Mobile Health Hazard: Reality or Myth?
Manish Das DGM (New Services) For many people worldwide, Mobile phones have become part of their way of life. In countries like us too, the number of Mobile phone users is increasing at a very high rate. Plummeting cost of the Mobile handsets as well as call charges have fuelled this growth. Mobile phones are basically low power devices that emit and receive radio waves. It is radio waves that connect each phone to a network of base stations, so that users can make and receive calls. Base stations (BTS) are also basically radio transmitters and receivers. They have antennas, mounted either on roof top masts or towers, which transmit and receive radio signals. Each BTS has its own areas of coverage , known as cells. Cells usually have a radius of few kilometers. However, more base stations are needed where mobile phone usage is high. So, in rural areas cells can have a radius of 4-6 km, while in towns and cities their radius may be as low as a few hundred meters. They overlap at the edges to ensure that mobile phone users remain within range of a base station. Without sufficient base stations in the right locations, mobile phones will not work. Due to the licensing policy of government, each city in India is supposed to have four GSM operators. Most of the cities are already having two operators, few are having three. Very soon all the cities will have at least three operators beaming radio waves from base stations. City like Calcutta will have no less than 400 base stations in near future. This unprecedented growth in use of radio signals has led to a public debate all over world, specially in western countries, about possible impact on health due to use of mobile phones. Is it safe? One of the first allegations regarding ill effects of mobile phone on health came in public in 1992 in a U.S. court. A lawsuit filed in Florida by David Reynard alleged that the use of a cell phone had caused his wife's fatal brain cancer. A...
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