The Radiation risks of 4G Technology and Smartphones
Over 15.8 million LTE devices were shipped to India in the first quarter of 2016 (January – March 2016). The next big telecom revolution is knocking on the doors. The 4th generation technology – commonly referred to as 4G is expected to be a great enabler in transforming, digitizing our daily lives, adding manifold degrees of efficiencies. However, as always, there is a flip side of 4G in terms of health issues. We try to elaborate this in this post.
4G, the technology, is several times more potent health hazard than any of the preceding technologies in terms of GSM/ CDMA or 3G. Most of the big operators are going to operate 4G in the bands of 1800/2300 MHz – which is not a very efficient band for 4G. This will mean more antennas and higher capex, or coverage drop areas. Both these factors actually intensify the exposure risks. More high power towers need to be erected to serve the demand at 1800/2300 MHz thereby increasing incident EMR – else erecting, too few number of towers could be counterproductive – as it would result in increasing the 4G smartphone radiation. Reducing the number of towers weakens signals, resulting in per station higher output – and higher 4G smartphone radiation. Also because of the lower carpet area coverage, 4G towers will have a propensity to stay closer to the colonies and habitations – something that has received a lot of resistance in parts of the country (Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Noida etc).
From the devices perspective, in order to make their smartphones hyper-capable in terms of receiving the full bandwidth of 4G spectrum, smartphone manufacturers are equipping these phones with multiple numbers of antennas inside the same device. This feature called MiMo (Multiple Input, Multiple Output), connect to a 4G station in multiple strands to add on to the download or upload capability of the device. This only increases the density of EMR around the smartphone. Given that a lot of media time is getting to be spent on a smartphone, this increases the exposure risk manifold. By the same logic, when the same device is taken into a zero network area, all the antennas exert as much pressure to seek 4G signals making the phone a hotbed of EMR. This, in turn, leads to battery drainage and multiple battery chargings and dischargings have their own signature of EMFs which is also an identified health hazard.
Under no circumstance do we, Brightsandz decry telecommunication or cell towers or 4G phones. All we are keen about it is for people to be aware of the risks associated with these new technologies. 60% of exposure avoidance is about changing lifestyle habits – and then there are device solutions such as anti-radiation phone pouches or anti-radiation Air-tubes, Bluetooth Air Tubes. If you perceive a risk in your neighborhood due to a new installation of cell phone tower, please get your home, premise, society audited. It is key to understand the exposure and the risks thereof and take an educated basis the same.