DoT directs service providers to submit radiation levels of their towers

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has asserted that radiation levels emitted by cell phone towers across the city are way below the limits prescribed by the government and the general public has nothing to be worried about.

The general public awareness is mostly perception-based and not facts-based, observed General Manager (Network Operations) N. Govindarajulu here on Wednesday.

In fact, there was a greater risk from mobile phones compared to cell phone towers as radiation emitted from tower antennas is scattered across a wider area unlike cell phones, explained Srinivas Rao, Deputy General Manager (Network Planning).

BSNL measured radiation levels at the base of the Secunderabad Telephone Exchange recently and found that parameters were 1/100th to 1/1,000th of the limits set by the government. “This is at least 1,000 times less than the power radiated from radio or television stations,” he said.

The parameters, power density, electric field and magnetic field, were measured with an instrument, Radio Frequency-Electromagnetic Field Strength meter procured from the United States.

In the wake of public apprehensions on radiation from cell phone towers, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has directed different service providers to submit radiation levels of their towers. All providers are expected to meet the prescribed limits and DoT officials can check the levels at point of time, said Mr. Govindarajulu.

BSNL officials also claimed that antennas across the city were placed at a height of 20 metres from the ground level although the safe distance prescribed by the government was 4.6 metres (900 MHz). It is the specific absorption rate (the amount of radiation retained by body) that should be taken into consideration. Radiation is dangerous when it burns the cells in the body, they explained.

Authoritative websites for details on radiation:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/index.html

http://www.iarc.fr/

http://www.iegmp.org.uk/

http://icnirp.de/