No health hazards from mobile tower radiation: BTRC

Staff Correspondent

18 February, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Dismissing concerns over radiation emitted from mobile phone towers, Bangladesh Telecom-munication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Monday said studies did not find the possibility of any health hazards from mobile tower radiation.

Quoting survey findings, the telecom regulator also said the amount of radiation exposure from mobile network tower is below the level of international standards and BTRC guidelines.

Experts and officials came up with the remarks at a discussion on ‘Tower radiation measurements and resent survey’ at a city hotel. BTRC and the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) organised the discussion.

They said BTRC conducted the survey to measure and examine the level of radiation emitted by mobile phone towers. The survey found the volume of radiation to be below the 2.10w/m2 (watts per square metre) mark, specified as a safety threshold by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). Addressing as the chief guest, BTRC Commissioner Md. Aminul Hasan below the international standards, which is very satisfying. The rumour which has already been created regarding the tower radiation needs to be addressed. Because we have to move forward with technology- there is nothing to fear about it.”

He called on BTRC to continue the survey and take appropriate steps to eliminate public misperception about mobile tower radiation.

Presenting the keynote paper at the discussion, Dr. Shamsuzzoha, Deputy Director of BTRC, noted: “We have conducted surveys in six divisions including many areas of Dhaka and found radiation at the accepted level.”

Quoting the findings, he said radiation was found at the maximum at 1.59 w/m2 or in others words, 75.54% of the standard value of 2.10w/m2 in Mohammadpur, 0.08 in Farmgate, 0.074 in Arambagh, 0.035 in Nobaber bag in Mirpur and 0.083 in Mirpur-12 area.

Especially, the much-talked-about radiation exposure in the Sundarbans was only 0.0015w/m2 which is at the level where there is no risk of harm to humans or the environment.

Radiation from cell phone towers was measured at 0.0038w/m2 (0.18% of 2.10w/m2) in the Jaymoni, Mangla and Bagherhat areas. The radiation level in Khulna’s deputy commissioner’s office was 19.56%, whereas in Khulan Medical College it was 2.12% and in Khulna University it was 1.15% of the 2.10w/m2 figure.

The BTRC moved to conduct the tests to measure radiation from cell phone towers following a directive from the High Court on April 25 last year.

Brig. Gen Md Shahidul Alam, Director General of Spectrum division of BTRC, S. M. Nazmul Hasan, Director (Marketing) of Huawei and AMTOB secretary-general Brig Gen SM Farhad (Retd.) also participated in the discussion.

They also there are two types of radiations—Ionizing and non-Ionizing. Ionizing radiation is harmful to health, including nuclear waste, ultraviolet rays of the sun, gamma-rays or x-rays. They are capable of modifying DNA levels in the body.

Besides, mobile radiation is non-Ionizing. Its strength is very low, so it carries no health risks. There are national and international specific standards regarding the EMF radiation of appliances used in mobile towers, they said.

Earlier, nuclear scientist Prof Dr M Quamruzzaman at a seminar organised by National Museum of science and technology (NMST) recently presented a keynote paper on the subject styled ‘Radiation effects of cell phone tower: mitigation measures’.

He said mobile phones and towers emit electromagnetic radiation having harmful health effects. Dividing the effects into two groups—-thermal and non-thermal, he said non-thermal effects on the cells, genes and the DNA are more harmful than thermal effects.

“Excessive use of mobile phones can lead to headache, sleep disturbance, lack of concentration, memory loss, tinnitus and risk of brain cancer. Having mobile towers in the neighbourhood can also pose health hazards,” said the nuclear scientist.

The expert blamed radiation for infertility, miscarriage, neurons generative disorder, heart problems and cancer.