Cell phones and Microwave Exposure

All the transmitting towers, such as AM and FM towers, TV towers, cell towers, etc. emit RF/microwave radiation continuously. Also, Wi-Fi (wireless Internet), wireless computers, cordless phones and their base units, cell phones and all other wireless devices emit microwave radiation. A cell phone that is ON but not in use is also radiating.

Cell phones operate within the frequency band of 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz and the latest 3G technology works between 1900 -2200 MHz. Computers and laptops operate within the frequency range of 1000 – 3600MHz, and most Wi-Fi systems and some cordless phones operate around 2450 MHz, which is same frequency as that of a microwave oven! The growing use of wireless communication in the last decade has introduced concerns about health risks from the so called man made electro smog. Various epidemiological and experimental studies have been carried out and the results have shown to have a close relation between biological effects and Electromagnetic radiation (Sage Cindy et al 2009).

Microwave radiation effect can be classified as – thermal and non-thermal. The thermal effect has been largely studied and refers to the heat that is generated due to absorption of microwave radiation. Being exposed to the thermal effect could cause fatigue, cataracts and reduced mental concentration. Research is going on to study the non-thermal effects of radiation, and it has been associated with affecting the cell membrane permeability. Sadly the current exposure safety standards are purely based on the thermal effect while ignoring the non-thermal effects of radiation.

Principle of microwave heating is similar to that of a microwave oven where the water in the food content is heated first. Likewise microwave absorption effect is much more significant by the body parts which contain more fluid (water, blood, etc.) like the brain which consists of about 90% water. Effect is more pronounced where the movement of the fluid is less, for example, eyes, brain, joints, heart, abdomen, etc. The effect has shown to be much more severe for children and pregnant women.

Of late there are lots of reports coming out on how radiation through mobile towers causes
cancer, though cell phone companies maintain that there is nothing conclusive on this subject.

The effectiveness or seriousness of the issue has not been realized among the common man yet as one can not see or smell or hear microwave and its effect on health is noted after a long period of time. Therefore, majority of the people tend to have casualness towards personal protection. Unfortunately, ignorance and non-awareness adds to this misery and all of us are absorbing this slow poison unknowingly.

The purpose of this report is to create awareness amongst people of the possible health hazards which microwave radiation could lead, and the urgency to take necessary precautions to avoid major public health consequences, or else the impact could be worse than Cancer, AIDS, World War, Tsunami, etc.

Evidence Raises Concerns about Cell Phones and Microwave Exposure
There are Millions of websites on microwave radiation hazard, only a few are reported here:

WHO study in 13 countries confirm increased risk for brain tumors
The Telegraph (16.10.2008):

Study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization (WHO) discovered that the chances of developing a malignant tumor are “significantly increased” for people who use cell phones for ten years. They also found that a type of brain tumor called glioma is more likely in long-term mobile users.

Alarming report – fivefold increased risk for brain tumors in children
The Independent (21.09.2008):

Research from Sweden reports that children and teenagers are five times more likely to get brain cancer, if they use mobile phones. This study, as experts say, raises fears that today’s young people may suffer an “epidemic” of the disease in later life.

Germany warns citizens to avoid using Wi-Fi.
The Independent (9.09.2007):

The Environment ministry of the German government in September 2007 said that people should avoid using Wi-Fi wherever possible because of the risks it may pose to health. The official radiation protection body also advised its citizens to use landlines instead of mobile phones, and warns of “electro smog” from a wide range of other everyday products.

Base stations affect health negatively.

Among people living closer than 300 m away from the base station, a French study found an increased incidence of tiredness within 300m, of headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, etc. within 200 m, and of irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. within 100 m.

Women were found to complain significantly more often than men of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations. This study, based on the symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations recommend that the minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m. (Santini R, et al 2002)

New Austrian research confirms health effects of base station radiation.
Another study where tests were done on subjects living within 20-600 meters from Mobile Phone Base stations were found to have sleeping problems and effect on cognitive performance. (Hutter et al 2006)

Building Top Floors under the Antenna Closed After Brain Tumor Alert
The Australian UK (5.13.2006)
After a seventh case of brain tumor observed among workers in the top floors of a Melbourne office building, the top floors were closed down and 100 people were evacuated. The mobile phone towers on the roof of the 17-storey RMIT University building were thought to be linked to the recurrent cancer cluster.

Three groups find danger of tumors
Sun Sentinel, Florida (1.2.2006)
Three European research groups in separate studies have found an increased risk of brain tumors in people who have used the phones for 10 years or more. Two of the studies found a correlation between the tumor’s location and the side of the head where people reported they held the phone (Hardell et al 2003).
One also suggests the greatest risk is in people who began using the phones before age of 20. Lennart Hardell found that the use of cell phones before age of 20 increased the risk of brain tumors by 5.2, compared to 1.4 for all ages.

Brain cancer risk increased at the side one holds the phone
A study by Jonas Hardell, professor of Oncology, Sweden suggests that the risk for developing brain tumors increases significantly for the people who use the phone more intensely and for more years. Also a significantly increased risk of brain cancer was observed on the same side as one held the phone, but not on the other side.
In addition, the risk was increased by 30% for developing Acoustic Neurinoma, a benign tumor in the brain on a nerve related to hearing that may cause permanent deafness if not removed in time. (Hardell L 2009)


DNA is damaged by mobile phone radiation.
In 1995, Professor Henry Lai and N.P. Singh published a paper that documented DNA damage in the brain cells of rats exposed to radiation similar to that emitted by cell phones (Lai H et al 1995), but the study was ignored by the mobile phone industry stating that his findings had not been confirmed.
The research was later corroborated by other studies. In December 2004, results of work by 12 groups in seven European countries, the “REFLEX Study”, found that radiation at some cell phone levels damages DNA and the damage could not always be repaired by the injured cell (REFLEX, 2004). In a
BBC report, the leader of the four-year REFLEX study, Franz Adlkofer, said “people should use landlines, rather than cell phones, wherever possible. We don’t want to create a panic, but it is good to take precautions”.
According to Dr Lai “This does not mean it’s the beginning of the end of cell phones. If the results are confirmed in further studies, we can engineer our way out of the problems, just as we engineered the technology in the first place”.
A study from Israel further confirms DNA-damaging effects of mobile phone irradiation,
demonstrating the cause to be a non-thermal effect of electromagnetic radiation.

Association of mobile phone radiation with human health in Saudi population
Omega-News (7.8.2004)
A Saudi Arabian study found a relationship between headache, fatigue, dizziness, tension and sleep disturbances in subjects exposed to mobile phones emissions (Thamir Al- Khlaiwi et al 2004). The use of mobile phones was considered to be is a risk factor for health hazards suggesting avoidance of excessive use of mobile phones.

Mobile phone radiation wrecks your sleep
The Independent (20.1.2008)
According to research by mobile phone makers own scientists, use of the handsets before bed, delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches, confusion and depression.
The findings were especially alarming for children and teenagers, as it may lead to mood and personality changes, ADHD-like symptoms, depression, lack of concentration and poor academic performance.


JJ Hospital Mumbai, says no to Mobile towers
Mumbai Mirror (24.2.2009)
JJ Hospital in Mumbai, India said no to installation of mobile towers
inside the premises. VVIPs in JJ Hospital had complained of poor
network inside main building, but experts said electromagnetic signals would adversely affect medical equipment and powerful antenna tower inside the campus could be hazardous too.

Mobiles cut sperm count, says report
The Guardian (28.6.2004),
Hungarian scientists have found 30% sperm decrease in intensive mobile phone users, in addition to damage of sperms. They found that not only did using the phone affect a man’s sperm count and the motility (speed of movement) of the sperm, but simply having it switched ON in a pocket was enough to do damage as mobile phones periodically but briefly transmit information to cell towers to establish contact.

Physicist theory – mobile microwave interfere with the body and may cause harm
The Guardian UK (10.4.2004)
Communication within the human body occurs through a highly complex system of electrical signals. According to this theory, exposure to pulsing microwave radiation from microwaves and phones interferes with our bodies and disrupts the intercellular communication in the same way that phones interfere with airplane or hospital equipment. This may cause impairs in body function and could lead to illness.

Effect of TV and FM Towers on health
A study in Australia found that children living near TV and FM broadcast towers (similar to cell towers) had more than twice the rate of leukemia as children living more than seven miles away from these towers (Hocking, B et al 1996).
In another study, TV signal exposed workers were observed to have increased IgG and IgA and decreased lymphocytes and T8 cells, resulting in a decrease in immune response (Moszczynski, P et al 1999).
French High Court verdict against Telecom Company
In February 2009, the telecom company Bouygues Telecom was ordered to take down a mobile phone mast due to uncertainty about its effect on health. Residents had sued the company claiming adverse health effects from the radiation emitted by the tall mobile phone antenna (Versailles Court of Appeal, 4 February 2009).

Don’t spend hours on mobile: Indian Health minister
Mumbai Mirror (23.7.2009)
Excessive use of mobile phones can lead to problems like deficient hearing and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Study done by Indian scientists indicates that sorineural deafness (loss of hearing due to damage to sensors in inner ear) can occur in 25-30% of people using mobile phones for more than two hours a day over a two-year period, besides causing burning sensation in the ear and headaches. In addition, DNA damage, low sperm count leading to infertility and reduction in testis size in rats has also been reported. The health minister therefore advices for not using mobile phones for more than one hour a day.

German study: 3 times increased cancer risk
Several doctors living in Southern Germany city of Naila conducted a study to assess the risk of mobile phone radiation. Their research examined whether population living close to two transmitter antennas installed in 1993 and 1997 in Naila had increased risk of cancer.
Data was gathered from nearly 1,000 patients who had been residing at the same address during the entire observation period of 10 years. The social differences are small, with no ethnic diversity. There is no heavy industry, and in the inner area there are neither high voltage cables nor electric trains. The average ages of the residents are similar in both the inner and outer areas.
What they found is quite telling: the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was three times higher among those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400m from the cellular transmitter site, compared to those living further away. They also revealed that the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier.
Computer simulation and measurements used in the study both show that radiation in the inner area (within 400m) is 100 times higher compared to the outer area, mainly due to additional emissions coming from the secondary lobes of the transmitter.

Looking at only the first 5 years, there was no significant increased risk of getting cancer in the inner area. However, for the period 1999 to 2004, the risk for getting cancer was 3.4 times greater in the inner area compared to the outer area. Breast cancer topped the list, and the average age of contracting this disease was considerably lower, 50.8 years compared to 69.9 years in the outer area, but cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer were all increased

Mumbai facing Radiation
Cell Tower Radiation: LiveIndia.com (05.8.2008)

A recent study revealed that the electromagnetic radiations emitted from phone towers in Mumbai were way beyond safety levels. According to the study, the safe limit of radiations for human beings is up to 50 W/m2microwatts per square meter and the upper limit is 100 microwatts per square meter. The study revealed that the radiation readings in several residential areas were more than 1000 microwatts per square meters.

Mumbai has witnessed a spurt in the number of phone towers in the recent past exposing people to dangerously high levels of radiations. Being exposed to such radiation, this leads to problems like loss of appetite, irritation, fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, headaches, problems in vision, infertility and deformity of foetus. Medical experts feel it is a ‘slow and invisible killer’.

“If you are using a headset or hands free close to your ear while talking or put it in the pockets, the radiation is directly affecting this tissue and because it is heating up, even though very minimally, the cellular tissue is being heated,” said Dr Pratima Rajan, Department of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Preventive Cardiology, Jaslok Hospital.
So while technology invasion has happened at a rapid pace in India, stringent laws are
still to be in place against the risks that they come with

Prepared By:

Neha Kumar
B.Tech. Industrial Biotechnology
Anna University, Chennai, India
Email – wilcom.neha@gmail.com

Prof. Girish Kumar
IIT Bombay, Mumbai, India and
Chairman, Wilcom Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Vashi, Navi Mumbai, India
Email – prof.gkumar@gmail.com




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