Is Chennai’s Mobile Tower Radiation Causing Cancer?

EMF levels from Mobile Towers

The Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) radiation coming from mobile phones have always been a matter of great concern for citizens across the world.

Airtel has 9,607 mobile towers in Chennai, the most among all mobile telephone service providers. Vodafone (7,768) is second and Reliance Jio (6,190) third.


A search on the Airtel Open network website will give you the abundance of telecom towers in the city.

Airtel Open Network

Though on one side the coverage is very encouraging the question that runs in the mind is if the presence of so many towers have any impact on the human health.

Health Impacts of High Radiation

Power lines and electrical appliances that emit non-ionizing EMFs are now present everywhere in homes and workplaces. For example, Wifi networks are nearly always “on” and are becoming almost omnipresent.

Currently there has been no established study whereLF-EMFs or radio frequency radiation is linked to cancer either in mice / mouse or humans. Unlike high-energy (ionizing) radiation, EMFs in the non-ionizing part of the electromagnetic spectrum and cannot damage DNA or cells directly.

If it does not Cause Cancer Directly Why Panic?

According to a study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information prolonged exposure to EMF also emitting from Mobile phones can have a detrimental impact on Eyes, Nervous System, Visual System, Endocrine System, Immune System, Hematologic and Cardiovascular Systems.

Some scientists have speculated that ELF-EMFs could cause cancer through other mechanisms, such as by reducing levels of the hormone melatonin. There is some evidence that melatonin may suppress the development of certain tumors.

Studies of animals have not provided any indications that exposure to ELF-EMFs is associated with cancer (9–12). The few high-quality studies in animals have provided no evidence that Wi-Fi is harmful to health (7).

Although there is no known mechanism by which non-ionizing EMFs could damage DNA and cause cancer, even a small increase in risk would be of clinical importance given how widespread exposure to these fields is.

Chennai’s EMF Radiation Levels

We are exposed to EMF radiation from the following various sources.


Radiation from a mobile phone increases exponentially in low coverage areas, or shadow zones. The biggest risk is the proximity of a mobile phone – it radiates at close quarters to the brain. So when your mobile phone has lesser bars and it is trying reach more people,


WiFis are seldom switched off. Therefore we have a low din- consistent and perpetual radiation exposure.


These “purchase and forget” appliances are the highest sources of in-premise EMF. The older these appliances, the greater the EMF. These devices co-habit living spaces and create high EMF even at 3-5 feet distances. Do you have a stabilizer in your bedroom? Spending long hours in your day beside these appliances and that is a key risk.

Old electric circuitry

EMF from electrical circuitry inside old constructions and houses can create a consistent EMF. EMF from electrical sources is stubborn and consistent. By nature residents have 24*7 exposures.

Electric Shaver, Hair Dryer

These personal devices have an extremely localized EMF and are more prone to create damage due to proximity during-use. High EMF at proximity points. The tip/nozzle of these appliances can generate upto 70/100mG EMF.

Power distribution equipment outside your home (Transformers)

Most of our cities and colonies/RWAs have archaic power distribution equipment. Such Infrastructure has very high EMF and flout norms of public safety otherwise as well. As with old electric circuitry at home, old power distribution equipments (HT lines, transformers) are extremely stubborn EMF sources. The EMF could be significantly high as well and are perpetual in nature.


A laptop carries both radiation as well as EMF profile. The underside of a laptop has a very high EMF exposure at point of contact and high proximities and can be harmful for adult fertility

Microwave Ovens

Even if Microwave ovens are “sealed” for radiation, they still leak heavy radiation through their gaskets and front sides. As they become older, they leak more radiation. An operational microwave is a key risk to the person working in the kitchen.

India vs International Norms

The Department of Telecommunication has set up a online website where you check the radiation levels of the various telecom towers and to see if they are compliant. Click Tarang Sanchar to see the EMF compliance of the mobile tower near your residence. You can also check for compliance.

As per the Government directive the EMF from base stations must not exceed as listed below.

Frequency RangeE-Field Strength(Volt/Meter (V/m))H-Field Strength (Amp/Meter (A/m))Power Density (Watt/Sq.Meter (W/Sq.m))
400MHz to 2000MHz0.434f ½0.0011f ½f/2000
2GHz to 300GHz19.290.051

Precaution to reduce Radiations

Cellphone Hack: Use an earpiece. It helps negate upto 98% of cell phone radiation

Wifi Hack: Switch it off when not in use. Try using wired internet wherever possible.

Stabilizer / Invertor Hack: Remove stabilizer from your bedroom. Relocate inverter to any covered area outside home. or at height greater than 4-5 feet of human interference.

Old electric circuitry Hack: Extremely difficult to do away with. Old wiring needs to be changed with new one.

Electric Shaver, Hair Dryer Hack: Use sparingly. If using the hair dryer – maintain at least 1 feet distance between the head and the nozzle.

Power distribution equipment outside your home Hack: Maintain a minimum distance of separation of 50-100 feet from such sources.

Laptops Hack: Use a laptop radiation shield to reduce exposure to device radiation from laptops.

Microwave Ovens Hack: Do not use a microwave for long periods and do not use it when any person is in its vicinity. Use a Microwave radiation shield.

Read our article on ‘Cause of Death in Chennai

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