Toshniwal Enterprises: No Conclusive Evidence of Health Hazards due to Electromagnetic Radiations from Mobile Base Stations or Handsets

Talking about the misconceptions regarding mobile radiation, Rajesh Toshniwal, founder & CEO of Toshniwal Enterprises Controls, says compromising on quality is a strict no for service providers



What is the role of T&M companies in managing electromagnetic radiations from mobile phone towers, and complying with DoT norms?



The telecom industry in India is experiencing a robust growth having subscriber base of 791.38 million with the addition of 20.2 million subscribers in February 2011. According to TRAI, the wireless user base grew by 2.62 percent, from 771.18 million and the overall tele-density reached 69.29 percent. Test & Measurement companies have a very important role to play in helping in managing the radiation from the telecom towers as per DoT norms, viz. testing of radiation standards, quality and level of radiations.



What are some of the main concerns towards the hazardous effects of electromagnetic radiation on the end users?



There is a widespread misconception among the general public that cellular towers and mobile phones are potential health hazards. This has often led to cases, as well as instances where cellular mobile operators are not allowed to put up towers, thus impacting service quality and growth. Extensive research studies, which have been conducted globally, have communicated that there is no conclusive evidence of any health hazard due to electromagnetic radiations emitted from mobile base stations or mobile handsets. TRAI along with other central agencies, has proposed that the radiation exposure be limited to be 9.2 watts per square meter in India.



What are some of the main misconceptions regarding exposure to mobile towers?



It is often alleged that the use of mobile phones increases the cause of brain cancer, despite there being absolutely no evidence of such adverse health impact. It has also been alleged that mobile phones are powerful enough to cook your brain. There is a lack of awareness among the general public that the output of mobile phones is less than 1 Watt and is in fact far lower than the emission levels that emanate from the microwave or even the radio. The average level of RF exposure from the base station is only 0.002%,  i.e. 50,000 times lower than the levels laid down in the recommended guidelines; and the RF radiations emitted by Mobile Base Station lie in the non-ionizing part of the electromagnetic spectrum and thus do not have enough energy to cause any genetic damage.



Do you believe that in the quest to provide the best network quality and a wide bouquet of services, Indian operators are violating safety norms for towers?



We have not come across any such incidents and we see no reason to believe in them.



How do Electromagnetic radiation testing and other measures help to combat radiation hazards?



Electromagnetic radiation testing and other measures help to identify the radiation level, to   compare with the thresh hold value as per the DoT norms and to take necessary action to maintain the same.



What are some of the global best practices in other emerging markets?



The global best practice is governed by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines. Recently the ICNIRP adopted guidelines on limits of EMF exposure for frequencies up to 300 GHz.1. When all the scientific literature was reviewed, the only adverse effects on humans that were fully verified by a stringent evaluation were short term, immediate health consequences such as stimulation of peripheral nerves and muscles, functional changes in the nervous system and other tissues, shocks and burns caused by touching conducting objects, and changes in behavior caused by elevated tissue temperatures. There are also data for chronic low level exposure that indicate that there may also be other health effects.



What are some of the challenges that service providers are facing in managing the radiation level in India?



With continuously decreasing ARPU and low cost of operation, the service providers are under pressure to cut costs. In addition to that, compromising on quality of service is a strict no. Besides that the lack of clear understanding has also added to the worry of the service providers.



By Beryl M

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