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Excessive Use Of Smart Phone Putting Children's Health At Risk
Pakistan Created: 3 Dec 2019
Excessive use of smartphone is dangerous for children's health and may cause cancer, tumours such as glioma and acoustic neuroma as brain tissue of children absorbed about two times more microwave radiations than that of adults and the bone marrow of children soak up 10 times more radiation.

Talking to APP, Dr Ikram ul Haq said low intelligence quotient and improper mental growth in children, sleep deprivation, brain tumours and psychiatric diseases were caused by excessive use of phones.

He said excessive use of phones had an adverse effect on our body, especially on the growing skulls of children, toddlers and teenagers and it could trigger the development of brain cancer in future.

He said cell phones have non-ionising radiations. Many researches proved that children and unborn babies do face a greater risk for bodily damage that resulted from microwave radiations given off by wireless devices.

The rate of microwave radiations absorption was higher in children than adults because their brain tissues were more absorbent, their skulls are thinner and their relative size was smaller, he added.

When we approached another expert to know about the preventive measures, Dr Babar Nadeem, said although wireless devices were now part of our everyday life, but they could be used in a manner that is safe enough.

He said most important point was the distance, holding a cell phone few inches away from our ear would reduce the risk by 1,000 times.

Dr Nadeem said just like Belgium, France, Germany and other technologically sophisticated governments, our government should also pass laws that ensure issuing of warnings about children's use of wireless devices.

He said the best place to keep a cell phone was in a pouch, purse, bag or a backpack.

Moreover, these devices should be kept away from a pregnant woman's abdomen. If a woman was a mother then she should not use a cell phone while breastfeeding or nursing.

Children and teenagers needed to know how to use mobile phones and wireless devices safely, he said, cell phones should not be permitted in children's bedrooms at all.

Good health was above wealth, but a majority of people undermine their personal health and become more careless about their children's mental and physical state.
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Source: UrduPoint, Zeeshan Aziz, 03 Dec 2019

Your child’s smartphone is doing him more harm than good
Pakistan Created: 14 Jan 2019
The potential harm is from microwave radiations given off by cell phones and other wireless devices, particularly for unborn babies.

Children’s growing minds and bodies make them uniquely vulnerable to the effects of the environment around them, including all types of radiations generated by mobile phones, iPads, tablets, smartphones and all other kinds of wireless devices. Because in the new era, technology is being adopted by children at younger ages than ever before.

There are different types of radiations generated by mobile phones and wireless devices, microwave radiations, ionising and non-ionising radiations. Ionising radiation for example X-rays, radon, ultra violet rays in sunlight all are high frequency and high energy. Non-ionising is low frequency and low energy radiation. Cell phones have non-ionising radiations. Mobile phones send radio frequency waves from its transmitting unit or antenna to nearby cell towers. When we make or receive a call, text, or use data, our phone receives radio frequency waves to its antenna from cell towers.

The potential harm is from microwave radiations given off by cell phones and other wireless devices, particularly for children and unborn babies. Many researches proved that children and unborn babies do face a greater risk for bodily damage that results from microwave radiations given off by wireless devices. The rate of microwave radiations absorption is higher in children than adults because their brain tissues are more absorbent, their skulls are thinner and their relative size is smaller. Foetuses are particularly more vulnerable, because microwave radiations exposure can lead to degeneration of the protective sheath that surrounds brain neurons.

The brain tissue of children absorbs two times more microwave radiations than that of adults and the bone marrow of children absorbs 10 times more microwave radiations than that of adults. Belgium, France, Germany and other technologically sophisticated governments are passing laws or issuing warnings about children’s use of wireless devices

According to a recent research, the brain tissue of children absorbed about two times more microwave radiations than that of adults and other studies have reported that the bone marrow of children absorbs 10 times more microwave radiations than that of adults. Belgium, France, Germany and other technologically sophisticated governments are passing laws or issuing warnings about children’s use of wireless devices. They also legislated that smartphone makers specify the minimum distance from the body that their products must be kept so that legal limits for exposure to microwave radiations are not exceeded. For iPads, laptop computers and tablets, the minimum distance from the device to body is 20 centimetres.

There are many potential health risks to mental and physical well-being related to the overuse of cell phones, especially low IQ and improper mental growth in children, sleep deprivation, brain tumours and psychiatric diseases are hot-button issues. I admit still that studies related to radiations generated by mobile phones have been inconsistent and results have been conflicting. These wireless devices are now part of our everyday life, but they can be used in a manner that is safe enough? The most important point is the distance, holding a cell phone few inches away from our ear provides a 1,000 times reduction in risk.

Unless a cell phone is turned off, it’s always radiating, so when not in use, it shouldn’t be kept on the body. The best place to keep a cell phone is somewhere like a pouch, purse, bag or a backpack. These devices should be kept away from a pregnant woman’s abdomen and a mother should not use a cell phone while breastfeeding and nursing and baby monitors should not be placed in an infant’s crib. Children and teenagers need to know how to use mobile phones and wireless devices safely. Cell phones should not be permitted in children’s bedrooms at all.

Can cell phones cause cancer? In fact, there are solid grounds to believe it really is so. The cause for that is radiofrequency of electromagnetic fields given off by wireless and mobile devices. They have an adverse effect on our body, especially on the growing skulls of children, toddlers and teenagers, so it can trigger the development of brain cancer in future. According to a recent research conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, excessive use of mobile phones may lead to the formation of such brain tumours as glioma and acoustic neuroma. First and foremost, this is an issue for those adults and children who are virtually glued to their cell phones.

The Pew Research Centre reported that 75 percent of preteens and early teens keep their cell phones in their front pockets all day long, which is way harmful for their reproductive health. Boys should not keep their cell phone in their front pockets. There is a potential harm to sperms, and girls should not place their cell phones in their upper undergarment. This recommendation was based on a case study of four young women with a history of keeping their cell phones in or near their upper undergarment and who developed breast cancer.

It’s obvious, that more radiations are absorbed with more hours of use, so children should be taught to use their mobile phone as little as possible. Landlines, Skype and computer phone services when connected to the Internet with a cable, don’t give off radiations, so parents should encourage their children to use those. Moreover, WiFi routers at home should be placed away from where people, particularly children, spend most of their time.

Good health is above wealth, but a majority of us undermine their personal health and become more careless about their children’s mental and physical state, caused by excessive usage of cell phones. A recent survey found that 92 percent of world population have mobile phones today. A total of 31 percent of them admit they never turn off their mobile phones. More than 90 percent of parents provide their children cell phones, so they can easily keep in touch whenever they want to. All of this gives sufficient ground to talk about cell phone addiction, especially about the possible dangers of cell phones on children’s health.

Cell phone overuse has many serious effects on children’s health primarily and on adult’s health generally. We strive to be constantly connected and available. This makes us feel tired, nervous and absent-minded. We hardly realise that a cause for our tiredness and fatigue is hidden in our pocket. It’s high time to determine some more about the negative influence of mobile phones and other wireless technologies.

From time to time, many children and some adults have a feeling that their cell phone is vibrating in their pockets when actually it’s not. They check it immediately and see that it was a false alarm. This situation is called a Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome. A study done by Dr Michelle Drouin found that 89 percent of teenagers had experienced this type of sensation.

This especially relates to the teenagers and undergraduates having a social media addiction. They are more anxious and nervous. Missing another text message feels like a real tragedy to them.

When texting someone or reading an article on the Internet, we all have to stare at a small-sized screen of our cell phone. That can put a lot of strain on the child’s eyes as they can dry out and hurt when blinking. Eventually, this may result in visual deterioration.

To maintain a clear sight, they need to keep the device at least 12 to 16 inches away from the face. When talking about cell phones and health, we cannot ignore their influence on sleeping habits. Most of us and some of our children even get used to setting the alarm and put a cell phone somewhere not far from the head or even under their pillow. In fact, it’s a bad idea.

As we’ve mentioned before, microwave radiation transmitted by a cell phone is harmful to a brain specially a child’s brain. Having a mobile device at hand can also end with insomnia in children. They’ll feel tempted to check it at night. They won’t be able to sleep properly because of its vibrating and beeping. It can cause sleep deprivation, which can lead to serious mental health problems in children less than 19 years of age.

A healthy spine is one of the key factors of well-being during growth. When our children slouch over a cell phone for endless hours, they ruin their neck and back muscles. So, no wonder they feel a nagging pain in these parts of their bodies. But wait, there’s more.

Pain, strain and aching neck muscles can cause a severe headache to make things worse. So eventually, they’ll feel like a wreck. To keep our children’s health, it’s time to decide, that we should not allow them to overuse cell phones and other wireless devices.

The writer is a qualified doctor currently practising in Saudi Arabia. He can be reached at drfaisalkhanarticle {-at-}
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Source: Daily Times, Dr Faisal Khan, 12 Jan 2019

Effect of radio waves
Pakistan Created: 1 Mar 2014
The effect of mobile electromagnetic radiation on human health is the subject of new interest and study. Mobile or cellular phones are now an essential part of modern telecommunications. Radiation is energy and we are being exposed to radiation from numeral sources. It occurs when unstable nuclei of atoms decay and release particles.

With the use of astonishing increase in mobile phones research findings provide at least some information concerning how specific types may sway biological tissue, including that of the brain. However, the sharp cell phone exposure affects the human brain is unclear. As human brain is very sensitive so these waves may affects brain function in humans.

Researchers typically differentiate between the effects of ionizing radiation (such as far-ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma ray) and non ionizing radiation (including visible light, microwave and radio). The ionizing variety may be undesirable because it can cause DNA damage and mutations, thus we should all limit our exposure to its sources—radioactive materials and solar radiation among them. However, given modern technology, non ionizing radiation from power lines, personal wireless devices, cell phone towers and other sources is practically unavoidable. Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) surround home appliances as well as high-voltage electrical transmission lines and transformers.

When talking on a cell phone, a transmitter takes the sound of your voice and encodes it onto a continuous sine wave. These waves radiate from the antenna and fluctuate evenly through space. Sine waves are measured in terms of frequency. Once the encoded sound has been placed on the sine wave, the transmitter sends the signal to the antenna, which then sends the signal out. While talking on a cell phone, most users put the phone alongside the head. In this position, there is a more chance that some of the radiation will be immersed by human tissue.
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Source: PakObserver, Mahin Fatima, Effect of radio waves

Cases of neurosurgical problems on the rise
Pakistan Created: 7 Aug 2012
The number of cases with neurosurgical problems, including brain and spinal tumours, is on the rise, at least for the last one decade, putting a huge financial burden on healthcare facilities and families having patients with neurological disorders.

Talking to ‘The News,’ professor of neurosurgery and consultant neurosurgeon at the Quaid-i-Azam International Hospital Dr. Aslan Javed Munir said that it is alarming that the number of cases with neurological problems, including patients with complaints of backache, neck ache and slipped discs along with brain and spinal tumours, has been on the rise in Pakistan as well as across the globe.

“Nearly 10 years back, we rarely received patients requiring neurosurgical procedures but now the influx of patients with neurosurgical problems has increased to a great extent,” said Colonel (r) Dr. Aslan Javed Munir, former head of the Department of Neurosurgery at CMH, Rawalpindi.

He added that the cases of neurosurgical problems, right from neurosurgical trauma including head and spinal injuries to tumours, have increased. “The traumas increased mainly because of increase in road traffic accidents and general violence while routine spinal problems have also been on the rise because of unhealthy lifestyles.” He explained that every four out of five adults are having routine neurological disorders including back or neck pains during some part of their life, which is because of unhealthy life styles including unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, lack of exercise and stress. Odd working hours, sitting postures, watching TV and long hours working on computers are contributing a lot in increase in number of patients, said Dr. Aslan.

It is important that a number of health experts working at the allied hospitals do admit that none of the allied hospitals including Holy Family Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital is capable of treating ideally the patients with neurosurgical trauma or brain and spinal tumours because of lack of diagnostic and surgical equipment and staff required for the purpose.

The neurosurgical procedures are much expensive and almost unaffordable for a large proportion of population across Pakistan. There is a need of developing centres that can provide free of cost treatment to poor and needy patients requiring neurosurgical procedures, said Dr. Aslan while responding to a query.

He said that he is working on a plan of conducting at least every 10th surgery free of cost to accommodate poor patients. “I have also a desire to develop a centre to provide free of cost treatment facility to poor patients requiring surgeries in result of trauma or neurological disorders yet it needs a huge budget,” said Dr. Aslan.

To a query, he said that apart from genetic factors, exposure to electromagnetic radiations mainly by living under high tension cables, use of mobile phones, impurities through petrochemical industries, X-ray radiations, viruses, previous history of traumas and affect of pesticides usage on agricultural products are considered as the main risk factors behind increase in neurological disorders.

“By taking certain preventive measures both at the government and individual levels, the number of cases with neurological problems including traumas can be minimised,” said Dr. Aslan. One should avoid odd sitting and sleeping postures and should avoid sitting for long hours unnecessarily in front of computers. Also there is a need to develop habit of daily exercise or walk while unhealthy lifestyles including junk food and obesity should be avoided, he suggested.

Dr. Aslan added that the government should take steps to create awareness among public on how to minimise the main risk factors causing increase in number of cases. To minimise the impact of road traffic accidents, one should wear helmet when on bike while the use of seat belts and air bags in cars can also minimise the number of head and spinal trauma in case of accidents, he said.

Dr. Aslan said that like the developed countries, early reporting of symptoms related to neurological problems including continuous headache, sight problems and pains related to spine can be helpful in reducing the incidence of brain and spinal tumours.
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Source: The International News, Muhammad Qasim, 27 Jul 2012

Mobile industry: The dark side
Pakistan Created: 11 Sep 2011
The billion dollar tobacco industry comprises of persons and companies engaged in the growth, sales, shipment, advertisement, and distribution of tobacco and tobacco-related products. Being well aware of the dangers of this product for decades, it continued to put their own profits before people’s health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills more than two and a half million people prematurely every year.

Smoking causes about 30% of all cancers, including cancer of the lungs, mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, bladder, pancreas, heart disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. But what were these “merchants of death” doing? Pumping in more money towards blocking any such medical research and paying individuals to write against the findings. Fortunately for the public, the truth could not be suppressed. In recent years, the Mobile industry has emerged as the leading billion dollar industry with over 5.3 billion mobile users worldwide, 8.2 billion mobile applications, 6.1 trillion sms messages sent per year, 200 million active users and the mobile advertising market stands at $2.7 billion which is predicated to reach $6.6 billion in coming years. Ironically, mobile industry is doing the same what the tobacco industry did i.e. investing millions of dollars to influence health related issues arising out of mobile devices usage and the cellular infrastructure deployments.

Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiations in the microwave range. The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B) based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use. From May 24–31 2011 a Working Group of 31 scientists from 14 countries have been meeting at IARC in Lyon, France, to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group indicated that the evidence is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. Classification of 2B means is that there could be some risk of carcinogenicity hence additional research into the long-term heavy use of mobile phones needs to be conducted.

Another area of concern is the radiation emitted by the fixed infrastructure used in mobile telephony, such as base stations and their antennas which provide the link to and from mobile phones. In contrast to mobile handsets, the radiations are emitted continuously and are more powerful at close quarters. Several surveys have found a variety of self-reported symptoms for people who live close to base stations including headaches, sleep disorders, poor memory, mental excitation, confusion, anxiety, depression, appetite disturbance and listlessness. According to another study those living within 400 meters of the tower had a newly-diagnosed cancer rate three times higher than those who living further away. Breast cancer topped the list, but the chances of cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer all increased.

What we are witnessing in our country is a mushrooming growth of mobile sets with new packages launched every other day with the sole intention of making people talk for long hours. To add to it, the installation of mobile antenna towers are cell planning centric without ever giving any consideration to the health risks involved in these ferocious endeavors for business promotion. Blocking Technological development is not the solution however what is needed is to work towards the deployment of devices with controlled radiations thus saving millions of lives from any eventual health hazards. Till that time, what the users can do is to get used to using wired headsets, use texting and avoid radiation hotspots. For the mobile operators, there is a social responsibility to encourage research in this area instead of blocking any such efforts for in the end truth will prevail as was the case with the tobacco industry.

—The writer is a social activist.
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Source: Pakistan Observer, Dr Irfan Zafar, 11 Sep 2011

Mobile towers posing threat to health
Pakistan Created: 9 May 2011
ISLAMABAD: Cell tower numbers in thick populated areas have grown exponentially in recent years, though the health experts warn that electromagnetic radiation from cell phone towers is disastrous for human (and animal) health.

Cell Towers are the base stations which control cell phone communication.Whenever a tower is installed on top of a building where people live or work, those occupants may be quite unaware that they are in very close proximity to equipment which produces substantial electromagnetic radiation.

When contacted, the sources in mobile industry simply rejected any such threat and said these towers have nothing to do with the health of human or animals.

Commenting over the effects of mobile towers on human health, scientist and President National Academy of Young Scientists (NAYS), Aftab Ahmed said these towers are really a threat for health and even maintenance issues can affect how much radiation a cell site is currently producing.

He said radiation around a single cell tower may not be uniform, adding measurement with a suitable meter is the only way to know how much radiation you are receiving at a particular spot.

He further mentioned that it is not yet proven scientifically how much these towers disastrous for human health, but definitely they have negative effect.

Dr Naseeb Dar who runs private clinic in Gulzar-e-Quaid said exposure to mobile towers may cause headaches, sleep disorders, poor memory, mental excitation, confusion, anxiety, depression, appetite disturbance and listlessness.

About cancer , he said if cell towers are causing cancer, several years of exposure (with only minor effects on people's health) might be required, followed by an unexpectedly high occurrence of the disease amongst the exposed population.

The damage from radiation exposure accumulates over many years, but the breakdown in health happens only after all body defences and repair mechanisms have been exhausted, he maintained.

More important than the intensity of electromagnetic radiation emitted at the tower is the strength of the resulting radiation wherever people live and work.

In the long term, need is to find ways of providing cell phone convenience without exposing people to the existing dangers of cell tower radiation.
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Source: Business Recorder, 09 May 2011

Minister stresses study on cell phone towers
Pakistan Created: 4 Nov 2010
ISLAMABAD: There is dire need to conduct a national study to assess cumulative environmental and health impacts of 26,000 cell phone towers installed in the country, Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi stated this while summing up debate on a motion moved by some members of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The NA members showed concern on presence of cell phone towers in residential areas and stated that cancer and birth defects were being reported in some areas due to radiation emitting from these towers.

The minister informed the members that the cell phone towers emit non-ionized radiation of low frequency in range of 0.0027- 0.0042 milli watt per square centimeter (mW/Cm2). He said safe limits specified by International Commission on Non-Ionized Radiation Protection and Measurements (ICNIRP) was in range of 0.57 – 1.2 mW/Cm2, which was about 300 times lower than safe limit.

Afridi said that the cell phone towers could cause hazards in earthquake or in case of strong wind besides, creating noise and visual pollution.

He said that biological changes due to long time exposure in low frequency, radiation was still not fully understood by scientists and research was still going on.

He mentioned that general safety rules were observed for public by not giving direct exposure within eight meters (25 feet) from radiating surface of antenna.

Environmental protection agencies at the federal and provincial levels have been authorised to examine environmental and health aspects including installation of towers in public places before issuance of environmental approvals.

Afridi emphasised on conducting a national study to see the cumulative effects on mushrooms of cell phone towers in the country.

Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, Nisar Tanveer, Tahira Aurangzeb, Begum Nuzhat Sadiq, Shireen Arashad Khan, Muhammad Riaz Malik, Rana Mahmoodul-Hassan, Mian Marghoob Ahmad, Muhammad Afzal Khokher and Nighat Parveen Mir moved this motion.
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Source: Daily Times, 03 Nov 2010

Cellphone towers on rooftops to go
Pakistan Created: 20 Jul 2009
ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to bar mobile phone companies from installing base transceiver system (BTS) towers on rooftops in the city.

The companies will at the same time be given three months to relocate existing BTS towers made up of boosters and antennas from rooftops to the land provided by the authority, it’s learnt.

In October 2005 when a strong earthquake struck the city, the CDA had also warned the mobile phone companies against mounting BTS towers on high-rises and plazas but the illegal activity continued with impunity.

Currently, there are 143 illegal and 80 legal BTS towers in the city.

According to a senior CDA official, the authority’s new chairman, Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, has directed the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA) to slap a complete ban on the BTS tower installation on rooftops for the safety of people’s health, and submit revised version of the existing policy in this respect to the CDA board for approval.

He said currently, mobile phone firms could install the BTS towers at the places of their choices, including rooftops and greenbelts.

The official said under the current policy, a cellphone operator had to pay the CDA Rs 50,000 before installing a BTS tower on rooftop and Rs 15,000 in the greenbelt.

He said the CDA had planned crackdown on mobile phone companies, which had illegally mounted such equipment on buildings and in the greenbelts. He said such companies would be handed down heavy penalty.

The official said cellphone operators would be provided land for relocating BTS towers from rooftops to the ground and anyone not doing the needful within three months would be dealt with strictly.

He said the CDA would exempt from monthly fee for two years the operators, which shift their legal BTS towers from rooftops to the CDA allotted land within the stipulated period.

The official said the Environment Ministry had complained to the CDA that the BTS towers emitted signals unsafe for human health, and demanded action against the culpable people and firms.

He said under the rules, the cellphone operators were to seek a declaration from the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) that the BTS towers they were interested in installing were environment-friendly.
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Source: Daily Times, Fazal Sher, 18 Jul 2009

Mobile phone radiation and health
Pakistan Created: 7 May 2009
Mobile phone radiation and health concerns have been raised, especially following the enormous increase in the use of wireless mobile telephony throughout the world (as of August 2005[update], there were more than 2 billion users worldwide). Mobile phones use electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range, and some believe this may be harmful to human health. These concerns have induced a large body of research (both epidemiological and experimental, in non-human animals and in humans). Concerns about effects on health have also been raised regarding other digital wireless systems, such as data communication networks.The World Health Organization, based upon the consensus view of the scientific and medical communities, states that health effects (e.g. headaches) are very unlikely to be caused by cellular phones or their base stations, and expects to make recommendations about mobile phones in October 2009. However, some national radiation advisory authorities have recommended measures to minimize exposure to their citizens.

Overall health risks

Many scientific studies have investigated possible health effects of mobile phone radiations. These studies are occasionally reviewed by some scientific committees to assess overall risks. The most recent assessment was published in 2007 by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). It concludes from the available research that no significant health effect has been demonstrated from mobile phone radiation at normal exposure levels:

* Normal exposure to mobile phone radiation cannot cause headaches or dizziness, nor can it cause brain cancers, neurological effects or reproductive effects.
* A few inconclusive studies suggest that it may cause a benign tumour of the auditory nerve.
* However, more studies concerning potential health effects on children are needed.

Health hazards of base stations

Another area of concern is the radiation emitted by the fixed infrastructure used in mobile telephony, such as base stations and their antennas, which provide the link to and from mobile phones. This is because, in contrast to mobile handsets, it is emitted continuously and is more powerful at close quarters. On the other hand, field intensities drop rapidly with distance away from the base of the antenna because of the attenuation of power with the square of distance. Base station emissions must comply with safety guidelines .Several surveys have found increases of symptoms depending upon proximity to electromagnetic sources such as mobile phone base stations. A 2002 survey study by Santini et al. in France found a variety of self-reported symptoms for people who reported that they were living within 300 metres (984 ft) of GSM cell towers in rural areas, or within 100 m (328 ft) of base stations in urban areas. Fatigue, headache, sleep disruption and loss of memory were among the symptoms reported. Similar results have been obtained with GSM cell towers in Spain, Egypt, Poland and Austria. There are significant challenges in conducting studies of populations near base stations, especially in assessment of individual exposure. However, a study conducted at the University of Essex and another in Switzerland concluded that mobile phone masts were unlikely to be causing these short term effects in a group of volunteers who complained of such symptoms. The Essex study has been criticised as being skewed due to drop-outs of test subjects, although these criticisms were answered by the authors.

As technology progresses and data demands have increased on the mobile network, towns and cities have seen the number of towers increase sharply, including 3G towers which work with larger bandwidths.Many measurements and experiments have shown that transmitter power levels are relatively low - in modern 2G antennas, in the range of 20 to 100 W, with the 3G towers causing less radiation than the already present 2G network. An average radiation power output of 3 W is used. The use of 'micro-cell geometries' (large numbers of transmitters in an area but with each individual transmitter running very low power) inside cities has decreased the amount of radiated power even further.The radiation exposure from these antennas, while generally low level, is continuous.

Experts consulted by France consider it is mandatory that main antenna axis not to be directly in front of a living place at a distance shorter than 100 meters. This recommendation was modified in 2003 to say that antennas located within a 100-metre radius of primary schools or childcare facilities should be better integrated into the cityscape and was not included in a 2005 expert report.

Safety standards and licensing

In order to protect the population living around base stations and users of mobile handsets, governments and regulatory bodies adopt safety standards, which translate to limits on exposure levels below a certain value. There are many proposed national and international standards, but that of the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is the most respected one, and has been adopted so far by more than 80 countries. For radio stations, ICNIRP proposes two safety levels: one for occupational exposure, another one for the general population. Currently there are efforts underway to harmonise the different standards in existence.

Radio base licensing procedures have been established in the majority of urban spaces regulated either at municipal/county, provincial/state or national level. Mobile telephone service providers are, in many regions, required to obtain construction licenses, provide certification of antenna emission levels and assure compliance to ICNIRP standards and/or to other environmental legislation.

Many governmental bodies also require that competing telecommunication companies try to achieve sharing of towers so as to decrease environmental and cosmetic impact. This issue is an influential factor of rejection of installation of new antennas and towers in communities.
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Source: Kashmir Watch, Sadia Shaikh, 04 May 2009

Beware, exorbitant cell phone use may cause brain tumor
Pakistan Created: 3 May 2009
Though the cell phone phobia is taking over the youth and over 91 million Pakistanis use cell phones today, experts are of the opinion that the cell phones emit Radiofrequency (RF) energy which may increase the risk of cancer for cell phone users.

To date, many of the studies have focused on whether RF energy can cause malignant or benign brain tumors. The experts opine that the cell phone users are exposed to the radiofrequency (RF) energy, a non-ionizing form of radiation, emitted by the cell phones and due to the widespread use of this technology, there is understandable concern about the health implications of cell phone use.

“The animal experiments investigating the effects of Radiofrequency energy (RF) exposures characteristic of wireless/cell phones have suggested that low levels of RF could accelerate the development of cancer in laboratory animals. However, many of the studies that showed increased tumor development used animals that had been genetically engineered or treated with cancer-causing chemicals so as to be pre-disposed to develop cancer in the presence of RF exposure,” said Dr. Masood Ahmad, an expert, while talking.

He said the studies investigated any possible association between the use of wireless phones and primary brain cancer, glioma, meningioma, or acoustic neuroma, tumors of the brain or salivary gland, leukemia, or other cancers.

“Though some studies demonstrated the existence of harmful health effects from wireless phone RF exposures. However, none of the studies can answer questions about long-term exposures, since the average period of phone use in these studies was around three years,” he added.

A “Cell Phone Facts” document for consumers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reviews the research on cell phones that has been completed to date.

The document recommend additional research and noted the challenges of completing the laboratory and epidemiological studies that might offer conclusive data on risks of cell phones.

The agencies note that animal studies investigating cell phone use would need to be very large to offer meaningful data, and epidemiological studies might require ten or more years of follow-up.

Finally, the agencies note difficulties in measuring actual RF exposure, including which model of phone is used and the angle of the cell phone during the use.

The North American Brain Tumor Coalition (NABTC) has for a number of years carefully monitored the research related to the potential adverse effects associated with cell phone use.

The NABTC urges these precautions in absence of definitive studies regarding the risks of cell phones. The coalition urges the most expeditious possible completion of research studies, including one sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), to provide consumers better information about the risks created by their use of cell phones.

In the absence of conclusive studies, it is recommended that individuals take simple precautions to limit their cell phone use and that they impose restrictions on the use of cell phones by children.

The WHO published a fact sheet on cell phones in the Year 2000, which stated, “Given the immense numbers of mobile phones, even small adverse effects on health could have major public health implications.”

A recently published meta-analysis by an Australian neurosurgeon has also intensified concerns about the risks of cell phone use and created great interest in the completion of ongoing studies.

Although public health authorities are not in agreement regarding the issuance of public health advisories about cell phones in light of the inconclusive data regarding their risks, most governments have issued precautionary warnings regarding cell phone use.

The United Kingdom in 2000 urged that cell phone use among children be limited and undertook a leafleting campaign to distribute information about limiting use by children.

In 2006, the Canadian government urged adults to moderate their cell phone use and the cell phone use of their children until the science regarding the risks of cell phones is clear.

“If you must conduct extended conversations by wireless phone every day, you could place more distance between your body and the source of the RF, since the exposure level drops off dramatically with distance. For example, you could use a headset and carry the wireless phone away from your body or use a wireless phone connected to a remote antenna,” advised Dr. Masood.

In a July 2008 memo to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute faculty and staff, institute director Ronald Herberman, M.D. offered “Practical Advice to Limit Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted from Cell Phones.”

Dr. Herberman said that release of the ten “prudent and simple precautions” to reduce exposure was based on the recommendations of an international panel of experts convened by the University of Pittsburgh.

Those experts stated that, “electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones should be considered a potential human health risk.”
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Source: Pakistan Daily - Karachi, 03 May 2009

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