Rajini’s 2.0 sparks debate on cell tower radiation

Not enough studies to conclude how it impacts humans, say doctors.

Cellular Operators Association of India says the film 2.0 is spreading misinformation about radiation impact from mobile towers. (Above) A scene from the film. 

Rajinikanth-starrer 2.0 is out and has triggered many conversations, one of them being the harmful effects of mobile towers on birds and living organisms. 

Ornithologists in the city believe that setting up of mobile towers could have led to depletion of vegetation but need not necessarily have affected bird life. 

Dr M B Krishna, ornithologist says, “It is known that short-wave radiation can cause damage in living beings; they could damage the DNA. The effects of long-wave radiation do not translate to anything genetic, it can only cause minor alterations.”  

Setting up of mobile towers could have led to the removal of trees, which could have affected the habitat in the area, he adds.    

Prof T V Ramachandra (Centre for Ecological Sciences) from IISc, points out that a study by IIT Bombay highlights the effects of radiation from mobile towers on biological organisms and humans. 

“Another observation is that fertility could be seriously affected by mobile tower radiation. There have been instances where patients have been advised by doctors to move out of areas which have mobile towers located around them. Around 3 to 4 people approached me to check about these facts too,” he says. 

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Ramachandra adds, “Mobile towers should not be placed where human habitation is, keeping in mind that renewability is a part of the human process. The government should constitute a committee to study the scenario and come up with viable solutions.” 

Exposure to radiation from mobile towers can affect the physiological process of human beings, says Dr Chandil Gunashekar, general physician at a clinic in Basavangudi. 

“As there are no statutory warnings, people assume the issues are minimal. But anything that is disturbing over a constant period of time will leave a detrimental impact,” he says. 

Medical practitioners in the city say that though there are no researches which prove the harmful effects of mobile towers, radiation can affect human health in many ways.

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Dr Anil R, consultant neurologist, Columbia Asia Hospital, says, “There are views that the radiation can harm the nervous system and the conduction system of the heart but there is no data available on this. The possible effects of radiation are a malignancy, or harm to ion channels of the nerves, which can lead to memory issues, irritability and affect mental health.” 

He adds that sleep ailments like insomnia can be triggered due to mobile usage. 

There are discussions that radiation from mobile towers is tumorigenic but there is no record of this, says Dr Ravi Gopal Varma, lead consultant-neurosurgery and chief of neurosciences, Aster CMI Hospital.

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“We haven’t seen an increase in brain tumours in the last decade where usage of mobile phones increased. However, the heat that many mobile equipments emit is alarming. We saw cases with edema of the hearing nerve causing temporary hearing loss; when the person stayed away from a bluetooth headset for a month, his hearing was restored,” says Dr Ravi.   

People who use mobile phones extensively can also have skin eczema around the ear, says Dr Vijaya Gowri, consultant dermatologist, Sakra World Hospital. 

“We have around 4 to 5 cases per month. There can be cases of skin eczema, tumours and even cancer among those who are exposed to continuous radiation from mobile towers in the coming years,” she adds.

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Rajini’s 2.0 sparks debate on cell tower radiation

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