What is radiation?

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Mobile phones have a life changing impact on our lives today. The mobile ecosystem has helped us stay connected with everyone and everything that matters to us. What makes this possible is a complex yet sophisticated and advanced technology and mobile infrastructure.

Mobile towers have been under fire in the recent years. Various individuals and lobbies have alleged that they are the cause of serious ailments and impact our mental and emotional health. There are allegations that radiation from mobile towers can mutate our DNA. Not only are these information pieces misleading, they are far from scientific reality.

When we hear the word radiation, we immediately think of complicated waves and diagrams. Radiation is simply energy emitted as electromagnetic waves or as miniscule sub-atomic particles. Radiation is of two types:

  1. Ionising Radiation, e.g. X Rays and Gamma rays
  2. Non Ionising Radiation, e.g. TVs, radios, mobile towers

Now let’s break this down a little.

Prolonged exposure to ionising radiation can lead to health problems. Have you noticed how every time you go for an X-ray, women are asked if they are pregnant? That is because we don’t want to expose developing fetuses to ionising radiation. X Rays used to detect bone abnormalities or fractures are therefore given in miniscule bursts, not nearly enough to cause harm. However the reality is that ionising radiation can be harmful because they carry with them enough energy to eject an electron from the cell, thus altering the structure of these cells.

On the other hand, your everyday gadgets like LED and Plasma televisions, radio transistors, microwave ovens, overhead high-tension power cables and mobile telephone towers emit non-ionising radiation. These are very weak! Non-ionising radiations don’t carry enough energy to be able to make any impact on our cell structures or DNA, it simply induces the movement of atoms. Examples of non-ionizing radiation include infrared, microwaves, and light along the visible spectrum.

There have been innumerable studies undertaken across the globe and in India, which demonstrate that low energy non-ionising radiation does not have any impact on our health or lives. Besides, the acceptable non-ionising or mobile tower emission standards of India are 10 times more stringent than what is followed in most of the countries. But more on that, in my next blog post!

For now, let me assure you that radiation from mobile towers are of the non-ionising kind, and do not impact you and your family’s health. We really have no reason to worry after all!

Source: WHO, IARC, ICNIRP

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