Cell tower radiation

cell tower rules

As per Department of Telecom (DoT) guidelines, effective from 1 August 2013:

  • Cell towers, just like hoardings on buildings, need BMC permissions from Building Proposal department at Byculla. Please make sure the cell tower operator is complying with these requirements.
  • The prescribed limit for radiation is 450 milliwatts/sq mt for 900 MHz (1 W/sq mt for 2100 MHz and above). The fine to the cell tower operator for exceeding this limit is Rs 5 lakhs.
  • There would be maximum RF power of 20 W per antennae
  • Local Municipal body may seek NOC from roof-top tenants.
  • There would be no building directly in front of a ground based or roof-top antenna, as per distances specified below:
Number of antennae pointed in the same direction As per DoT guidelines – Building/ structure safe distance from antennae at the same height (mts)
1 20 m
2 35 m
4 45 m
6 55 m

Maharashtra government has issued directives for mobile tower installation and a corrigendum, effective June-July 2014. You may also download the Maharashtra government Urban Development Policy for mobile towers, dated 4 March 2014.

Complain about suspected high cell tower radiation:

TERM (Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring) cell is supposed to conduct sample surveys of 10% of the total mobile phone towers (27,642) in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. If you think there is excessive radiation in your building premises, you can complaint at TERM cell in Mumbai at:

cell phone usage guidelinesSimple Do’s and Dont’s for cell phone usage

We do not have to be fearful or stressed about radiation, but simple Do’s and Don’ts while using a cell phone can help a lot:

  • Please avoid children from using the cell phone, since children’s skulls are thinner than adults and have more fluids. Hence pregnant ladies must also reduce usage of cell phones.
  • No one should sleep with their cell phone under the pillow OR next do them. Infact it is recommended not to have any electrical appliances next to you while you sleep.
  • According to Spanish Neuro Diagnostics Research Institute, just speaking on the cell phone for 2 minutes can alter the natural electrical activity in the brain for upto one hour.
  • According to University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, by moving the cell phone just 5 cm (approx 2 inches) away from your head while talking on it, you reduce the electromagnetic radiation that reaches your head by 75%. Ideally phone must be kept 15-18 cm (approx 6-7 inches) away from the body.
  • Using Air tube headsets is better than using wired headsets which also act as antennae.
  • Blue tooth emits 1/100th emission than a regular phone, but extended usage is not recommended.
  • We generally keep our cell phones in hip pockets. Our hip produces 80% of our bodies RBC and is suseptible to radiation. Close proximity can also effect fertility. Position the cell phone with keypad facing you. This way antenna faces away from the body tissues, which easily absorbs radiation.
  • Avoid using cell phones in metal enclosures like lifts, as the radiation is reflected. Also avoid using cell phones when moving fast, like in cars, trains, as cell phones increase power to connect to the next base station.
  • Use cell phones only when signal strength is strong
  • Cell phones use full power when it is dialling out. Hence while dialing out, please hold the phone away from your body till it is picked up at the other end.
  • Cordless phones emit more radiation than cell phones, hence make use of regular wired phones as far as possible.
  • Microwave ovens are also a significant source of magnetic fields and RF radiation.
  • Like cell phone radiation, WiFi radiation is classified by W.H.O. as a possible 2B carcinogen. Like all such devices, radiation drops as distance increases, so keep your distance from WiFi routers.
  • You can also download Apps on your cell phone, like EMF Hazards Detector or EMF Sensor Free, and get an indication of the radiation levels in your room.

cell tower rulesSummary of my report submitted to Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament (MP)

India will have roughly 5 lakh mobile towers by 2014, consuming a huge amount of energy – about 2.7 crore units of electricity and over 200 crore litres of diesel daily.

Country Short term exposure radiation norms (mW/sq m) Frequency
Austria 1 600 to 3000 MHz
Belgium (local) 24 600 to 3000 MHz
Canada 5,300 – 10,000 800 to 2400 MHz
China 100 – 400 600 to 3000 MHz
Germany 10 600 to 3000 MHz
Italy 1,000 Upto 3000 MHz
Switzerland 43 – 96 900 to 1800 MHz
USA 5,800 – 10,000 600 to 3000 MHz

The worldwide standards for cell tower radiation (short term exposure only) are:
Source: http://media.withtank.com/cdc0dbf00b.pdf

In India, the radiation norms have been adopted according to INCRP (International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection). However expert, IIT Prof Girish Kumar says, “We are just making mockery of the INCRP guidelines, as they clearly say that it is to protect against the short-term gross heating with average of over six minute per day. But here in India, it is adopted for 24 hours, equal to putting someone daily in a microwave for 19 minutes or more”. www.emwatch.com/Cellmasts.htm says that 400 metres from a cell tower is a safe distance for most people and if you detect more than 100 mVolts/m radiation in places where you spend several hours a day, you might consider moving.

Various studies:

Science and Engineering Research Board (under Ministry of Science and Technology) has invited R&D proposals (14 Jun 2013) to study possible impact of EMF radiation on human, plant and animal life.

Based on issue flagged by Minister of state (Science and Technology) Ashwani Kumar (20 Jul 2012), PM’s expert panel would do a study on the impact of cell tower radiation on health.

A division bench of the Jaipur high court issued a showcause notice (2 Mar 2012) to 13 mobile companies besides central and state authorities on the issue of health hazards being caused by electro-magnetic radiations emitted by mobile towers posing serious threat to public health and safety, saying “The mobile towers are having no fixed criterion of emission of radiations and there were nine major directions given by the inter-ministerial committee in recent past but the same are also not being followed. Permission should be sought before putting a mobile tower near school, in residential colony, and public places but the same were also not followed.”

Ministry for Environment and Forests commissioned a study to understand the impact of cell tower radiation in the wake of disappearance of certain birds, bees and insects (Feb 2012).

A draft report of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (Nov 2011), has expressed shock that Department of Telecommunication has no monitoring mechanism to verify authenticity of the self-certification of the operators, deprecating “such a mindless arrangement made by the DoT to check the radiation level.” PAC’s Murli Manohar Joshi rejected the regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s opinion that self-certification is an option until some effective and reliable mechanism to regularly collect the EMF radiation signals is developed. DoT had washed its hands off by issuing a circular (Nov 2009), asking the mobile companies to test and self-certify the radiation emitting from their Base Transceiver Stations.

An inter-ministerial committee formed by the Indian government (Jan 2011) suggested that radiation from cell towers should be brought down by one-tenth of the existing levels and also said that there should be provisions for continuous online monitoring and display of radiation levels for the public. A mobile unit will have to be ready for such measurement when necessary.

Union Minister of State for Communications and Technology Sachin Pilot said (30 Oct 2010), “All the service providers were asked to get their base trans-receiver station self-certified for radiation norms and submit them to the respective TERM (Telecom Engineering and Resource Monitoring) cell of the DoT by November 15, 2010. TERM will begin a nationwide random testing next month and companies found emitting more than the approved levels of radiation will be fined Rs. 5 lakh per tower. A national database with information of all base stations and their emission compliance is being created and will be posted on the DoT website.”

Please check for more information: