Balancing health safety and environmental concerns with our desire for the latest in technology has never been easy, but things have gotten even tougher with public activism, corporate distrust, and an abundance of self-declared experts who spread misinformation.
Mobile communication technology is most notable for being embroiled in such controversy. There have been numerous reports suggesting a connection between radiation from mobile towers with incidence of cancer, which is a valid cause for concern.
But is there really any association between cellular towers and rising incidence of cancer, or is it just another case of fear mongering?
The Link Between Mobile Towers And Cancer
“Mobile towers use non-ionizing radiation that does not pose a cancer risk, but it’s important to be doubly sure when it’s your health at stake”
There’s no escaping the fact that cell phone usage exposes us to some amount of radiation, from both mobile towers and cell phones, but these levels of emission are highly regulated. What’s important to note is that there are two types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing. While ionizing radiation, like that from X-rays can cause alterations in DNA and cause cancer, non-ionizing radiation is of a very low energy level and only generates heat.
Mobile towers use non-ionizing radiation that does not pose a cancer risk, but it’s important to be doubly sure when it’s your health at stake, which is why there have been several studies into the risks.
According to reputed oncologist Dr. Shekhar Salkar, president of Gokarma Oncology Medical Trust, “We have gone through every data point and have not found even a single significant bad aspect of mobile towers linking them to cancer. The mobile towers are not carcinogenic.”
“Studies have shown that cancer risk from mobile usage is only associated with prolonged daily use – mobile tower emissions on the other hand are 1,000 times lower than that from mobile phones, which means the risk is much lower”
Numerous studies including one conducted by researchers at the University of Essex found that cellular towers or phone masts were unlikely to be responsible for self-reported symptoms.
Moreover, the link between mobile towers and cancer or other symptoms has only been propounded by self-report surveys that are vulnerable to the nocebo effect (basically negative reaction to a placebo or perceived exposure).
Extensive studies on cell phone usage have also demonstrated an increased risk primarily in cases of prolonged usage over several hours daily. Cell Phone towers on the other hand, which emit the same non-ionizing radiation, cause exposure that is actually 1,000 times lower than that from mobile phones!
Mobile Tower Safety In India
“India’s safety regulations are around 10 times more stringent than the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection standard”
While we are accustomed to poor enforcement and weak norms on industrial regulation and safety in India, the telecom sector is strictly regulated in the country.
It should also be pointed out that India’s safety regulations are around 10 times more stringent than the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection standard, which are followed by 90 percent of the countries.
So, the next time you run into conspiracy theorists and anti-mobile tower crusaders, treat their claims with skepticism and closely examine the evidence yourself.