Concerned by the rumours of cancer-causing radiation, she had an audit conducted by an independent agency, which testified that the levels of radiation in the vicinity were very high. Labelling the towers as a ‘potential health hazard’, she went on to claim that the residents of the neighbourhood were living in microwave-like conditions, and insisted that the towers be relocated as soon as possible.
While there has been much talk about the dangers of the radiation concentrated around these towers — especially those stationed in thickly-populated residential areas — not much has been done in terms of ensuring the safety of the people who live in close proximity to them. In Bangalore, mobile towers are situated in many places like Dommasandra, Yelahanka and Gottigere to name a few. Metrolife speaks to a few doctors and Bangaloreans to find out whether these mobile towers are a cause for worry.
Dr Huliraj, who also happens to be a resident of Yelahanka — where one such tower is stationed — admits that while he has come across claims that mobile towers cause harmful radiation, they are yet to be verified. “All said and done, we don’t have too much scientific data to prove this. Rather, we are going by the opinion of American and British doctors. We need to conduct a perspective study into this topic,” he says.
However, he adds that there is a reasonable possibility that the radiation can be linked to several health issues. “Any radiation or emission is dangerous — it can cause major cardiac events, like palpitations or arrest, and some claim that it can reduce hearing as well. But while such statements are common, as a specialist it’s difficult to confirm this without data,” he explains.
These rumours may not be confirmed, but that doesn’t mean Bangaloreans are completely indifferent to them. Anne Rosemary, who owns a bakery on Sarjapur Road, says that it’s essential for the government to either confirm or deny such claims before allowing mobile towers to be stationed in residential areas.
“Nothing has been proved, but since there is a lot of talk about it, it can be true. A lot of people say radiation can effect one’s health, and the government needs to find out more about this, instead of being lethargic about it,” she insists.
Vandana Vaidya, a lawyer who lives on Bannerghatta Road, not far from the Gottigere tower, echoes these concerns. “I’m not sure about the repercussions of these towers. I’ve heard through hearsay that some women get breast cancer because of the radiation. But the period that the tower’s been put up isn’t long enough to confirm this,” she says.
She adds that it’s best to avoid stationing such towers in residential areas.
“It will take a while to validate these rumours, but it’s best not to put towers in residential areas. Cellphone technology is relatively new, and we don’t know much about it. We don’t want to regret later about not being cautious,” she says.