We all have loved fairy tales at some point in our lives, haven’t we? Those childhood days were beautiful. But as we grew, our human minds became curious enough to start seeking for the truth. Today, this post shall nudge that thirst for the truth with a few mind boggling truths.

We all have subconsciously locked in our brain’s compartment of ‘Facts’, titanic myths regarding electromagnetic waves, and these absolutely need to be busted. These myths have led people to believe in false dogmas that transmission towers are one of the reasons behind the growing rate of cancer amidst the masses.

Electromagnetic radiation has been around since the nascence of the universe, light being its most famous form. Electromagnetic fields are present everywhere in our environment, but are invisible to the human eye. They can be produced by any local buildup of charge, be it in the atmosphere or your switch boards. Subdivisions in the electromagnetic spectrum made on the basis of increasing wavelengths (or decreasing frequency) entails as follows: Gamma rays, X-rays, UV rays, visible range, infrared rays, microwave and radio waves. Technically speaking, telecommunication is limited to radio waves. These, being the one with the lowest frequency, lack the potential to trigger changes in our body or be carcinogenic.

Mobile tower radiation is, hence, a non-ionizing radiation, which is absolutely harmless. Whereas, ionizing radiation, such as X-rays and gamma-rays, consist of photons carrying sufficient energy to break molecular bonds.

Based on a recent in-depth review of scientific literature, the WHO, with claimant veracity, concluded that the current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.

In the area of the biological effects and medical applications of non-ionizing radiation, approximately 25,000 articles have been published over the past 30 years. Despite the thought most people have, that research in this field is lacking, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals, but has been unable to find any direct link between the exposure to radio frequency radiation and health related issues.

Telecommunication in India

Mobile Radiation in India | Photo Courtesy: Pexels

EMF emissions are monitored through stringent regulations in India | Photo Courtesy: Pexels

Addressing a consultative committee meeting of the ministry, Milind Deora, former Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology, had asserted that India is one of the very few countries in the world with the toughest EMF radiation standards, not only for mobile towers but also for mobile handsets (from September 1, 2012, hence).

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Government of India, and the cellular industry, being sensitive to the concerns of the citizens, have undertaken a joint exercise to ensure all issues regarding tower installation and functioning are addressed so as to allay the fears about emissions. One such step was the decision by the DoT to reduce the EMF emissions from antenna on towers by 90% from their earlier levels. Indian norms are now one tenth of the international standards. Uniform guidelines for all the state governments and local civic bodies have been formulated for the location and operation of the towers by the DoT. The Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM), a division of the DoT, carries out regular audits of the towers to ensure that they are in compliance with the safety norms.

The WHO in its advisory on September 20, 2013, said, “Till date, studies provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF (radio frequency) fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease.”

The MTHR of the UK veraciously says that “There is no evidence that exposure to base station emissions during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood leukaemia.” Professor David Coggon, Chairman of MTHR, claimed: “We are now much more confident about the safety of modern telecommunications systems.”

Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Siddharth Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Division of Medical Oncology), Columbia University, USA, says: “Many substances of modern life do not — cannot — cause cancer” (said in reference to emissions from telecom towers).

India, like the rest of the world, has recognized that mobile telecommunications contributes greatly to speedy socioeconomic development and that transmission towers are the basic elixir of this. In large doses, India needs many more towers established on its land to have a better economic growth rate. Telecommunication isn’t a small cog in the wheel of communication, and in view of the vast scientific research data available, that show that EMF emissions from antenna on mobile towers do not cause any health hazard, consumers should be able to enjoy the benefits of mobile telephony without any fear. Government agencies in India should not become victims of fear psychosis and half-truths and myths floated by vested interests that gloss over the vast array of scientific data and research to the contrary. Jingoistic interpretation of development policies masquerading as facts needs to be discarded.

Featured Image Credits: Fré Sonneveld via Unsplash

Posted by The Indian Economist | For the Curious Mind