1. Advantages and disadvantages of cell phone technology
Cell phone technology has revolutionized the telecommunication scenario in India. Due to itsseveral advantages, cell phone technology has grown exponentially in the last decade.Currently, there are more than50 crore cell phoneusers and nearly4.4 lakh cell phone towers
to meet the communication demand. The numbers of cell phones and cell towers are increasingwithout giving due respect to its disadvantages. All over the world, people have been debatingabout associated health risk due to radiation from cell phone and cell tower. Radiation effectsare divided into thermal and non-thermal effects. Thermal effects are similar to that of cooking inthe microwave oven. Non-thermal effects are not well defined but it has been reported that non-thermal effects are 3 to 4 times more harmful than thermal effects.Interphone study in 2010 mentions that excessive use of mobile phones has doubled toquadrupled brain tumor risk. However, they claim that for an average user, increase in cancercases is not significant but they have taken an average user as a person who uses cell phonefor 2 hours/month. In India, many people use cell phones for 1 to 2 hours per day. Re-evaluationof the Interphone study by a group of eminent scientist has found that the risk of affected peopleis significantly higher than reported.A base station and its transmitting power are designed in such a way that mobile phoneshould be able to transmit and receive enough signal for proper communication up to a fewkilometers. Majority of these towers are mounted near the residential and office buildings toprovide good mobile phone coverage to the users. These cell towers transmit radiation 24x7, so
people living within 10’s of meters from the tower will receive 10,000 to 10,000,000 times
stronger signal than required for mobile communication. In India, crores of people reside withinthese high radiation zones.
2) Radiation norms adopted in different countries
In India, we have adopted radiation norms given by ICNIRP guidelines of 1998 for safe powerdensity of f/200, where frequency (f) is in MHz Hence, for GSM900 transmitting band (935-960MHz), power density is 4.7W/m2 and for GSM1800 transmitting band (1810-1880 MHz), it is9.2W/m2.The ICNIRP guidelines clearly state that for simultaneous exposure to multiple frequencyfields, the sum of all the radiation must be taken into consideration. However, in India, we haveapplied this limit to individual carrier, so the radiation level exceeds by several times than evenprescribed by ICNIRP guidelines, depending upon the total number of transmitters in that areaSome of the people (especially older people, house wives, small children) living near the towersare exposed to this radiation 24 hours a day. Unfortunately,
ICNIRP has considered only the thermal effects of radiation
, where as scientist all over the world have found non thermal effectsof these radiations to have significant health effects and these non-thermal health effects occursat levels much below these norms.