ASSESSMENT OF ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATIONS FROM COMMUNICATION TRANSMISSION TOWERS - A CASE STUDY OF TANZANIA

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IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology
eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308
ASSESSMENT OF ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATIONS FROM
COMMUNICATION TRANSMISSION TOWERS - A CASE STUDY OF
TANZANIA
Christina P.Nyakyi1, Sadath Kalolo1, Mastidia Byanyuma2 and Anael Sam3
1Masters Student, 2 PhD Student, 3Senior Lecturer, The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology,
Arusha, Tanzania
nyakyic, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Abstract
The effects of exposure from electromagnetic radiations of wireless cellular transmission towers to human health have attracted the
attention of many researchers. Different works have revealed the harmful of electromagnetic radiation exposure to human health
based on distance from the source and period of exposure. As one stays closer and at a pro-longed period from the transmission sites,
the possibility of being affected by the radiation source becomes higher. In this work, we review some of the works on assessment of
electromagnetic radiation exposure and propose measures for determining safety zones based on the cases of cellular transmission
towers in the Tanzania environment to avoid extended exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
Key words- Cellular transmission towers; Electromagnetic radiations; Health effects; Exposure limits
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1. INTRODUCTION
perceived by any of the human senses unless its intensity is so
great to be felt as heat [2]. The ability of NIR to penetrate the
The development of any country depends on extent of
human body depends on the distance from the source, time
infrastructure
development
especially
in
the
taken to stay in the direction of the source as well as shielding
telecommunication sector. To accomplish the networks for
mechanism.
Telecommunication for accommodating multiple uses of
mobile phone applications and broadcasting services requires
Based on the standards and guidelines from the International
massive deployment of transmission towers to support
Committee of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and Word
capacity and coverage requirements. The installation of
Health Organization the public exposure limits from cellular
transmission towers raises the public concern on the health
towers are provided as shown on table 1 below [1].
effects from the exposure of radio frequency (RF) radiations.
Prior to installation of any RF transmission towers, the
Table 1 .ICNIRP Safety Limits
standard and the
guidelines
provided by International
Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
Service
ICNIRP
Safety
ICNIRP Safety Limit
requires to be
adhered[1]. However, in some developing
Frequency
limit E-field [V/m]
Power Density (W/m2)
countries like Tanzania, despite of the adherence to the
GSM 900
41.9
4.66
standards and guidelines, different RF transmission towers for
GSM 1800
58.4
9.05
different services are installed in single sites thus creating
WCDMA
61
9.87
difficulties
in
enforcing
compliance
to
standards
and
guidelines when towers of different services are co-located
As far as these exposure limits are concerned, the side effects
around residential areas.
can be discussed by considering the time that the object is
exposed to radiation and its distance from the source.
The proliferation of installation of RF transmission towers also
increases
the
level
of
electromagnetic
radiation.
This work is organized as follows; Section II reviews some of
Electromagnetic radiations are divided in two categories
the literatures that are related to this study. Section III covers
which are ionizing and non-ionizing. This paper deals with
our approach where we discuss the methods used to conduct
non-ionizing radiations (NIR) which encompass the long
this study and section IV concludes our work paving direction
wavelength (> 100 nm) and the low photon energy (<12.4 eV)
for further works.
portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, from 1 Hz to 3 x
1015 Hz. Except for the narrow visible region, the NIR is not
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349

IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology
eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
radiations [9]. Dumansky and Shandala (1974) and Lai et al.
(1989) observed different effects after different exposure
The increase in demand for cellular phones results in massive
durations. Thus, the effects of long term exposure can be quite
deployment of cellular towers that radiate signals travelling
different
from
those
of
short
term
exposure
to
RF
hundreds of meters to establish contact with individual cell
radiations[10].
phones [3]. This deployment can be noticed in close proximity
to even where people live and conduct their lives like schools,
Radiations from wireless cellular towers are associated with
hospitals, markets, and dense populated areas. The radiation
greater increase in brain tumor due to the damage in the blood
from these towers may be associated with health problems to
brain barrier and the cells in the brain which are concerned
humans [4]. A number of literatures have claimed that the
with learning, memory and movement [11]. A study by Carl
closer and the longer one stays to the radiation source, the
Blackman shows that weak electromagnetic radiations release
more prone one becomes to health.
calcium ions from cell membranes[12] which leaks into the
cytosol and acts as a metabolic stimulant, and accelerates
A study done by Chandran et al., (2012) on the impact of
growth and healing, but it also promotes the growth of tumors.
radiation on human health showed that people living within
Another possibility of DNA damage is via increased free
50m from the radiation source were likely to be affected by
radical formation inside cells [13] [14] which further causes
diabetes, heart diseases and hearing problems; and that those
cellular damage in the mitochondria. Irreversible infertility is
who live 100m away were likely to suffer respiratory
reported in mice [15] and continuous exposure has been
problems, skin diseases, hair loss and anemia [3].
associated with reduction in sperm viability and mobility by
around 25 percent in men.[16].
Lai et al., (2010) reveals results which show an increased
symptoms and complaints from persons living closer to a RF
Children are more vulnerable to radio frequency radiation
transmission tower. At less than 10m, symptoms include;
emissions as their skulls are thinner, their nervous system still
nausea, loss of appetite, visual disruptions, and difficulty in
developing and myelin sheath is yet not developed. A pregnant
moving. Significant differences are reported to occur within
woman and the fetus both are vulnerable because of the fact
100m for irritability, depressive tendencies, concentration
that
these
RF
radiations
continuously react
with
the
difficulties, memory loss, dizziness, and lower libido. Between
developing embryo and growing cells. Microwave radiation
100
and
200m,
symptoms
included
headaches,
sleep
damages the placental barrier, implying that pregnant woman
disruption, feelings of discomfort, and skin problems. Beyond
should not use cell phone.[17].
200m, fatigue is significantly reported more often. Women are
significantly reported to reveal symptoms more often than
The RF exposures adversely affect the heart pace maker,
men, except for libido loss. There was no increase in
implantable
cardiovascular
defibrillators
and
impulse
premature menopause in women in relation to distance from
generators [18].These radiations may stop Pace Maker from
towers [5].
delivering pulses in a regular way or may generate some kind
of external controlling pulse putting the patient to death.
Literatures also reveal that there is some evidence of
Studies of people who are exposed in their work (occupational
cumulative effects due to radiation. Phillips, et al (1998)
exposure), have shown to have elevated levels of health risks.
reported the DNA damage in cells after 24h exposure to low-
Another study reveals that workers who are in the highest 10%
intensity RF radiation (RFR) which can lead to gene mutation
category for electromagnetic exposure are twice as likely to
that accumulates over time [6]. Magras and Xenos (1997)
die of prostate cancer as those exposed at lower levels [19].
reported that mice exposed to low-intensity RFR became less
reproductive. Further, after five generations of exposure the
Exposure to electromagnetic fields has shown to be in
mice were not able to produce offspring which shows that the
connection with Alzheimer's disease, motor neuron disease
effects of RFR can pass from one generation to another[7].
and Parkinson's disease [20]. All these diseases are involved
Persson et al. (1997) reported an increase in permeability of
with the death of specific neurons and are classified as
the blood-brain barrier in mice when the energy deposited in
neurodegenerative diseases. Inhabitants living near wireless
the body exceeded 1.5J/kg, a measurement of the total amount
cellular base stations are also at risk for developing
of energy deposited. This suggests that a short-term, high-
neuropsychiatric problems as headache, memory loss, nausea,
intensity exposure can produce the same effect as a long-term,
dizziness, tremors, muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, altered
low-intensity exposure, and is another indication that RFR
reflexes, muscle and joint pain, leg/foot pain, depression, and
effects can accumulate over time [8].
sleep disturbance [21]. More severe reactions include seizures,
paralysis, psychosis and stroke. All point to the fact that the
Other biological effects have also been reported after long-
current exposure standards for microwaves are not safe for
term exposure to RF radiations. Effects are observed by
long-term exposure.
Baranski (1972) and Takashima et al. (1979) after prolonged,
repeated exposure but not after short-term exposure to RF
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Volume: 02 Issue: 08 | Aug-2013, Available @ http://www.ijret.org
350

IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology
eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308
3. METHODOLOGY
functions of time or distance, the model will require
consideration
of
other
parameters
like
power
of
the
Due
to
the
public
concern
on
the
installation
of
transmitter, gain of transmitting antenna and its height as well
communication transmission towers on the health effects from
as the distance toward object under exposure. The formulation
the exposure of radio frequency radiations (RFR), the
of this model is left as a direction of our future work.
assessment was conducted through literature works and we
have proved the presence of health effects due to radiation
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Volume: 02 Issue: 08 | Aug-2013, Available @ http://www.ijret.org
351

IJRET: International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology
eISSN: 2319-1163 | pISSN: 2321-7308
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