be on a anti-radiation health drive. There have been directives recently to telecom companies regarding the new permissible levels of radiation for both, mobile towers as well as mobile handsets. 

The Government of India has ordered all mobile companies to reduce their tower radiation limits to one tenth of the currently permissible unit by September 1, or face consequences. Considering the telecom industry and its application in our lives, the government’s initiative to reduce the radiation levels highlights the possible health concerns for the general populace due to exposure to radiation. But it also begs the question whether services would be hampered post-application. 

On one hand technology makes life easier and facilitates seamless connection, and on the other, it brings together heath related issues. From heating up of body tissues to getting directly exposed to a high amount of radiation from mobile towers, this new telecom regulation hopes to keep it all in check. While almost 95 percent of the telecom companies voice that they are already adhering to the current limits, remaining five percent of telecom companies have been identified by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and ordered to get it under check by September 1. 

According to the previous rule set up by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the permissible radiation levels were 4,500 milli-watt per sqm but the new rule has brought it down to almost 450 milli-watt per sqm, which is one tenth of the earlier figure. 

Along with the reduction in radiation levels, the government has also directed the telecommunication companies to reduce the specific absorption rate (SAR). But after repeated requests by the manufacturers, this deadline for handsets has been postponed to September 2013. Post this, mobile phones having only 1.6W/kg of SAR value would be allowed in the market along with a brochure stating the precautions and risks.

A number of adverse health effects due to mobile tower radiations have been highlighted over time throughout the world, and has been a concern for the World Health Organization as well. However, mobile phone companies stand to deny it. Also, it hasn’t been medically established yet whether these towers can actually cause cancer. But it seems that increasing health hazards have prompted the government to take a stringent stand. Whether the new permissible limits ease health concerns of the people or lead to yet another problem of poor connectivity can only be seen after this regulation comes into effect.