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Presentation on EMF Radiation and Indian Case Study September 2013 R.K. Bhatnagar Advisor(Technology), DoT +91-9868133450 [email protected] Growing Tele-Density. Unprecedented growth in the communication sector in recent years, Manifold increase in mobile voice & data traffic =>

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Presentation on EMF Radiation and Indian Case Study

September 2013

R.K. Bhatnagar

Advisor(Technology), DoT


[email protected]

[email protected]; +91-9868133450

growing tele density
Growing Tele-Density
  • Unprecedented growth in the communication sector in recent years,
  • Manifold increase in mobile voice & data traffic =>
    • Exponential increase in a number of cellular towers in India and more & more towers erected each year.

November 2012 data

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wireless telephone network

Wireless Telephone Network

The popularity of cell phone and wireless communication devices has resulted in a proliferation of cell towers across the country. As on 31 Jan 2013, there are total 0.7466 Millions Base Transmitting Stations (BTS) in the country.

There has been public concerns on possible health hazards and impact on biota & environment due to EMF radiation from Mobile Towers /Handsets.

Some State Governments are imposing restrictions on installations of towers in school/ hospitals/ playgrounds/ Jail etc.

emf radiation norms

EMF Radiation Norms

The License conditions were amended on 4.11.2008, directing the licensees to comply to ICNIRP prescribed radiation norms.

Instructions were issued on 8.4.2010 for compliance of the radiation limits/ levels by way of self certification of their BTS to the respective Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM ) Cells of DoT.

TERM Cells carry out the testing of radiation levels on random basis for 10% of towers. If a site fails to meet the EMF Radiation criterion, there is a provision of penalty of about US$ 10,000 per BTS per service provider and directions to stop radiating from site.

revised radiation norms

Revised Radiation Norms

Based on the Recommendations of the Inter Ministerial Committee constituted by DoT in the year 2010, the limiting reference levels of Electromagnetic radiation from Mobile towers has been reduced to 1/10th of the limit prescribed by the ICNIRP with effect from 01.09.2012.

sar level for mobile handsets

SAR Level for Mobile Handsets

IMC also recommended adoption of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit to 1.6watt/Kg (averaged over 1 gm of tissue):

setting up telecom towers

Setting up Telecom Towers

  • GUIDELINES implemented 01.08.2009
  • Number of multiple antennas relates to same direction orientation.
  • Alternately operators through actual peak traffic time measurements, need to establish that exclusion zone does not cover areas with public exposure .
setting up telecom towers1

Setting up Telecom Towers

Wall Mounted/Pole mounted Antenna:

Antenna height ≥ 5 metre above ground/road level on flyovers.

No Residential place /office directly in front of the antenna at a height comparable to the antenna in the exclusion zone.

No restriction for installation of tower on/ near specific buildings such as schools/ hospitals/ playground etc. as new tougher standards based on precautionary principles apply equally to all locations with human presence.

report of international bodies on radiation upto 2011

Report of International Bodies on Radiation upto 2011

WHO Fact Sheet No. 193 of 2010

states that “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use”.

WHO in its Fact Sheet No. 193 of June 2011, has stated that there are some indications of an increased risk of glioma for those who reported the highest 10% of cumulative hours of cell phone use, although there was no consistent trend of increasing risk with greater duration of use.

Thus there is so far no conclusive scientific evidence of adverse health effects due to RF emissions from mobile phone towers.

WHO regularly conducts a formal risk assessment of all studied health outcomes from radiofrequency fields exposure.

rfp proposals on scientific studies

RFP PROPOSALs on Scientific Studies

Department of Science & Technology (DST) constituted a committee on 01.10.2012 to examine the possible harmful effects from Cell towers on the population living in the vicinity and to develop frame of reference for calling RFP for scientific assessment of health hazards and adverse impact on ecology in India specific context under the Chairmanship of Former Director General ICMR with representation from :

IIT Chennai,

Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow,

ICMR , Ministry of Health ,

Department of Telecom,

Ministry of Environment & Forest,

Dept of Science & Technology


More than 75 Proposals received as on 31.08.2013. Evaluation & award to take place

visit of author to who and itu feb 2013
Visit of author to WHO and ITU : Feb 2013
  • In a latest development, an Indian Delegation from DoT, Government of India had visited Geneva from 19 to 22 Feb. 2013 to discuss EMF Radiation related health issues with WHO Secretariat and Technical standards with ITU.
  • WHO officials suggested that lowering of the EMF radiation limit alone may not be adequate to achieve the desired results, though a strong regulation on siting of BTS Tower antennae could be more important. Few countries have imposed restrictions specifying the horizontal distance in regards to the installation of base station Antenna from sensitive locations in the urban planning itself.
  • Indian scenario with more than 10 mobile operators in each service area along with high population density was considered quite different from Europe

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visit to who and itu feb 2013
Visit to WHO and ITU : Feb 2013

The conditions in India and other developing countries are totally different from those in Europe in terms of

- mobile phone usages

  • number of operators
  • higher levels of population density
  • in-organic growth in urban areas
  • narrow lanes separating buildings
  • lower body mass index & fat content
  • lesser spectrum per operator
  • radiated power being 20 Watt per sector
  • higher levels of possible RF exposure on account of multiple operators having BTSs on same tower, and Antennas mounted at lower heights ,
  • Poor QoS also leads handsets to operate at higher levels of power
  • Outsourcing of infrastructure installation & maintenance to third parties by operators
  • Inadequate technical expertise at field level and local authorities to understand exclusion zone calculations based on ITU K series recommendations.

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visit to who iarc and itu feb 2013
Visit to WHO, IARC and ITU : Feb 2013
  • Officials from International Agency on Cancer Research (IARC) (Part of WHO) at Lyon, France indicated that in Europe Mobile Towers are not considered as a threat as Antennas are at higher levels /heights and fairly distant apart.
  • During discussions on Indian scenario, IARC felt that their present research that is addressing only Mobile Handsets may have to be reassessed to include Mobile Towers also.
  • A research project focusing on measurements of exposure levels from base stations in densely populated areas and areas covered by many base stations, level of usage, and measurements of emissions from regular and counterfeit mobile phones, was considered to be of great scientific interest by IARC.
  • Based on the suggestions from IARC, Mobile Handset usage study was taken up by licensor in India.

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visit to who iarc and itu feb 20131
Visit to WHO, IARC and ITU : Feb 2013
  • IARC Monographs 102 released in April 2013 states:

“Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields are Possibly CARCINOGENIC to humans (Group 2B)” Page 421

  • DoT obtained the latest version of ITU’s EMF estimator Software and organized an ITU Workshop on 21st & 22nd May 2013 at Delhi. The Workshop has facilitated Indian Telecom Service Providers for better evaluation on the human exposure to electromagnetic field from multiple sources of communication installation, and for taking steps to reduce the radiation levels in the areas around transmitting stations.
  • Minutes of Usage/ Hours of Mobile Hand Usage by Indian Service Providers has been collected from Indian Mobile Operators across various Licensing Service Areas, based on IARC suggestion. There are 22 Licensed Service Areas and on an average, there are 10 Mobile Operators in each Licensed Area.

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visit to who iarc and itu feb 20132
Visit to WHO, IARC and ITU : Feb 2013
  • Typical Results show that on an average more than 100,000 Mobile users of one operator in one licensed service area have about 2 hours of mobile usage per day. Taking on an average 10 operators in all the 22 service area in India, at least 20 million mobile users have mobile usage of 2 or more hours per day. More data obtained later covering 95 Licenses from 6 Operators further confirmed the above findings.
  • In Europe, the tariff for mobile service is higher than fixed telephone service and the Tele-density for both Mobile & Fixed Lines phones is comparable to the level of 100+ in Europe and that explains lower levels of usage of mobile.

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CARRIED out based ON Suggestions



In Feb 2013

Actual CDR Based Data used from 94 Licensees out of 200+ Indian Mobile Licensees spread over 23 Licensing Areas for Quarter 1 2013

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need for emf estimator update
  • Though ITU Recommendations on EMF calculations including exclusion zone distance calculations and EMF Estimator Software are available, but further up-gradation of the software is required.
  • India has already written to Secretary General (ITU) & Director TSB (ITU) with a request to make it more user friendly and a special feature incorporating acceptance of Excel data based BTS data inputs by EMF Estimator software and avoiding manual keying of all the data. Further, linkages with 3D maps have also been requested.

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additional inputs from itu workshop at turin italy
Additional Inputs from ITU Workshop at Turin Italy
  • ITU Workshop on Human Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) at TURIN, ITALY on 9th May 2013
  • Issued “”Turin Call to Action” on compliance with harmonised EMF Standards and addressing public concern regarding human exposure to EMF and possible health effects.
  • ITU Study Group 5, Working Party 2, Question 7 has called upon to collaborate with Policy Makers, Standards Development Organisations, ICT Industry, and relevant international and regional organisations on:

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OVERVIEW OF INDIAN POLICY “Electro Magnetic Field(EMF) Radiation from Mobile Towers & Handsets”

INDIAN STUDY RESULTs On EMF compliance Networks and Devices

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additional inputs from itu workshop at turin italy1
Additional Inputs from ITU Workshop at Turin Italy

Compliance with harmonized EMF Standards and addressing public concern regarding human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and possible health effects

  • “Turin Call to Action”
  • Shaping the Global Agenda through ITU Recommendations
  • Lead with vision adopting best practices & effective policies consistent with WHO
  • Harmonised EMF standards & measurement procedures
  • Promote EMF information and education resources
  • Share knowledge and raise resources
  • Enhance cooperation between organisations, standardisation bodies, R&D units, Governments on EMF compliance
  • Support WHO and other stakeholders on clarification of EMD Scientific uncertainities
  • Identify strength & weaknesses of compliance implementation
  • Mobilise EMF expertise for further collaboration on projects with WHO/ ITU
  • An Annual EMF Information Forum

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additional inputs from who seminar on rf fields at paris france
Additional Inputs from WHO Seminar on RF Fields at Paris, France
  • International Stakeholder Seminar on Radiofrequency Policies
  • 5 June 2013 Paris, France(hosted by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, ANSES)
  • Summary Analysis of WHO 2012 Survey on Risk Management Policies regarding EMF
  • Policies on exposure from Mobile Devices, Tower Installations, Occupational exposure
  • Policy Patterns based on

- Evidence

- Precautionary Principles

- Voluntary

- Consultation

  • Indian policy implemented on 1st Sep. 2012 put under ‘PRECAUTIONARY Approach’
  • WHO accepted the suggestions that inputs from all parts of world should be considered while finalising any Reports/ Guidelines.

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additional inputs from who seminar at paris france
Additional Inputs from WHO Seminar at Paris, France
  • Presentations included from

- WHO : International EMF Project

- ITU Activities on EMF

- IARC EMF Activities

- ICNIRP Activities on EMF

- IEC 7C106 EMF Activities

- European Union activities concerning EMF

- Public Health, England

- Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS)

- Research Review of Laboratory Studies

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additional inputs from who seminar at paris france1
Additional Inputs from WHO Seminar at Paris, France
  • Summary Analysis of WHO 2012 Survey on Risk Management Policies regarding EMF

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WHO International EMF Project

ANSES, Paris, France 6 - 7 June 2013

Country Specific EMF Reports

- Argentina , Australia

- Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria

- Canada, Cyprus

- Finland,

- Germany, Greece

- Iceland, India, Israel

- Korea

- Malaysia

- Newzealand, Norway

- Palestine, Peru

- SouthAfrica, Sweden Switzerland

- Turkey, Tunisia

- UK

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IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 102 (2013)

Non-Ionizing Radiation, Part 2: Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields

full volume (460 pages, 6 Mb)

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Page 419 (421/480) IARC Monograph 102 Chapter 6

6.1 Cancer in Humans

There is limited evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation. Positive associations have been observed between exposure to radiofrequency radiation from wireless phones and glioma, and acoustic neuroma.

6.2 Cancer in Experimental Animals

There is limited evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of radiofrequency radiation.

6.3 Overall Evaluation Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B).

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Summary Analysis of WHO 2012 Survey on Risk Management Policies regarding EMF

Exposure Limits Mobile Devices (85 countries)

- 62 countries follow 2 W/ Kg

- 15 Countries no policy

- 7 countries 1.6 W/Kg

- 1 country to go based on evidence

Information to Consumers on Mobile Devices

- 20 countries Yes

- 48 countries No

- 8 Yes though not part of policy

It could be on device, packaging, display shelf, internet

Mobile Phone Usage Limitations on Children

25 countries voluntary measures by children with 12 restricting in schools. Some countries restrict advertisements targeting children while some do not issue SIM to children.

Advice on reducing Personal Exposure to RF Fields emitted by Mobile Devices

- 44 out of 75 : Yes

with 24 having special messages for children,

9 for pregnant ladies and

13 for those with biomedical devices

- Reduce Call Time

- Text messages

- Avoid calls in low signal conditions

- Use phones with low SAR

- Maintain body/ ear distance from handset

- Use external car antenna

Advice Information to Consumers through

- Printed material

- Website

- Mass Media/ Radio / TV

- Individual personal8 Yes though not part of policy

Answers to Health Queries

44 out of 75 respond to individuals on health concerns including medical consultancy support in some.

Exposure Limits from Mobile Towers

- 77 out of 85 : Yes

with 55 with ICNIRP standards,

4 countries with their own scientific evidence based limits

2 with FCC limits

16 with lower limits (13 based on precautionary approach)

Emission Limits in one form or other

- Specified in 31 (Low Power/ High Power/ Radio/ TV etc)

- 43 countries : Not Specified

Restrictions on Public Access

- 56 out of 74 : Yes

through signage, physical barriers, safety zones with access to authorised personnel


- 60 out of 76 : Yes

Entitled Parties & Payment

Accreditation schemes in 31 and no schemes in 29 countries

Recording Measurements/ estimates required in 47 countries out of 75

Authorisation for Fixed Installations

Yes in 62 out of 77

Spatial Distribution Provisions

Yes in 39 out of 74


IARC and WHO need to go further from IARC Monographs’ 102 findings with focus on latest available inputs from developing world outside Europe. Inputs from Indian Case Study as above, is an example.

ITU needs to have a relook at all EMF related initiatives through Study Groups. Possibly a new ITU Focus Group on ‘EMF Radiation & Health Issues’ cutting across ITU-T, ITU-R and ITU-D needs to be constituted for delivery of time bound results instead of 4 years cycle.

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An ITU Handbook on EMF Radiation could also be taken up in the proposed Focus Group.

It can include ITU’s generic guidelines on EMF including safe distances to be maintained for populated location directly falling within the main radiated lobe coverage based on typical shared sites radiating at say 20 Watts/ sector along with other safe usage instructions.

The Handbook should also include “How to minimize exposures to EMF Radiations from Mobile Towers and handsets”, Do’s& Don’t related to mobile phone usage, clarifications on various myths regarding deployment, use of Radio waves / Safety Standards and frequently asked questions relating to Mobile phones & Human health.

The Handbook shall help in facilitating the right inputs for world telecom community and create an environment where everyone can use the radio wave safely.

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Some Additional Inputs for ITU-TRCSL Workshop Participants
  • A. ITU-D SG1 Final Report on Question 23/1 (30th September 2013):
  • Strategies and policies concerning human exposure to electromagnetic fields includes INDIAN EMF Case Study
  • B. Indian EMF Case StudyITU-D SG01
  • Study Group 1
  • Contribution 278
  • Received on 2013-08-01 From India (Republic of)
  • Related to question(s) : Q23/1
  • Meeting 2013-09-09
  • Word 2010 802150 bytes 2013-08-13 11:04:58[278]
  • PDF (acrobat) 2908476 bytes 2013-09-26 13:02:11[278] Annex 1

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Some Additional Inputs for ITU-TRCSL Workshop Participants : Issues referred in Presentation of 3rd October 2013
  • 1.Interconnect Exchange Case Study by Rakesh Kumar Bhatnagar: ‘Sharing of Infrastructure’ : Year 2004
  • 2.Interconnection Report ITU-D SG1 as Chairman Project Group on Interconnection (2002-2006 cycle): Published year 2004
  • 3.Indian IPv6 Deployment Roadmap version II : March 2013
  • 4.Question 10-3/2: Telecommunications/ICTs for rural and remote areas: Document 2/320-E
  • Sharing of Active and Passive Infrastructure along with sharing of Spectrum resources is already in some countries in their National Telecom Policy.
  • New licensees with the support of universal service fund and sharing of active, passive network elements based on Reference Offers along with spectrum resources can service rural and remote areas with incremental addition of their own network infrastructure elements, billing systems and customer services & independent tariff plans.

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