Monday, March 26, 2012

Pedder Rd school joins SoBo citizens’ movement against cellphone towers

Activity High School students, and south Mumbai residents to take the protest to the CMO; actor Juhi Chawla had launched a similar stir last year

A school at Pedder Road has joined the citizens' movement against haphazard installation of mobile phone towers on south Mumbai buildings.

More than 300 students of Activity High School, supported by their teachers, parents, and residents of societies at Pedder Road, Carmichael Road and Malabar Hill, have launched a signature campaign demanding the State government regulate the number of mobile communication towers in the area.

Over the past few days, the students collected over 500 signatures, and plan to take the protest to the Chief Minister's Office. Taking a cue from actor Juhi Chawla's fight against mobile phone towers, the students also put up banners listing the health risks posed by such towers.

Last year, Juhi Chawla and her neighbours had put up banners against mobile phone towers outside their building at Malabar Hill, when they failed to get a response from the State government regarding electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation from cell phone towers installed at Sahyadri, the government guesthouse in the vicinity.

On Monday, the Activity High School principal Perin Bagli, with the help of a few activists, measured the EMF radiation levels in the lanes of south Mumbai. Almost all the lanes around Pedder Road, Carmichael Road and Malabar Hill showed the radiation levels “dangerously high”.

While recent research has stated that only 1 milli watt is considered a 'safe exposure', the exposure limits to radio frequency fields in India is allowed up to 9.2 watts per sq metre - a huge climb compared to the permissible limits in other countries (3 in Canada; 2 in Australia; 1.2 in Belgium; 0.1 in China; 0.02 in Russia).

Principal Bagli said, "The perils of mobile phone towers range from short-term problems such as fatigue and frequent headaches to more serious issues such as cancers, tumours and congenital deformities. We have many buildings around our school, and indeed across the area, where close to 10 mobile communication towers are installed. Many of these towers can be viewed from our classrooms, putting our students in the direct line of radiation."

Residents have pledged to support the school in this fight. Carmichael Road resident Dilnar Chichgar is one of them. "For the past many months, I have been appealing to the managing committees of the housing societies to limit the number of mobile communication towers, but they don't bother. Once the managing committee decides, the flat owners have to fall in line, which is ridiculous," she said.

"More than 500 residents have already pledged support to the campaign, and more will join in," she said, "In Ushakiran building at Carmichael Road, we saw six residents diagnosed with cancer in a period of six months. We can't prove the phone towers caused the problem, but the health perils cannot be ignored."

Mumbai Mirror - March 27, 2012 - Pg 4 and 5 Vinod Shah, from Ajanta Building at Carmichael Road, was one of the first to pledge his support to the cause. He said that he 'lost' his bedroom because of the mobile communication towers. "The building opposite by flat has 18 such towers, and my bedroom is in direct line of those towers. Even when the windows are shut, the room is high on radiation caused by electromagnetic frequency. I was forced to stop using that room."

Officials of many housing societies that Mumbai Mirror visited on Monday refused to comment on the issue. Many others said they were not flouting any rules. Nitin Shah, the secretary of Maheshwari Niketan, where a few communication towers have been installed, had this to say: "The towers have been installed as per the rules; nobody can object about those. My society has all permissions in place."


Fearing tower radiation, people knock at IIT door

The Indian Express - Mar 24 2012, Page 4

Growing apprehension of any harm from cellphone tower radiations has led to a spurt in people looking for solutions. In the past one year, 350-400 people have approached the electrical engineering department of IIT-Bombay with requests to measure possible radiation levels in their houses from nearby towers and many houses have already placed radiation shields as a precaution.
“Earlier, we never got requests from individuals to conduct radiation measurements in homes. But with an increase in cellphone towers across the country over the last few years, awareness of how they may affect health has also grown. In the last one year, we have done radiation measurement for over 150 homes,” said Prof Girish Kumar.

Besides Mumbai, radiation measurements have been done in Pune, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur and Chennai. In the last 3 months, radiation protection shields have been placed in approximately 50 houses, mostly in Mumbai.

Cell towers have been a bone of contention and the debate rages on despite numerous studies for and against its harmful effects. In 2010, over 1,500 residents of South Mumbai’s Carmichael Road had demanded removal of cellphone towers from roofs. The effort was initiated by residents of Usha Kiran Building, who cited three cases of brain tumour and an alleged case of bone cancer as “strong evidence” of dangerous radiation from towers atop the adjacent building, Vijay Apartments.

Last year, residents of Malabar Hill, fearing that towers atop the state guest house, Sahyadri, were emitting harmful radiations, registered complaints and subsequently, the state ordered removal of 13 out of the 14 towers in the area.

In 2010, Kumar had submitted a report on “cell tower radiation” to the Department of Telecommunications (DOT), which listed sleep disruption, dizziness, altered reflexes, depression, cardiovascular problems, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, DNA damage and prostrate cancer as possible impacts of cell tower radiation.

All such claims have been repeatedly denied by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), who said studies confirm that radiation from mobile phones/base stations, which are within permitted exposure limits, does not affect health. Further, a report on electromagnetic radiation from cell towers, commissioned by COAI and Association of Unified Telecom Providers of India (AUSPI), to carry out measurement of emissions from 300 locations in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune, had concluded that radiation from cellular base stations was much below “compliance limit of International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) standards”.

In Mumbai, the study was conducted at 96 locations and results showed emissions levels were much lower than permissible limit, ranging from 2 times lower (Baba Ambedkar Park) to over 11,000 times lower (Hyderabad Estate).

Kumar said protection solutions include thin and transparent shielding films with matched loads for windows, shielding curtains and wallpapers and other radiation shields. The technologies are developed at IIT Bombay and new ones are in the pipeline.

In 2010, worried about possible harmful effects of radiation from a television tower in Worli, a city developer had asked Kumar to install radiation shields in a 300-metre-high building in the area.

The work on installing the shields in the building, Palais Royale, 800 m south of the TV tower, is in progress. Such an effort has also been initiated for a building in Pune.

Monday, March 12, 2012

THE LETHAL NETWORK - Times of India: Kolkata, India

Times of India: Kolkata, March 12, 2012: Pg 2

More cases where people people living near mobile towers are reporting health problems like nagging, headaches,dizziness, tiredness etc.

Cell Tower Radiation: Kolkata - The Lethal Netwrok - Times of India Pg 2

Sunday, March 11, 2012

EMR Action Day - 21 April 2012

Visit - to read News, Stories and more on alternate options

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How harmful are your mobile phones and towers?

Interview in

We’ve all heard about it – mobile phones are harmful to health. There are several chain emails, Facebook and Twitter updates about it. We wanted to get to the bottom of it all. So we caught up with Neha Kumar an expert on the topic of mobile radiation and director, NESA, a firm which designs radiation measurement and shielding equipment. She has been studying about radiation from cell phones/towers for about three years and has interacted with experts, researchers, doctors and patients around the world who have been affected by prolonged exposure to cell phone/tower radiation. Excerpts from the interview:

How exactly does mobile radiation cause health problems?

Mobile phones and towers emit electromagnetic radiation having health effects which can be divided into thermal and non-thermal. Thermal effects refer to heating effect which you observe if you hold the phone for long near your ear.

Non-thermal effects on the cells, genes and the DNA and are more harmful than thermal effects.

Excessive use of mobiles can lead to headache, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, memory loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and increased risk of brain cancer.

Having mobile towers in your neighbourhood can also pose health problems like severe headache, sleep disturbance, constant body pain, memory problems, joint pains etc. The more severe health effects noted include infertility, miscarriage, neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.), heart problems and cancer.

Are these mobile radiations more harmful for any particular demographic?

Children are more vulnerable due to a developing immune system and thinner skulls which allows radiation to penetrate deeper. Women run the risk of health problems like hormonal imbalances, miscarriages, breast and ovarian cancer as they tend to spend more time at home and are exposed continuously.

Is there any solid evidence to back the findings that these radiations are harmful to people?

There are several national and international studies where scientists have found a strong correlation between health problems and exposure to microwaves from mobile phones and mobile towers. Prof Girish Kumar from IIT Bombay had sent a report to Department of Telecommunications (DOT), India which has more than 200 references from peer reviewed publications in the end.

What precautions can you take to reduce your exposure to the radiation from mobile phones?

Some precautions that you can take:

# Limit your use, talk for short durations and switch sides during long conversations. SMS/IM chat whenever possible.
# Use the land-line, whenever possible
# Use speakerphone or wired hands free, but keep the phone at least 1 feet away.
# When not in use, keep the mobile phone away from your body as they still continue to emit some radiation while trying to communicate with the base station by sending at least one pulse per minute. Do not keep it in your pocket, under your pillow etc.
# Use cell phones with lower Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values. One can find the SAR value of a phone by simply searching- SAR. The lower the SAR value, the less dangerous it is. Ideally go for a phone which has SAR value – 0.2 – 0.8 W/Kg

If towers are responsible is the Govt. doing anything about it? Are there any regulations that mobile companies have to follow?

Till 2009, the Indian government had not adopted any standards for safe exposure from mobile phone and mobile towers. In 2009, India adopted radiation norms specified by ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) guidelines of 1998. However, ICNIRP guideline is outdated as it is only intended to protect the public against short term gross heating effects and NOT against ‘biological’ effects such as cancer and genetic damage from long term exposure. Also these safety standards are based on 6 minutes per day exposure, without accounting for people who live close to cell towers 24/7.

In Jan 2011, the report by Inter-Ministerial Committee mentioned several health hazards at levels thousand to ten thousand times below the ICNIRP standards and made recommendations to reduce the exposure to 1/10th of what ICNIRP had earlier recommended. However, even that has not been implemented yet.

If someone lives near mobile towers, what can they do about it? How can they detect whether they are being harmed or not? Who can they complain to?

If someone lives close to a mobile tower:

# One can request the operators to reduce the power transmission
# Change the angle of the antenna so that no house falls in the main beam of the antenna, or
# Go for Shielding Solution

For detection, NESA has come up with a low cost, simple and easy to use Cell Tower Radiation Detector, DETEX 189 which is based on the health recommendation by Bioinitiative Group. It has an LED indicator as well as buzzer to find if one is living in a safe, caution or danger zone. Unfortunately, right now in India there is no e-mail id or authority where one can directly complain. However, one can try writing to TUG/DOT/TRAI.

Is there any active research/initiative taking place to counter these harmful effects? What alternatives do people have?

All over the world, people are going for fibre optic solution, low power transmitting antennas and in-building solutions and repeaters.Alternatively, areas where the radiation levels are high, people can go for radiation shielding solutions like – Window Shielding Film, Shielding Curtains, Radiation Shield units etc.

If you are interested in more information or the products please free feel to contact Neha Kumar, Director, NESA.

Email –,
Contact no. – (022) 25722128 / 022 412 41800