Cellphone towers and mobile phone radiation norms in India

I started reading about whether society buildings should allow these telecommunication companies to install towers or not. Why are people opposing it? It causes health problems including cancer and many others. What benefits society will get? Annual fees which these companies will give back in return. So only this much information I had till now. So from this, I kept reading and start preparing my notes. I would like to share that with you all. 

I would like to mention that I am sharing notes of whatever information I found and I still don’t know whether cellphone towers really cause any problems yet. Here are my notes:


In December 2010, Prof. Girish Kumar from Electrical Engineering department at IIT Mumbai prepared a report which explains in detail about power density at various distances from the transmitting tower, radiation pattern of Antenna, case study of Usha Kiran building in Mumbai, radiation norms adopted in various countries, risk to children, DNA damage, effects on skin, cancers etc. And it closes with some case studies in other countries plus possible solutions to reduce the ill effects of cell tower radiation

At the time he submitted this report, India had adopted power density of 9.2 Watt/Square meter which was very high according to him and it should be 0.1 Watt/Square meter and eventually it should go to 0.01 Watt/Square meter. 

His report is can be found here: https://www.ee.iitb.ac.in/~mwave/GK-cell-tower-rad-report-DOT-Dec2010.pdf

In Jan 2012, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) comprising of 13 committee members submitted a report saying Prof. Girish Kumar’s report does not have conclusive evidence regarding adverse health effects by EMF radiations. They even stated that EMF radiation power levels in the vicinity of base stations of cellphone towers are below the prescribed limits, there should not be any cause of concern for adverse thermal health effects on human beings living closes them. 

Their report even says that Kumar’s observation that ICNIRP guidelines would result in absorption of microwave energy of 583.2 kW-sec in the human body and would amount to keeping the human body in a microwave oven for 19 minutes daily, is “incorrect, highly misplaced and misleading”.

Ref: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/radiation-from-cell-towers-in-india-not-harmful-panel/

In Sep 2012, Indian Govt. revised radiation norms, limiting reference levels of Electromagnetic Radiation from Mobile Towers to reduce to 1/10th of the limit prescribed by ICNIRP. So from that point onwards, the radiations limit were enforced to be 0.45 Watt/Square meter for 900 MHz frequency. The report prepared by Mr. Rakesh Bhatnagar, DoT, India, can be found here: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/climatechange/emf-1305/Documents/Presentations/s2part2p3-RKBhatnagar.pdf

Now there is a twist. Keep reading.

In December 2013, Mr. Repacholi, an expert from World Health Organization (WHO) said that ‘If you reduce the power of a base station, your mobile handset transmits more frequency to stay connected to the network. As the handset is closer to the body, it could cause some health hazard. The estimated EMF radiation a mobile handset transmits is 1,000 times higher than that of a base station. When India adopts 5G, it will have issues if it sticks to the current EMF standards.”

Ref: http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-s-mobile-tower-radiation-norms-absurd-says-who-113121300782_1.html

However, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) believes that for sure there is no harm at all by these towers. Their website has a detailed report that health problems due to Cell Tower are all myths. 

Ref: http://www.coai.com/Indian-Telecom-Infocentre/Mobility-and-Health

So basically if you decrease the power density from a cell tower, then mobile phones will emit more EMF to communicate properly with towers, will be frequent battery drainage and when India adopts new technology trends like 4G, cell towers would need more power density than 0.45. 

I would like to show my personal research here: In the USA, around my old residence, 208 towers are there and 800+ antennas are there within 9 km square radius. 

I just came across this site called http://antennasearch.com/ which upon entering your address gives a list of Antennas and Towers installed within 4 miles of radius. I entered my Sunnyvale address and got results as 208 towers and 814 Antennas found. 

The details they provide are for example like this: http://www.antennasearch.com/sitestart.asp?sourcepagename=antennachecktowerreview&getpagename=pgtowerdetail_fcc&cmdrequest=getpage&ipos=39®istration_number=1291872

Now in Mumbai, till Nov 2013, there were 4779 towers. Just compare the area of Mumbai and the number of towers it has. Towers in Mumbai metropolitan region are also 9,000. These look very less compared to what I gave example earlier in the USA. 

Ref: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Moving-away-from-DoTs-cell-tower-norms-will-hit-users-Private-cellular-operators-to-Maharashtra-govt/articleshow/25289627.cms

Considering the above notes, it looks like there may not be any health hazards at all. But there is a news in which India is again going to revise its radiation norms. In any case, if any society wants to allow cell tower than according to BMC:

– Only one tower should be allowed on every building

– Writing consent of 70% of occupants and every person on the topmost floor of the building

Ref: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Moving-away-from-DoTs-cell-tower-norms-will-hit-users-Private-cellular-operators-to-Maharashtra-govt/articleshow/25289627.cms

Some people will say “there is no link between mobile phone radiation and cancer”: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/no-link-between-mobile-phone-radiation-and-cancer-says-padma-awardee-doctor/

And some people will oppose it: http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-experts-slam-dr-siddhartha-mukherjee-s-comments-on-no-link-between-cell-phones-and-cancer-1981379

But decision is ours. 

Thanks for reading.

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