NCC: Radio, TV antennas pose higher health risks than mobile phones  

NCC: Radio, TV antennas pose higher health risks than mobile phones  

NCC: Radio, TV antennas pose higher health risks than mobile phones  

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Nigerians face higher health risks from radiation emission from radio and TV antennas than those of mobile phone networks, the Nigerian telecoms regulator has finally alerted.

The Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) came up with this position when it weighed in to counter claims that mobile phone users are exposed to medical risks from radiation energy transmitted by mobile phones mast and antennas that dot the nation’s landscape.

This position is contained in the final study report, “Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) And Effects on Public Safety”, carried out by the Research and Development Department at NCC that enabled the telecoms industry regulator “form its opinion and will also continuously monitor new information on the subject that may influence the assessment of risks to human health.”

According to NCC, “Commercial AM/FM radio and TV broadcast stations transmit very high levels of RF energy. Some of their antennas radiate power levels of several megawatts but, fortunately, these antennas are generally placed on high towers or buildings where no humans are nearby. Even so, humans absorb more RF energy from AM/FM radios and TV broadcast station antennas than from mobile telephone and base station antennas. However, once the energy is absorbed from either source, the effects are basically the same.”

Technology Times file photo shows a young man seen using a mobile phone walking inside Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos.
Technology Times file photo shows a young man seen using a mobile phone walking inside Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos.

The NCC report further says that “An Australian group claimed to have evidence that living near television broadcast station towers causes an increase in childhood leukemia. However, follow-up studies conducted in Australia and in the UK contradicted this claim. The follow-up studies found no significant correlation between RF exposure and the rate of childhood leukemia in these cases.”

The Nigerian telecoms regulator says it reviewed several scientific data and studies in that of the World Health Organization (WHO) to draw it conclusions and also form opinion on the effects of electromagnetic frequency on human health.

“The main focus is on whether hazardous health effects occur at different exposure levels of electromagnetic frequency and in particular, in relation to long term exposure at such levels.”

According to the regulator, “Electromagnetic frequency is a measure of how many times the peak of a wave passes a particular point each second. It is measured in Hertz, which also can be written as simply “per second”. The frequency of a wave is one of its most fundamental principles, and the range of possible frequencies makes up something known as the electromagnetic spectrum. This runs from low-energy radio waves to high-energy gamma rays. Unlike its wavelength, the electromagnetic frequency of a wave doesn’t change.”

NCC says it decided to refocus attention on the issue following increasing attention from the public on the effects of mobile phone masts and antennas on human health.

“Apart from telecoms base station facilities, broadcast towers, radar facilities and even domestic electrical and electronic home appliance such as microwave ovens, television, radio and even remote controls also act as sources of radio frequency emissions”, the regulator says recommending that users take adequate precautionary measures against long exposure.

Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta
Professor Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission

The regulator says that with increasing focus on the effects of telecoms facilities on humans, “it should however be noted that people are often misled to think that electromagnetic emissions from telecommunication facilities is the same as or similar to nuclear and radioactive radiations. There are several reasons for these public fears and these include media announcements of new and unconfirmed scientific studies, leading to a feeling of uncertainty and a perception that there may be unknown or undiscovered hazards.”

NCC further justifies the public health impact probe noting that, “while mobile phones are becoming beneficial as a tool for monitoring and improving health, the radio frequency (RF) emission radiated by phones has called into question its effect on human health. In the last 15 years several researches have been conducted to establish mobile phone usage health risks. Globally, the number of cell phone subscriptions is estimated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to be five billion.

In the case of cellular phone technology, NCC says studies have shown that “EMR from cellular/cordless and hand-held radios have billions of times less energy needed to cause ionization or damage to DNA contained in human tissue. The rapid and widespread use of this technology, however, has raised concern over possible adverse health effects, in particular brain cancer.”

According to the telecoms regulator, “several studies which addressed this concern have been conducted in the United States and other countries. These studies seem to rule out, with a reasonable level of confidence, any association between EMR from these devices and cancer. A growing number of scientific experts have shifted positions regarding the use of these types of wireless devices. Many of these experts believe that a cancer risk is associated with EMR in the higher wattage ranges. For base stations located at radio sites, the consensus of the scientific community is that the power produced is far too low to cause health hazards so long as people are prevented from being in close proximity to the antennas.”

According to NCC, “No study, to date, has provided conclusive evidence that cell phones can cause any illnesses. However, ongoing studies are examining the issue more closely. Recent reports from Europe raised concern over possible links between cell phone use and tumours in the ear, with the risk being greater for children than adults. It is important to note that cellular/PCS and cordless telephones are relatively new technologies, and it is impossible to prove that any product or exposure is absolutely safe in the absence of long-term research.”

NCC calls out to users to also exercise “good precautionary approach”, while it also advised “adults to keep cell phone conversations short and to discourage the frequent, extended use of cell phones by children.”

NCC says that, “a notable danger involving the use of cellular phones is not radiation related, but is rather the increased risk of driving accidents while using them. The results of several studies indicate that talking on a cellular telephone while driving significantly increase the risk of accidents with some suggesting that it is almost as dangerous as driving while drunk.”

NCC says that, “a notable danger involving the use of cellular phones is not radiation related, but is rather the increased risk of driving accidents while using them. The results of several studies indicate that talking on a cellular telephone while driving significantly increase the risk of accidents with some suggesting that it is almost as dangerous as driving while drunk.”

 

Technology Times Reports News and reports from Technology Times Newsroom

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