New Delhi, Sep 30: There is no doubt that while on one hand cellphones have made our lives way easier by bringing the world on our fingertips, but lack of knowledge regarding proper usage of mobile handsets in India and worse, the dangerous electromagnetic radiation emitted from the mobile towers is much more than set international standard.
As a result, hundreds of people are paying the price of this 'technical advancement' every year. Findings of a new study point towards something even more sinister. According to the latest research, using cellphones for more than half an hour daily can double the risk of brain tumour in the next 10 years.
The crusader initiating a fight against radiation, Dr Girish Kumar -- professor in the department of Electrical Engineering of IIT Mumbai -- told UNI, 'I recently interacted with many renowned ENT specialists from different parts of the country and I have reached the conclusion that the cases of brain tumours and hearing loss are on the rise. All the contacted specialists have agreed to one common fact: that number of brain tumours and hearing loss cases are increasing day by day. I have published this report in my magazine."
The professor who has been working on hazards of microwave radiation for more than a decade, says, 'In my recent survey, most of the people have agreed to the fact that after talking on their cellphones for a longer duration of time they feel heat sensation in their ears. According to the reports, if we use cellphone for 20 to 30 minutes continuously, the radiations penetrate our body and the blood in our earlobes gets heated due to excessive radiation and heat emitted from cellphones. After that our blood temperature rise by one degree centigrade and thus our body temperature reaches 100.2 Fahrenheit. Apart from this, talking on the cellphone for more than half an hour daily can lead to a persistent headache issue and further final stage of brain tumour comes to the fore."
The former research associate in the Electrical Engineering Department, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada says, "we are extremely addicted to our cellphones and there are some serious repercussions of this habit. To make matters worse, we are constantly living under the threat of mobile towers and Wi-Fi which is the main reason behind the rise in brain tumour and other serious diseases. The number of cancer cases in India have been on the rise since 2003."
He further adds that a team of international scientists had conducted an 'inter-phone study' in which they had studied 5,117 cases of brain tumour. The final report of the study had come out in 2012 which concluded that talking on cellphones within the set limit of four minutes a day did not cause any trouble but spending 30 minutes or more talking can potentially double the risk of cancer after 10 years.
'We are addicted to cellphones and due to radiation from mobiles, Wi-Fi and cell tower, we are 24x7 exposed to dangerous electromagnetic radiation. Number of cancer cases are on increase since the year 2003,'he adds.
A team of international scientists conducted an inter phone study on 5,117 cases of brain tumours in 2000 and found that cellphone usage exceeding half hour upped our chances of developing cancer 100 per cent. It is on the basis of these findings that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared electromagnetic radiation as ‘possible carcinogenic (cancerous) 2 B'.
Many European countries, including France and Spain, have banned the use of cellphones for children below the age of 12 years whereas in India we treat these phones as toys and hand them out to even toddlers. A team of international scientists has submitted a report that concluded that radiation has a dangerous effect on the tender brain membrane of infants. In fact, it is even more dangerous for the baby in mother’s womb.
Author of three books, Prof Kumar states, 'If the cellphone is put in the pocket of our trouser pants, the chances of becoming impotent become very high for both men and women. Case in point is how more youth are increasingly opting for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The cell towers are emitting radiation 24 hours a day and people living in close proximity complain of irritation, loss of memory and cognitive powers, cancer, Alzheimers, impotency, high BP and depression.'
The professor who has written more than 270 papers in the international and national journals and hass also filed five patents, stresssd that cellphone users must comply with guidelines which warn of use it from distance. The cellphone was introduced in 1985 and arrived in India exactly after ten years in 1995, and it could be said for mobile phones that “it came, it saw and it conquered."
He explains how in 2003 when incoming calls became free of cost and later the call rate became Re one a minute and mobile data could be accessed at dirt cheap rates, usage of mobile and other devices exploded.
Dr Kumar, who is also an active social activist and has written several reports and given presentations at various forums on the topic related to cellphones and tower radiation hazards and their solutions, informs,'we are completely trapped in the invisible spectrum. We were already under high radiation after the cellphone data became cheap and thanks to free access to Wi-Fi at various places, the situation has gone worse. A cellphone which was ideally meant to be used only in case of an emergency, is now being used for unlimited talking (remember, unlimited talk time plans?) and small kids have been given laptops, tablets and mobile phones to play with.'
Excess use of data, mushrooming of cell towers and the process of making towers more powerful, it's hard to imagine the condition of our children and youth in the next 10 years. Chairman of 'Wilcom Technologies Pvt Ltd', Prof Kumar informed, 'gradually we are heading towards the 'cursed dawn' where our children will be facing difficulty in becoming parents and the coming generations might never become grandparents.'
He also questions that by taking precautions while using mobile phones and other devices, we might be able to save ourselves from the radiation of cellphones but what about the radiation of cell tower which is far more injurious to health? Pointing out the dos and don’ts we must follow while using cellphones, he says that we must use a mobile phone that has specific absorption rate value (SAR) less than 1.66W/kg. As a rule of thumb, the lower the SAR value, the better it is.
This happens because SAR is the direct measure of radiations, hence a lower SAR value should always be preferred. In order to know the SAR value of your device, simply type *#07# and dial. We must use handsfree and keep the phone on speaker mode if possible. It must be kept in mind that even while taking the above-mentioned precautions, the device should lay on a table or kept inside a bag, otherwise the radiations could penetrate our body through our hands. Additionally, the Wi-Fi set should be kept at an isolated place or somewhere in our home where we spend less time.
It is advisable to switch off the WiFi whenever it is not in use. While most of us are in the habit of snoozing off with our mobile phones in our hands or under the pillow, it must be noted that they should be kept at least at one hand distance while sleeping. Mobile data should be turned off while going out and it is even better to keep the phone on flight mode. One must not use cellphones in vehicles, lifts or when the battery is less because, in these circumstances, mobile phones emit even more radiation than usual. Every six seconds your cellphone sends one pulse to the tower signalling its location. It basically means that cellphones work non-stop. While typing the message we are not in a direct contact with radiation but when we hit the button, radiation penetrates through our fingers.
Hence, handsets must be kept on the table while pressing send. Last but not least, when the cellphone rings -- due to call or messages --the radiation is much more powerful as the wave passes through several towers and switchboard. In this case, one should not immediately put the cellphone to the ear but must wait for a few seconds after pressing the green button, and then say “hello” to the “radiation”, the professor chuckles.
He avers that by making awareness and using safety norms, cellphone radiation could be controlled to some extent but the “tale of towers” is terrifying. In our country, we have implemented the standard of radiation of towers at our own convenience and simply ignored the norms of International commission on non-ionising radiation protection which is recommended by the United Nations itself. The range of radiation exposure suggested by the norms is six-minute per day, but we have applied the same for one hour.
On September 1, 2012, the range of radiation was fixed for 450 milliwatts per square metre which are valued for one hour. Even if the range of radiation is one milliwatt per square metre in our houses, several health hazards could start manifesting within five years.
There is more radiation in the main beam of an antenna and because of this, the periphery of 100 to 300 metres is also not safe from radiation. However, this applies to towers with just one antenna, which is a rare sight these days. Nowadays, towers carry at least two to ten antenna.
He explains, “I have toured Delhi for about 30 times since 2010 and have submitted reports of health hazards related to cellphone and cell tower to various departments and committees including the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). My constant endeavours were successful to some extent as in 2012 the radiation range was reduced by one-tenth of the earlier value, meaning it was now 450 milliwatts per square metre from 4050 milliwatts per square metre and was permissible only for an hour.
Expressing dismay, Dr Kumar says, “It was in December 2014 that I had submitted my presentation on the radiation to the concerned authority and after that my appointment is not being fixed with any of the entities dealing with radiation hazards.
'International scientists say that to remain safe during our whole an of life cellphone tower radiation should be within the range of 0.1 milliwatts per square meter, whereas our demand is that the govt must reduce the radiation range of 450 to 10 milliwatt per square mette. In the urban areas of America, one antenna has the capacity of one watt whereas in India a single antenna has the capacity of 20 watts. I have sent a report to the government in which I have suggested solutions to the hazards of radiation.
“Right now, there are around five to six lakh cell towers in India. First of all, the capacity of antennas should be reduced to one watt and after that almost six lakh new towers should be installed. One antenna costs around Rs 20 lakh but keeping the health of citizen’s in mind, money has to be spent without a second thought. The Supreme Court of India understands the hazards of radiation very well, this is why it has accepted the pleas of film star Juhi Chawla and several others in this regard. It will hear their case in November,' explains Dr Kumar.
'Cellphone has not just wreaked havoc on our health, but it has also marred the very social fabric. if I ever happen to see anyone without cellphones in their hands, I appreciate them."
The professor sums up, 'This has been said a lot of times on different platforms that there are no health hazards from the cellphone tower but the vanishing of sparrows, butterflies and bees -- who are on the verge of extinction -- is the living proof of the adverse effect of radiation. It is affecting the tree and plants, equally."
Sharing an eye-opening anecdote he says, “During my survey, I met one the owner of a farmhouse in Gurugram. He shared an appalling story. The owner said that before the installation of cellphone tower the lemon tree right in front of the antenna used to bear almost a hundred lemons, but now it bears only two lemons.”
A pensive Dr Kumar warns that today we are surrounded with the radiation of cellphones, cell towers, Wi-Fi, microwave oven, computers, and laptops but then it is the younger generation which is more prone to the radiation as it has completely gone ‘online'. (UNI)