Mobile Radiation

By gilhotrabeant 2 years ago

What is Radiation? 

Radiation is a form of energy on the move. Radiation is electromagnetic in nature, i.e., it consists of waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together through space at the speed of light. We live in a radiation world and are exposed to both natural and man-made radiation. Every second of our life, we are exposed to all forms of radiation such as ultraviolet light from the sun and radio waves from radio and television broadcasts. When we go for a chest x-ray examination, we are exposed to x-rays. 

There are two types of radiation:
1: Ionizing radiation
It contains enough energy to cause ionization. Ionization is a process by which electrons are stripped from atoms and molecules. Its interaction with matter can change chemical reactions in the body that leads to damage in biological tissues including effects on DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – the genetic material. Gamma rays and x-rays are two forms of ionizing radiation.

2: Non-ionizing radiation (NIR)
It does not have sufficient energy to cause ionization in living matter. It causes some heating effect, but usually not enough to cause any kind of long-term damage to tissues. Radiofrequency energy, visible light and microwave radiation are considered non-ionizing.

For the same strength, ionizing radiation is more capable of causing health effects than non-ionizing radiation due to the ionization process.

How does Radiation  Behave?

Radiation behaves in the same manner as light. It travels in a straight line and when it collides with an object, it can do three things — it can pass right through (transmission), it can bounce off (reflection), and it can be absorbed. It readily reduces its energy as it moves away from its source where radiation is produced.  This means that a person will receive less exposure if he/she stays indoors compared to staying outside or keep a distance compared to standing close to the source.

In Natural Radiation Dangerous? 

We are being continuously exposed to many sources of natural radiation. Of these sources, the sun is the most familiar to us as it produces infrared radiation, visible light, and ultraviolet light. The other sources are cosmic radiation that consists of high energy particles and rays that originate from outside our earth, terrestrial radiation that comes from naturally occurring radioactive materials in the earth’s crust, and internal radiation from radioactivity that is naturally present in our bodies.
Of these, only the ultraviolet light from the sun can be considered ‘dangerous’. Over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light can cause premature aging of the skin and cause sunburn, which has been linked to skin cancer. Although the nature of cosmic, terrestrial, and internal radiation is inherently hazardous and can cause cancer, these sources are not normally dangerous to us as the levels present naturally are sufficiently low that the risk is negligible.

What is ElectroMagnetic Field (EMF)? 

Electromagnetic radiation consists of waves of electric and magnetic energy moving together through space at the speed of light. Often the term ‘electromagnetic field’ or EMF is used to indicate the presence of electromagnetic radiation.
Different forms of electromagnetic radiation are classified by their frequencies. The term EMF is generally used to cover fields in the frequency range below 300 gigahertz (GHz), where giga refers to a thousand million. EMF includes electric and magnetic fields from the electricity supply at power frequencies (50 Hz in Malaysia), and radio waves from TV, radio and mobile phones, radar and satellite communications. Many home devices also transmit EMF such as cordless phones and radio-controlled toys.

What is RadioFrequency (RF)?

A radio signal can be thought of as a wave that spreads out from its source (the antenna). It is often referred to as an electromagnetic wave that is made up of linked electric and magnetic components. The radiofrequency (RF) part of the electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves produced by television and radio transmitters (including base stations) and microwaves. The electric and magnetic components that form the electromagnetic wave can be referred to as
radiofrequency fields.
When the announcer of a radio station says, ‘You are listening to 95.8 FM’ what the announcer means is that you are listening to a radio station broadcasting a FM radio signal at a frequency of 95.8 megahertz.

What is a mobile phone? Does it emit large quantities of RF radiation? 

A mobile or cellular phone is a low-power, single-channel, twoway radio. It contains both a transmitter and a receiver. It emits RF radiation to transmit information to the base station. It also acts like a receiver of information, in a similar manner as a transistor radio. The handset battery limits the power of transmitted radiation, which is similar, if not smaller than, that of a torchlight. The radiation emitted by the antenna is insufficient to cause any significant heating of tissues in the ear or head, although a rise in skin temperature may occur as a result of
Antenna Transmitter

Radiation in a mobile phone is generated in the transmitter and emitted through the antenna.
placing the mobile phone too close against the ear or head thus restricting the airflow.

What are mobile Phone base stations and how do they work? 

Mobile phone base stations are also known as base transceiver stations or telecommunications structures. They are low-power, multi-channel two-way radios. Antennas, which produce RF radiation, are mounted on either transmission towers or roof-mounted structures. These structures need to be of a certain height in order to have a wider coverage. When you communicate on a mobile phone, you are connected to a nearby base station. From that base station your phone call goes into the regular fixed-line phone system.
As the mobile phones and their base stations are twoway radios, they produce RF radiation to communicate and therefore expose the people near them to RF radiation. However, as both the phones and the base stations have low-power (short range) transmitters in them, the RF radiation exposure levels are generally very low. 

 (a) A Transmission Tower 

 (b) A Roof top Structure

Are there health risks associated with living or working near a base station? 

The consensus of the international scientific community is that the power from these mobile phone base station antennas is far too low to produce health risks as long as people are kept away from direct contact with the antennas.
You have to know the difference between antennas and towers. It is the antennas that you need to keep your distance from and not the towers that hold the antennas. You also need to be aware of the many different designs of mobile phone base stations that vary widely in their power and characteristics, as well as their potential for exposing people to RF radiation.

How safe are the base stations? 

Base stations are installed in compliance with the stringent guidelines set by the Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Ministry of Housing and Local Governement, which conform to international standards and best practices of safety.
In addition to local standards the following international agencies are the International Commission on NonIonizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the World Health Organization 

Is there a scientific basis for these RF radiation safety. Standards?

Yes. Over the past few decades, scientists have been researching the biological effects of RF radiation on animals and humans. The results were published in scientific journals and have been extensively reviewed by international organizations.

What are the international organisations doing regarding the health effects of Rf radiation? 

Public concern in many countries regarding mobile phones and base stations has resulted in a number of international and national organizations and independent expert groups being requested by governments to carry out detailed reviews of the research literature.
The World Health Organization International Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) Project was started in 1996. An important result of this work has been the development of a detailed agenda of research needs, that has driven the establishment of new research programmes around the world. It aims to harmonize the safety standards for all countries in the world. The Project has also helped develop a series of public information documents on EMF issues.

What are the effects of Rf radiation? 

RF radiation can cause the heating of tissues that leads to an increase in the body temperature. This is known as the thermal effect. Although the body has its effective ways of regulating its temperature, nevertheless, if the RF exposures are too high, the body may no longer be able to cope.
There is some discussion about other effects caused by RF radiation other than by thermal effect. However, no evidence is established yet.
The scientific community and international bodies acknowledge that further research is needed to improve our understanding in some of these areas. At the moment, there is insufficient and inconclusive scientific findings to prove any adverse health effects caused by RF radiation.

How safe is the mobile phone system? Can it cause cancer and other illness? 

Some studies have also examined the possibility of a link between RF radiation exposure and cancer. The results to date have been inconclusive. While some experimental data may suggest a possible link between exposure and cancer formation in animals exposed under certain specific conditions, the results have not been independently reproduced. In fact, other studies have failed to find evidence for a causal link to cancer or any related condition. Further research is underway in several laboratories to help resolve this issue.
In recent years, publicity, speculation, and concern over claims of possible health effects due to RF radiation from base stations and mobile phones have prompted many research organizations to investigate the potential health effects from the use of mobile phones.
To date, there is inconclusive scientific evidence to prove that the mobile phone system can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects, including headaches, dizziness, memory loss or birth defects.

What is the advice for children using mobile phones? 

The scientific evidence does not show a danger to mobile phone users, including children and teenagers. If you want to take steps to lower the exposure to RF radiation, the measures described above could also apply to children and teenagers. Reducing the time of mobile phone use and increasing the distance between the user and the RF radiation source will reduce the RF radiation exposure. In December 2000, the United Kingdom government recommended limiting the use of mobile phones by children as a precautionary measure. It was, however, noted that no evidence exists to suggest that using a mobile phone causes brain cancers or other health effects. The U.K. Stewart Report states:
‘If there are currently unrecognized adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones, children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head, and a longer lifetime of exposure. In line with our precautionary approach, we believe that the widespread use of mobile phones by children for non-essential calls should be discouraged. We also recommend that the mobile phone industry should refrain from promoting the use of mobile phones by children.’
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Additional Information/Links

World Health Organization (WHO) International EMF Project

International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection  (ICNIRP)


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