TIMES CITY

THE TIMES OF INDIA, KOLKATA | MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2012

SPAT BETWEEN FOREST DEPARTMENT BOSSES HITS AFFORESTATION IN STATE | 4
DO YOU SUFFER

CID PROBE DRAWS A BLANK ON SAINTHIA TRAIN DISASTER | 5 THE WAY AHEAD
Install more cell towers with lesser transmitted power. When power transmitted is reduced, it will not require power hungry power amplifiers having lower efficiency Maximum cumulative power density be reduced with immediate effect to 0.01 watt/sq m and then to 0.001 watt/sq m in 1-2 years Transmitted power from each cell tower be immediately reduced to 1- 2 watt Repeaters or signal enhancers or boosters may have to be installed where signal is weak. Power transmitted by these not to exceed 0.1 watt Self certification by the operators be immediately abolished; third party certification introduced Radiation measurements must be monitored 24×7 so that operators do not increase the transmitted power during peak period Strict penalties on operators that violate norms as it causes serious health hazards to innocent people Reduced transmitted power may create signal problem to people living near the edge of circle. Public made aware this is being done to protect health

FROM THESE?
BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS
Multiple resonances leads to localized heating resulting in: Boils Drying up fluids around eyes, brain, joints, heart, abdomen Common complaints: Sleep disturbance Headache Lack of concentration Forgetfulness Depression Fatigue Dizziness Heart palpitation Visual disorders Cardiovascular problems Buzzing in the head Altered reflexes

Staying Connected Has Its Price. We Are Paying With Our Lives

THE LETHAL
Subhro Niyogi | TNN

Risk to children:
Children are more vulnerable as: Skulls are smaller and thinner. So, higher radiation absorption Increased rate of cell division: more susceptible to genetic damage Myelin sheath not developed: electrical brain wave activity Immune system not well developed: Less effective against fighting cancer growth

DID YOU KNOW?
Ten housewives in Shere-Punjab Colony in Andheri (East) Mumbai have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer. They all reside within 91 metre of cellphone tower Birds avoid cellphone towers because the higher volume and less weight leads to faster heating of their bodies Four cell towers near Gurgaon-Delhi Toll plaza: Output of most fruit bearing trees reduced by 95%

n the seventh floor office of Everest Building on Chowringhee, employees of Superintendent Co. of India have been frequently reporting sick for the past three to four years. They suffer nagging headaches, feel dizzy and are always tired. “Perhaps I am advancing in age,” wondered senior engineer M K Datta. “Is it bad vaastu?” asks surveyor Milan Adhikari about the office located in the southern part of the highrise offering a view of the city skyline in the south but through a maze of antennas fitted on a cellphone tower atop the roof of the adjoining five-storied office building. Beyond Manicktala along APC Road, the Seth family (pic above) has been afflicted with similar ailments. Ever since they shifted from the first to fourth floor, they’ve been ill. Parents Madhulika and Prabhakar are particularly worried about 4-year-old Rajiv and 8-yearold Sneha. The Class III Pratt Memorial student complains of headache every morning. “I feel drowsy in class and it’s difficult to concentrate,” said Sneha. Her brother, who kindergarten at INSIGHT studies in is irritable. The St James, family physician diagnosed it as sleep deficiency But the children are in bed by 9.30pm . and in the stillness of night, the only sound audible is the buzz from the roof, where the power room feeds a cellphone tower. What the staff on the seventh floor office in Everest Building or the family on the fourth floor of 142 B, APC Road are unaware of is the high electromagnetic radiation around them. At both places, the electromagnetic radiation detector (Detex-189) recorded radiation of over 10,000 micro watt/sq m or 0.01 watt/sq m, a level categorized extremely unsafe by Germany’s Bio Initiative Working Group 2007 that carried out extensive research on health effects of electromagnetic microwaves. Any radiation level between 100 and 1,000 micro watt is of severe concern and that above 1,000 micro watt is of extreme concern. Constant exposure to such levels will trigger health issues in 2 to 3 years. “Radiation affects areas of the body where fluid movement is less, like eyes, brain, joints, heart and abdomen. Localized heating in the body causes boils, drying up of fluids around eyes, brain, joints, heart and abdomen. There can be neuro-psychiatric problems like headache, memory loss,

O

NETWORK

No ground-based and roof-based towers within 50 metre from schools or hospitals. Existing towers be relocated within a year set by International Convention for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection as a safe limit. What it does not mention is that the norm is for exposure to radiation for 6 minutes a day . “Also, for every 6-minute exposure, there is a 23-hour-54-minute cooling period. When exposure is for 24 hours, there is no time for the body to cool. Plain logic says it will cause immense harm,” pointed out IIT Bombay professor Girish Kumar, who has been studying effects of non-ionizing radiation for a decade. People living within 50 to 300 m of a cell tower antenna are more prone to ill effects of electromagnetic radiation. With 5,000-odd antennas in the city lakhs of people are at high risk. , Kumar, along with IIT-Kharagpur professors Sujoy K Guha and Sudarsan Neogi, had done a pilot study commissioned by the state environment department. At six of the seven tower sites where readings were taken, the figure was over 10,000 micro watt. Though environment minister Sudarshan Ghosh Dastidar promised more action, no steps have been taken thereafter. Yet, case studies in Mumbai sent alarm bells ringing there. In Usha Kiran building on Carmichael Road, situated opposite Vijay Apartments that has cellphone towers on its terrace, six cancer cases were reported from 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th floors apartments that face the towers. The finding has led to an outcry with landlords even refusing to renew contracts for cell towers. The environment directorate in Chennai and civic body in Patna have woken up to the threat. Last week, a division bench of Ra-

Cell tower transmit frequencies consist of several bands
CDMA: GSM900: GSM1800: 3G: 869 to 890 MHz 935 to 960 MHz 1810 to 1880 MHz 2110 to 2170 MHz

TAKE CARE
To be safe for 100 years, power density must be less than 100 micro watt/sq m To be safe for 10 years, power density must be less than 1,000 micro watt/sq m To be safe for 1 year, power density must be less than 10,000 micro watt/sq m
nausea, dizziness, tremors, muscle spasms, numbness, altered reflexes, muscle and joint paint, leg/foot pain, depression, and sleep disturbance,” says Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) director Jaydip Biswas. In Kolkata, most cell sites emit radiation of nearly 100 watts. The government argues it has adopted the guideline of 9.2 watt/sq m

jasthan high court issued a showcause notice to 13 cellular firms besides central and state authorities on the issue of health hazards being caused by high frequency radiations emitted by mobile towers. The court order followed a PIL filed by a retired judge of Rajasthan HC, Justice I S Israni, and others. Jadavpur University electronics department reader Sudhabindu Roy, who has done a PhD on the subject from IIT Bombay, says there is an urgent need to map microwave radiation hazard in the city. “The government should also set up a non-ionizing radiation hazard board,” he suggests. Already burdened with more patients than it can deal with, CNCI’s Biswas worries that when cancer cases from prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation begin to pour in three to four years from now, it may assume catastrophic proportions. “One can take precautions about minimizing cellphone use. But how does one tackle electromagnetic radiation from cell sites unless there is a strict monitoring of the cellphone companies and norms are made more stringent, radiation levels are monitored and

the public becomes aware of the hazard?” says Biswas. Cellphone towers sprout in the city without following any rules. Neither KMC, nor PCB or any other government department is aware of the number of cell sites in Kolkata. And there is no mechanism to monitor the intensity of radiation from the towers. “With agencies paying Rs 50,000-100,000 a month as rent for installing cell towers, people are easily tempted. Though TRAI limits radiation to a level that it contends to be safe, it is often violated,” says Tapas Das, a crusader against violation by cellphone towers. According to Kumar, standards adopted by various countries show that telecom coverage is possible at much lower levels. “We must reduce transmitted power at once. The coverage area will shrink, requiring companies to put up more towers or install repeaters. The companies are aware of the health risk, but are turning a blind eye because acknowledging the problem will mean huge additional investments,” the IIT Bombay professor said. Sources in the telecom industry say turning down the power will trigger coverage problems. “Seamless coverage will be affected and call drops will go up. Indoor reception will be poor. All this has to be tackled by installing over 1,000 repeaters in a city like Kolkata with each costing Rs 15-25 lakh,” a senior official of a leading telecom firm argued. The choice, hence, is between seamless coverage and longer life. “Human lives are at stake. Nothing will happen unless we all make a noise. Only then can tougher norms come into place,” he said.

Towers in residential areas be allowed only in consultation with resident welfare associations and not bilateral negotiations between telecom firms and individual property owners Installation of base station antennas in lanes narrower than 7 metre be avoided in order to reduce the risk caused by earthquake and wind-related disasters Antennas be mounted on or above 30 metre from ground where power of transmitting antenna is 10 watt or above. Micro and Pico cell antennas mounted inside the building should not exceed 0.1 watt Main beam of antenna not in direction of residential/office buildings or areas where there is large concentration of people, animals, birds, trees Round-the-clock monitoring of cell tower radiation be done at various places. (Radiation from cell tower varies considerably over a day. It is maximum during peak hours and minimum at night) Systematic epidemology studies Notify hotlines or email-IDs where people can call or write their health problems associated with cell phone/tower radiation Install warning sign boards near cell towers to warn people of the danger of radiation

Children and teens more vulnerable to radiation
Aranya Roy Chowdhury

Frequency of Electro-Hypersensitivity Symptoms Based On Distance to Cellphone Base Station

A cellphone radiation detector shows high alert near Kalighat fire station
Subhro Niyogi | TNN

R

esearch shows children are more vulnerable to cellphone/tower radiation as their immune system is not as well developed as adults. Pregnant woman and foetuses are vulnerable because radio frequency (RF) radiations continuously react with the developing embryo and increasing cells. Microwave radiation can damage the placental barrier. Studies confirm that cellphone radiation can drastically affect male fertility, decreasing semen quality and sperm count. Studies have found 30% sperm decrease in intensive mobile phone users, in addition to damage of sperms. Cellphone frequencies can also lead to damaged DNA, leading to tumours and cancer. DNA damage in brain cells can affect neurological functions and also possibly lead to neurodegenerative diseases. RF exposure from mobile phones and cellular phone base antennas can also affect patients carrying a pacemaker, im-

plantable cardiovascular defibrillators (ICDs) and impulse generators. The signals generated by cellphones cause electromagnetic interference with the device and interfere with its proper functioning. Non-thermal effects of RF radiation accumulate over time and the risks are more pronounced after several years of exposure. Prolonged or chronic exposures is harmful even at low intensities. Radiation from cell towers and mobile phones affects human skin. The radiation degrades the immune system and stimulates various allergic and inflammatory responses, causing itch and pain. The radiation emitted by cellphones can damage delicate workings of the inner ear and long-term intensive cellphone use for more than four years and for periods longer than 30 minutes in a day are at a higher risk of developing hearing loss. Today more and more people between , 18 and 25 years are suffering from hearing loss, which doctors say is due to excessive use of cellphones and other gadgets. Any-

one who spends two to three hours on the cellphone every day runs the risk of partial deafness over three to five years. Frequent cellphone use can also damage the visual system and cause tumour of the eye. Exposure to EMR reduces melatonin levels in humans. Melatonin, a vital nat-

ural neuro-hormone is a powerful antioxidant, antidepressant and immune system enhancer that regulates our circadian rhythm. At night, melatonin levels rise. Studies with animals show a reduction in melatonin levels following radiofrequency radiation exposure from cell phones

and cell sites. Turning off the transmitters resulted in a significant increased melatonin levels within a few days. Lack of melatonin leads to sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, depression, cardiac, reproductive and neurological diseases and mortality. Reduced mela-

tonin is also associated with increased DNA damage and increased risk of cancer, arthritis, seasonally affective disorder (SAD), schizophrenia, increased eye stress, renal impairment, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and increased risk of childhood leukemia. Electromagnetic fields have been shown to affect the brain physiology Use of cell. phones before bed delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches, confusion and depression. The findings are especially alarming for children and teenagers, causing mood and personality changes, depression, lack of concentration and poor academic performance. Exposure to electromagnetic fields has shown to be in connection with Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease and Parkinson’s disease. Severe reactions include seizures, paralysis, psychosis and stroke. Heavy use of mobile phones can cause cancer. Use of mobile phones for over 10 years give a consistent pattern of increased risk for brain cancer (glioma and acoustic neuroma). Children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer as their brain is not fully developed. It is possible that today’s young people may suffer an ‘epidemic’ of the disease in later life. Besides increase in brain tumour and acoustic neuroma, there is an increased risk of several other types of cancers following prolonged exposure to mobile phone/tower radiation, such as, salivary gland tumours, uveal melanoma, lymphoma, facial nerve tumours, skin, blood, testicular and breast cancer. Interphone study in May 2010 has also found a ‘significantly increased risk’ of some brain tumours for heavy users of mobile phones over 20 minutes per day) for a period of 10 years or more. This is later substantiated by International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC), part of WHO (World Health Organization) in May 2011.

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