ONE LINE: Do they really cause health issues? YES. If you want to study in-depth report of IIT Bombay on radiation, you can read it at the end of this post. I have written the following understanding from various sources, which includes the above report.
We do know that using mobile networks emits radiation. First of all- What is radiation: Radiation is the emission or transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles through space or through a material medium.
Why and how radiation is harmful to us?
In general terms, whenever we use mobile (network signal), it receives signal from a nearby tower. Here, transfer of energy occurs between your device and the nearest tower through electromagnetic waves. In this process, both the cell tower and your mobile phone emits radiation and our body absorbs it.
When a human body is exposed to the electromagnetic radiation, it absorbs radiation, because human body consists of 70% liquid. It is similar to that of cooking in the microwave oven where the water in the food content is heated first. Microwave absorption effect is much more significant by the body parts which contain more fluid (water, blood, etc.), like the brain which consists of about 90% water. Effect is more pronounced where the movement of the fluid is less, for example, eyes, brain, joints, heart, abdomen, etc. Also, human height is much greater than the wavelength of the cell tower transmitting frequencies, so there will be multiple resonances in the body, which creates localized heating inside the body. This results in boils, drying up of the fluids around eyes, brain, joints, heart, abdomen, etc.
How much radiation is okay for us?
A cell phone has a SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) rating. In India, SAR limit for cell phones is 1.6W/Kg which is actually for 6 minutes per day usage. It has a safety margin of 3 to 4, so a person should not use cell phone for more than 18 to 24 minutes per day. This information is not commonly known to the people in India, so crores of people use cell phones for more than an hour per day without realizing its associated health hazards.
What about radiation from Bluetooth / Hotspot and others?
In addition to the continuous radiation from cell towers, there is radiation from cell phones, wireless phones, computers, laptops, TV towers, FM towers, AM towers, microwave ovens, etc. We are exposed to all these radiations which are additive in nature.
The Radiation that we receive from bluetooth / hotspot is usually less compared to the radiation that we absorb directly from mobile phone / cell tower since bluetooth / hotspot makes the energy travel in a shorter distance. However, we should not forget the fact that if we use both Bluetooth and Mobile near to us, we absorb more radiation.
Is it ‘that’ dangerous? All of we are fine using mobiles these days?
As there are no statutory warnings, people assume the issues are minimal. But anything that is disturbing over a constant period of time will leave a detrimental impact. All of we are ‘not’ fine absorbing radiation. Radiation is not an immediate effect. Further, limited radiation is not harmful but the people who excessively use cell phones or any electronic device that emits radiation, in long term will be affected by radiation. A report submitted to Department of Telecommunications, Government of India says as shown in the image below:
So, what to do?
This does not mean that we have to stop using these devices or living near these towers. We all know that automobiles create air pollution – have we stopped using them? Instead, solutions were found such as unleaded petrol, catalytic converters to reduce emission, CNG driven vehicles, hybrid vehicles, etc. If people in the mobile companies think there is no health hazard, then let them stand in front of their own transmitting tower at 1m distance in the main beam for 6 hours – are they willing to take the risk? Similar effect will be there at 10m distance in about 600 hours (25 days). If mobile companies accept that radiation causes serious health problems, will people stop using cell phones? Not really, because the cell technology has its several advantages. However, then researchers/technocrats/entrepreneurs will come out with possible solutions, which may be expensive but that cannot be greater than the health risk faced by humans, birds, animals and environment. Till then, it is always good to limit ourselves from using these devices excessively.
IN SHORT: Any device which receive/send signal emits radiation and our body absorbs it. Different devices emits different amounts of radiation. These devices include cell towers, cell phones, bluetooth, wi-fi devices. Usually, the longer distance the signal travels, the more is the radiation that it emits. Studies says radiation in the long run will give adverse health conditions. Radiation impact will be more on children and pregnant women than on adults. Better to limit ourselves from excessively using these devices.
Report of IIT Bombay submitted to the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India: