Serious concern over cellphone masts
REPORTS BY MUSA SIMELANE
MBABANE – The Consumer Association of Swaziland has expressed some serious concern about the health dangers caused by radiation from cellphone masts or antennas.
Several international scientific research studies have concluded that the radiation (micro waves) emitted by the masts or towers which work within a micro electromagnetic field, have been responsible for illnesses such as headaches, sleep disturbance, irritability, depression, memory loss and concentration problems.
Even more gravely, the radiation has been found to cause a variety of cancers.
Bongani Mdluli, the association’s chairman, in an interview yesterday, said they had, for some time, been aware of this matter.
Mdluli said what they found to be very disturbing was that local communication companies had been aware, but no precautionary measures were put in place.
"Not so long ago, a scientific study was conducted in South Africa and it confirmed the element of hazardousness to health. This is why we, as an association, feel that the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) should commission an inquiry into this issue," said Mdluli.
Meanwhile, a new study by Brazilian scientists from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) revealed that there was a direct link to 7 191 cancer deaths from cellular antennas radiation. The study established a direct link between cancer deaths in Belo Horizonte, the third largest city, with the antennae of the mobile telephone network, reported in Science Hoje site, the news portal of the Brazilian Society for Progress Science (Sociedad Brasileña para el Progreso de la Ciencia.) The results gave a warning in a country where, according to the latest data available, at least one person has a cell phone in 82 per cent of the residences.
According to the engineer Dr. Adilza Condessa Dode, UFMG researcher and coordinator of the study, repeated exposure of cell phone users to the electromagnetic radiation transmitted by the device and the antennas is not as safe as indicated by other research.
According to the study, more than 81 per cent of people who die in Belo Horizonte from specific types of cancer live less than 500 meters away from the 300 identified cellphone antennas in the city.
Scientists found that between 1996 and 2006 in Belo Horizonte, a total of 4 924 victims within 500 metres and 7 191 within 1 000 metres died of cancer types that may be caused by electromagnetic radiation, such as tumors in the prostate, breast, lung, kidneys and liver.
According to estimates quoted by the researcher, the level of local radiation in excess of 300 GHz antennas considered maximum under Brazilian law of 2009.
"These levels are already high and dangerous to human health. The closer you live to an antenna, the greater the contact with the electromagnetic field," Dode was quoted as having said.
The researcher claimed that the antennas of the devices themselves were also dangerous.
"The power emitted by the cell- phone is continuous and exacerbated by the position of the antennas that are directed toward the user’s brain," he said.
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