Report on cell tower radiation contains factual errors, mis-information and hoaxes

A professor of electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of technology, Bombay wrote a document titled “Report on cell tower radiation” and submitted it to the Department of Telecommunication (DOT). Apart from several unsubstantiated comments and wrong interpretation of concepts, the report contains news stories in a subsection titled “Epidemiological studies from different countries”.

One story was from Australia. Thus:

“The top floors of a Melbourne office building were closed down and 100 people were evacuated after a seventh worker in seven years was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The Australian Health Research Institute indicates that due to billions of times more in volume electromagnetic radiation emitted by billions of mobile phones, internet, intranet and wireless communication

data transmission, almost one-third of world population (about 2 billion) may suffer from Cell Phone Cancer beside other major body disorders like heart ailments, impotency, migraine,epilepsy by 2020.”

I sent excerpts of the report to many specialists. “I was responsible for carrying out the EMR measurements at the building.  The final result was that the incidence of cancer in that building was the same as the general population.” Mr, Chris Zombolas, the Managing Director of EMC Technologies Pty Limited, an internationally recognized company,  accredited by National Association of testing Authorities (NATA), Australia,  responded to this writer

“I believe that this is an alarmist report with many factual and technical errors.  The assertions are made without proper evidence from peer reviewed publications.”, Mr Zombolas added.

“What is the reputation of the Australian Health  Research Institute?” this writer asked him.  I also asked him whether he can give  any reference or publication  conceding that the cancer incidence in the building which was evacuated  was the same as the national rate.

Mr Zombolas asserted that he has never heard  of The Australian Health Research Institute. But he sent this writer a link which claims that it is a hoax. Me Zombolas found many errors in the tables listing guidelines for cell tower radiation in different countries.

 So, the IIT report is based on significant factual errors regarding limits in other countries, mis-information regarding cancer clusters and hoaxes!!

Regarding the evacuated building in Melbourne, Mr Zombolas sent the announcement from a reputable source that it was not a cancer cluster. You may access the report at:

 http://www.virtualmedicalcentre.com/news/the-melbourne-university-at-the-centre-of-a-brain-tumour-scare-has-again-been-cleared-of-harbouring-a-cancer-cluster/8935 

THE Melbourne university at the centre of a brain tumour scare has again been cleared of harbouring a cancer cluster.

An independent study found there was no evidence of a cancer cluster at RMIT University’s Building 108 in central Melbourne.The top two floors of the building, at 239 Bourke Street, were closed for more than two months earlier this year after tumours were found in two staff members.

Fears were raised that the tumours – among 16 to be detected in staff working in the building – were linked to two mobile phone towers on the roof. But RMIT today said independent occupational health and medical experts had confirmed there was no evidence of a cancer cluster among staff or students on levels 16 and 17 of the building. The results support the findings of an earlier medical report.

Dr John Gall, of Southern Medical Services, conducted medical consultations with many of the staff working in the building and dismissed fears of a cancer cluster on the upper levels. Dr Gall also said there was no evidence to support investigating the presence of a cancer cluster on levels 3-15 of the building. He said that the number of malignancies among staff was significantly lower than the number expected in a similar population and the tumours were of widely differing types. RMIT University Vice-President (Resources) and chief operating officer Steve Somogyi welcomed the results of the investigation.

“This confirms that in terms of brain cancer risks, the building is a safe place for work and study, no different from any other building in central Melbourne,” Mr Somogyi said.”The past few months have been stressful for staff and students using Building 108. I am confident that this update will clear the way for a return to normal operations in 2007.”

The findings were supported by Associate Professor Tony LaMontagne, of the University of Melbourne, who chairs the independent peer review panel examining Dr Gall’s findings. A medical report in August found that of the 16 tumours diagnosed in staff working in the building, six were benign, six were malignant and the other four were deemed to have been caused by external factors. Environmental tests carried out on the building following the closure found radiation levels were within safe and normal limits, ruling out the possibility that mobile phone towers on the roof had caused the tumours. (Source: University of Melbourne and Southern Medical Services : The Australian : December 20,2006.)

Stories on cancer clusters and other diseases  near cell phone towers are spread by vested interests selling screens, shields etc against cell tower radiation. News papers unwittingly help them by publishing such unsubstantiated stories.

A typical example from the blog of such a company: “Do your family members feel nauseated or irritated at the simplest events? Is your child unable to concentrate on his/her studies? Is your home near a mobile phone tower? May be, it’s time to get your house inspected for radiation levels and replace your cotton curtains with options that could block radiation.”

The WHO is aware of  scary stories on increased cancer incidence near cell towers and noted thus in its Fact Sheet No 304:

“Media or anecdotal reports of cancer clusters around mobile phone base stations have heightened public concern. It should be noted that geographically, cancers are unevenly distributed among any population. Given the widespread presence of base stations in the environment, it is expected that possible cancer clusters will occur near base stations merely by chance. Moreover, the reported cancers in these clusters are often a collection of different types of cancer with no common characteristics and hence unlikely to have a common cause.”

If any person masquerading as an expert talks about cancer, sleeplessness, hormonal disturbance etc and attribute them to cell tower radiation, please ask him whether he has any shield, curtain or paint against such radiation; chances are that he has. He will show you a price list! He will say that he developed them as he himself suffered from the health effects of cell tower radiation.

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About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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