Monday, June 14, 2010

Fear of mobile tower radiation grips Delhi area

Asian News - Jun 12, 2010

New Delhi (IANS)- Residents in northwest Delhi's Shalimar Bagh are demanding the demolition of a mobile phone tower in the residential area, alleging that electromagnetic radiation from it poses a threat to their lives.

Shubash Kapoor, a resident of BC Block in Shalimar Bagh (East), told IANS that an Idea Cellular tower has been erected on the terrace of the third floor apartment where he lives as a tenant, with the permission of the landlord.

As telecom giants pay huge rents, house owners allow them to set up mobile phone towers. "Why can't they look at other alternatives for revenue? Why are they playing with the lives of residents?" Kapoor asked.

Sudha Sharma, an angry resident, said: "Why don't they (mobile network companies) understand residents' problems? We have to suffer because of mobile towers."

"For over two years since the erection of the mobile tower, we have been suffering health problems like headache, fatigue and vomiting because of radiation. My six-year-old son is the worst-hit," she claimed.

"My doctor has confirmed these health issues are linked to radiation from the mobile tower," she added.

Sharma said their neighbour was suffering from cancer in the spinal cord, while another resident had complained of heart ailments.

According to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi has over 5,000 mobile phone towers, of which 2,500 are illegally erected. Shockingly, most of these are in residential areas.

The MCD has threatened to seal illegal mobile phone towers because of possible health hazards. The Delhi High Court, which had earlier ordered the formation of a panel to study the health risks caused by mobile phone towers, put a stay on it and issued notice to the cellular operators association to file their responses by July 8.

"Despite the civic body's norms, many mobile towers are installed near residential colonies, schools, hospitals and dispensaries - all areas where they are not allowed," a civic body official told IANS.

Experts say mobile phone towers installed on top of buildings are a definite threat to human health.

"Exposure to electromagnetic waves generate heat in the body and high levels of radiation can even affect the enzyme system, cause mutation of DNA, protein structure and cell membranes," said Neha Kumar, an expert in industrial biotechnology, who has done research work on electromagnetic radiation.

"People who stay within the beam of the towers are the worst-hit. The continuous exposure to electromagnetic radiation could have a pernicious effect on our health," she said.

"The safest radiation exposure limit for a human being is 100 micro watts per square metre. But in many residential areas, the exposure limit is more than 1,000 micro watts per square metres," she added.

G.K. Jadhav, senior consultant in the oncology department of Apollo Hospital, said the worst-affected by mobile tower radiations are heart patients, particularly those who have pacemakers.

"We also attend to many brain tumour patients who are constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation," Jadhav added.

However, chief co-operative affairs officer of Idea Cellular Rajat Mukarji denied the allegations, saying the towers installed by the company across the country are not harmful.

"The radiation levels are checked by a telecom engineering centre and they are at nominal levels; yet if the residents demand that the tower be removed, they should approach the company directly," he added.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), along with other central agencies, has proposed that the radiation exposure be limited to be 9.2 watts per square metre in India, though experts say this needs to be widely debated and analysed before implementation.

In some countries, the permissible limit in a radius between 50 and 300 metres varies from 0.001 to 0.24 watts per square metre.

"The level suggested in India is many times higher than that in the US, Switzerland, Poland and Russia," Kumar said.

S. Raghunath, senior scientist in the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI) at Pilani, however, said: "As a scientist, I cannot believe that mobile towers emit such radiation. Radiation from mobile phones used for long duration is higher than those from mobile towers."

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mumbai - Radiation City 2

After the recent EMR survey at 100 locations in Delhi which found four-fifth of the city to be unsafe, the latest study conducted by Headlines Today and Tehelka found that Mumbai too is in danger from cell tower radiation and perhaps more.

9/10th of Mumbai lives in Unsafe Zones and these include city's major landmarks, schools, markets, hospitals and even the homes of Bollywood celebs which have dangerously high exposure to EMR.Only one-tenth of the city was safe - and those were areas where VVIPs live.

Residential areas hit

While 600 milliwatt/metre square (mW/msq) is the safe limit for EMR, the survey found many residential areas have far greater exposure.

Among them are Krishna Complex in Andheri, Nesco Colony in Jogeshwari, Raheja Sherwood Building in Goregaon, Ridhi Sidhi Apartment in Malad, Country Park in Kandivali and Durga Devinagar in Borivali East. All have EMR levels higher than 4,000 mW/msq.

Those working in Nariman Point face an EMR exposure between 1,500-2,500 mW/msq. Religious places visited by lakhs of people too are among the EMR hotspots. These include the Siddhivinayak Temple, Sri Swaminarayan Bhawan, Infant Jesus Church and Sri Sri Dham Temple (EMR levels higher than 4,000 mW/msq).

Hospitals at risk

Six of the eight hospitals surveyed were found to be highly unsafe, with radiation levels crossing 4,000 mW/msq. These are Bombay Hospital, Jaslok Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Lilavati Hospital, Nair Hospital and S.L. Raheja Hospital.

EMR is especially harmful for patients because of their low immunity. It can be fatal for those with pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICDs).

Bollywood celebs under threat

Bollywood too wasn't safe. The survey found actor Shah Rukh Khan's bungalow Mannat in Bandra having an EMR level of 1,550 mW/msq. The level at Salman Khan's house, which is close to Mannat, was found to be 1,850 mW/msq.

Amitabh Bachchan's bungalow in Juhu has EMR levels of 950 mW/msq. The area also houses other Bollywood stars such as Hrithik Roshan and Anil Kapoor.

Probably no part of Mumbai is safe unless you are going to the VVIP areas, such as Sea Wind, at Cuffe Parade, where Anil Ambani who heads Reliance Communications lives, the Mantralaya, the Congress Bhawan or the chief minister's residence at Malabar Hills.

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Watch "Mumbai faces risk of mobile radiation" video coverage at Headlines Today -

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Extreme radiation in Mumbai - calls for concern for honey bees besides humans

Losing the buzz?
Pune Mirror - June 05, 2010

A recent study reiterates the effects of cellphone tower radiation on honey bees. Mumbai, with its 1,000-plus towers, has cause for serious concern.

Humans will not be the lone beneficiaries of a study recently sought by the chief minister on the ill-effects of radiation from cellphones and Mumbai's 1,000-plus cellphone towers.The initiative may just come to the timely rescue of the city's endangered honeybee population. And if you think that the bee is too small a concern to hit your radar, consider what Einstein said: If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live.

A recent experiment conducted by the Punjab University at Chandigarh reiterates the finding that honeybees are disappearing from their colonies because of the electro-pollution in the environment.Rahul Khot, entomologist and research assistant at Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), said, "We desperately need a Mumbai-specific study on the effects of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) on the local bee population. With so many mobile towers and such extensive cell phone usage, bees are greatly endangered in our city."

The recent experiment, which observed bee colonies exposed to mobile phone radiation, concluded, "At the end of the experiment, there was neither honey nor pollen in the beehives. It resulted in complete loss of the colony." The study found that the queen bee's egg-laying capacity dropped drastically because of the radiation. The bees that went foraging could not find their way back to the beehives, according to the experiment.

The implications of these findings could be catastrophic for Mumbai. An expert from the BNHS said, "If the bees were to disappear from Mumbai the result would be disastrous. It would cause a huge imbalance in the entire ecological system. Bees are not just one of the key pollinating agents but also an important part of the food chain."

The Study Ved Prakash Sharma and Neelima Kumar of Punjab University compared the behaviour and biology of honeybees in colonies exposed to cellphone radiation and those unexposed to it. Two GSM cellphones of 900 Megahertz frequency were placed in call mode on two sidewalls of the bee hive, while two control colonies were left unexposed to cellphone radiation.The test colonies had an exposure for 15 minutes, twice a day, during the period of peak bee activity for three months. "A significant decline in colony strength and in the queen's egg-laying rate was observed.The behaviour of exposed foragers was negatively influenced by the radiation exposure," the study states. The duo analysed the phenomenon of what is known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

While several factors affect the honeybee, the electromagnetic field induced by cell towers are unravelling to be a prime concern."The bees became quiet and still or confused as if unable to decide what to do. Such a response has not been reported previously," the study said.Bees, which have magnetite in their bodies, utilise the earth's magnetic field to navigate. Cell tower radiation interferes with this process.Such conclusions have been drawn earlier too by Dr Sainudeen Pattazhy, a professor of Zoology in Kerala's S N College in his last year's study along the same lines.

His widely-referenced report states, "In one experiment, a mobile device was placed adjacent to bee hives for ten minutes for 5 to 10 days. After a few days, the worker bees never returned home.The massive amount of radiation produced by towers and mobile phones is actually frying the navigational skills of the honey bees and preventing them from returning to their hives."

The diminishing bee population is a grave cause of concern even in the West. Research shows that USA's rapidly dwindling bee population is due to the "recent proliferation of electromagnetic waves for the sudden demise - often within 72 hours - of entire bee colonies."

Constant electromagnetic background noise is found to disrupt communication amongst the bees in UK and elsewhere as well.

A 2003 study in Germany points out that "GSM cell phone radiation in the frequency range of 900 MHz to 1800 Hz caused the bees to avoid the hive."

Why Mumbai should be worried

Cellphone Towers -Mumbai Mirror had reported in July 2009, with the help of an EMR-measuring agency, how five of the seven important locations in the heart of the city - like Mantralaya, Marine Drive, World Trade Centre and Breach Candy hospital - threw unacceptably high levels of mobile tower radiation.The city has a very high number of cellphone towers, and residents have complained about health hazards.

Loss of habitat - Khot points out that honeybees need a specific habitat for their survival. "The large fruit trees that once adorned the city have disappeared, the architecture of buildings has changed, the lofts and crevices have given way to glass facades. Where will the bees make hives now?" Wildlife biologist Anand Pendharkar says while Mumbaikars enjoyed their fix of honey, they were quick to destroy hives.

No food, no nectar - Pendharkar says, "Mumbai's residents prefer ornamental plants. As a result, 60 per cent of the city's green cover is comprised of exotic trees. For honeybees, these are as good as 'plastic' as they cannot draw nectar from them. Trees like Jamun, Jackfruit, Neem, Mango and flowers like Champa and others provide nectar for the bees. But we hardly find these varieties in Mumbai any more.”

Heat and pollution - Another factor endangering the bees is the increasing heat and pollution in the city. Deputy Director, Maharashtra Nature Park, Avinash Kubal says, "The honeybees cannot survive in extreme heat. A decade ago, you could see many hives around buildings. But we don't any more. Earlier, there was enough greenery in the city but now the concrete cover has increased, leading to soaring temperatures."

Similar cases have been observed in Bihar,Nepal and parts of US and UK: Read story at: and