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Beware of CellTower Radiation

Mobile towers emit electromagnetic radiation…

There is no doubt that mobile towers are essential for good cell phone connectivity and fewer call drops. Hence in all metros we can see the cell towers which have sprouted on rooftops of residential buildings, causing anxiety among citizens because the mobile towers, also known as base transmitting stations, emit electromagnetic radiation which a section of population belives causes health hazards like cancer.

In India, GSM services are operated on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands. The radiation emitted is measured by power density in watts per square metre. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has fixed the maximum power density as 0.45 watt per sq metre for 900 MHz and 0.9 watt per sq metre for 1800 MHz. DoT confirms that such limits on radiation ensure no health risks because the above norms are one-tenth of the permissible tower radiation norms fixed by the international body ICNIRP.

However DoT has also clarified that despite the above norms, cell towers installation and operation will still be subject to laws and regulations framed by municipalities, panchayats etc. Whether such regulations are being adhered to by cell companies is unknown. For instance, some time back, the Mumbai municipal corporation (BMC) had proposed that number of mobile towers per building be restricted to two, that towers be banned around schools and hospitals, that consent be obtained of 70 percent of building residents which should include the top floor residents etc.

How can you protect yourself from cell tower radiation?

Ideally you should not live in a building which has cell towers are on the terrace of your own building or on top of buildings adjoining your building. However since cell towers are ubiquitous in every neighbourhood of our cities, not everyone can hope to find such a solution.

The practical solution is to ensure that the radiation emitted is within the norms set by DoT. This is ensured by Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring cells (TERM cells) which have been set up by DoT. You can submit complaints to the TERM cell in your city along with a fee of Rs 4,000 after which TERM officials will visit the location. If radiation levels are high, TERM cell has powers to levy penal fines on the cell company and even ask for the tower’s removal.

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Maximum Permissible Tower Radiation

Maximum permissible tower radiation (Power Density) norms fixed by the international body ICNIRP are 'Freqency' divided by 200. This works out to power density of 4.5 watt per sq metre for 900 MHz and 0.9 watt per sq metre for 1800 MHz.
DoT has fixed power density as 10% of above figures i.e. 0.45 watt per sq metre for 900 MHz and 0.9 watt per sq metre for 1800 MHz.

Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring Cells (TERM cells)

In case of any complaint against mobile tower radiation, get in touch with the TERM cells (Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring Cells) in your city. The main functions of the TERM cells are vigilance, monitoring and security of telecom networks.

Contact details of 34 TERM cells in India

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