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Monday, November 21, 2011

Cell tower radiation is under govt limit: Survey

Cell tower radiation is under govt limit: Survey

But Experts Say That Even Permissible Level Is Too High

Yogita Rao | TNN

Experts are conflicted over the health hazards and the permissible limit of cell phone tower radiation, and the findings of a survey in Mumbai may only fuel the debate. Conducted jointly by Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai, the survey reveals that radiation from cell phone towers at 96 locations in Mumbai are several times below the maximum permissible global standard limit. The survey, which was commissioned by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), comes at a time when the Indian government is set to enforce stricter limitations.
India has adopted the permissible limit prescribed by the International Commission of Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNRP), which is set at 4,500 milli-Watt per sq m (mW/sq m), but the government is expected to reduce the limit to 450 mW/sq m by the end of the month.
The COAI presented the findings in a workshop conducted by Professor Girish Kumar from IIT-Bombay’s electrical engineering department. The readings, which were taken at several locations in the city,
showed that the radiation level will be below the permissible limit even with the new standard.
Of the 96 locations surveyed, Nehru Science Centre in Worli was 20 times below the ICNRP limit. At Kala Nagar junction in Bandra, the readings were 17 times below the limit. Representatives from COAI, telecom operators, doctors, and even patients believed to have been affected by cell phone tower radiation were present at the workshop. Not everyone agreed with the survey’s results.
Professor Kumar, who extensively researched on cell phone radiation, pointed out that the study does not discuss health hazards associated with mobile phone tower radiation. “The radiation emitted by cell phone towers is mostly between 100-500 mW/sq m. As per the current standard of 4,500 mW/sq m, the readings are bound to be below the permissible limits. According
to a recent report, however, from the health point of view only a 1 mW/sq m emission is safe.” He added that the number of cell phone towers in the country has increased from 1 lakh five years ago to 4.5 lakh in 2011. “A stricter limit should be enforced. It should have been brought down to one hundredth or one thousandth of 4,500 mW/ sq m.”
Kandivli resident Sunil Kapoor, who was present at the workshop, talked about his five-year-old daughter who had developed a brain tumour and died in August this year.
Kapoor believes that it was the radiation from a nearby cell-phone tower that killed his daughter, even though no study has been able to prove this link. “Our society had allowed companies to set up base stations in our building in April 2009. A year later my daughter developed a squint in her eye. When we went for a check up we found that she had cancer. It is very difficult to establish the cause of the cancer, but our society got rid of the cell towers immediately,” said Kapoor.
According to Kumar, most societies agree to set up the towers as cell phone companies pay a “high rental of Rs 60,000-Rs 1 lakh per month”.
To reduce the risk Kumar suggested that companies could set up more towers that are spread out across the city, thereby reducing the concentration of radiation emissions in an area.

India has adopted the permissible limit of cell-tower radiation set by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, ICNRP which stands at 4,500 milli-watts
per sq m (mW/sq m). But many countries including Russia and China have reduced the limit
By the end of November, the Indian government is expected to announce a new guideline, which will bring down the permissible limit to 450 mW/sq m

Industry experts say that the number of cell phone towers in Mumbai has increased by 350% in five years
The study conducted by IITMadras and Thiagarajar College, Madurai, found that cell phone tower radiation at 96 locations in Mumbai was within the permissible level of 4,500 mW/sq m
In front of Nehru Science Centre | 20 times lower In Phoenix Mills | 114 times lower Kala Nagar, Bandra | 17 times lower Oberoi Mall | 64 times lower J J Flyover | 29 times lower

Emotional disconnect leading youngsters to take drastic step?

Emotional disconnect leading youngsters to take drastic step?

Pratibha Masand | TNN

Mumbai: Doctors blame the widening disconnect between the current generation and the family as well as the society for the increasing suicides in urban areas, particularly by youths.
City psychiatrists say the commonest cause of suicide is depression, which in turn can be caused by various problems. But it is the inability to have emotional contact or share one’s feeling that ultimately forces a person to take the extreme measure.
“An emotional disconnect may cause a person to hide his or her stress,” said psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. “This festers and causes depression. And when depression reaches high levels, the person can take drastic steps, including suicide.”
The problem with the younger generation, say psychiatrists, is that they are, in
general, more impulsive than depressed. They are driven by anger and whims, and they want to hurt others more than themselves.
Dr Bharat Shah, psychiatrist with Lilavati Hospital, said, in several cases, the youths who commit suicide
because of love affairs do not really want to take their lives. “These people are angry, not depressed. At times, they don’t really want to die but just scare or hurt their partner or spouse.” They believe, for example, that a couple of hour’s sleep induced by sleeping pills will scare their partner enough to evoke care. However, this ends up in something worse, said Shah.
Another point psychiatrists emphasized is the stress on the youth to do well.
Dr Kersi Chawda, former president of the Indian Psychiatry Society, said that every youth wants to make it big—which in itself may not be wrong, but may lead to great disappointment.
“Most youths today, are aspiring to do something which may be beyond their capability. While many succeed and many don’t, not everyone can
take failure in a positive w ay, ” s a i dC h awd a , adding that this pressure needs to be urgently lifted. Dr Shetty questions the ability of the police and family to ascer tain the cause of suicide in the absence of a suicide note. “According to World Health Organization, the reliability of assertion of reason behind a suicide is not very good, mainly because there is no psychological autopsy done after the suicide. Going by the reasons that police or family members, statistics like these are bound to go wrong,” said Shetty.
More policemen
end their lives
Six policemen from Mumbai police committed suicide in 2010. This was twice the number of all such deaths between 2005 and 2009 put together. Irregular work hours and immense stress were blamed for the trend. A police officer said that lack of adequate manpower forces cops to work long hours, resulting in high stress. TNN

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Eurozone debt crisis: the key charts you need to understand what's happening

Europe is in crisis - but what's going on? Which are the right key numbers to compare each country?

Euro crisis
Euro crisis: Newspaper bearing headlines on the Greek crisis on display. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

How bad are things in Europe - and how does each country compare?

Well, besides the data below, Polly Curtis' Reality Check series is a good place to start, answering key questions such as What would the collapse of the euro mean for the UK? and What happens if Greece leaves the euro?

We wanted to see which key indicators are the best for comparing Europe and might help us understand what's going on a little better. The best source for this info is Eurostat. You can download the full databelow. What would you add?

1. Government debt

These are the big scary numbers - although it's still regularly mixed up with the deficit (see below) by journalists and politicians alike. As a whole, Europe owes €10,125,117,000,000 - or €10.1 trillion. But it's more meaningful to look at the number as a percent of gross domestic product, or GDP. So, we want to see how much that debt is as a proportion of the whole economy - kind of equivalent to measuring your mortgage compared to the whole economic value of your household. That gives us a European average of 80.9% in the second quarter of this year. But that figure hides a lot of variation: Greece, at the top, owes 151.9%, followed by Italy 121.4%. The UK is just below average at 80.1%. There's nothing inherently bad about having a huge debt - it depends who you owe it to and whether you can manage the payments. Bigger countries are also in a better position: essentially, if you owe the bank £50,000, you've got a problem; if you owe the bank £50,000,000, the bank's got a problem.

2. Deficits

If the gross debt is equivalent to your mortgage, the deficit is the overdraft, the running gap between your outgoings and ingoings. Big deficits mean more borrowing, and then running it up all over again to cover the costs of that borrowing.

Again, the best way to look at these is as a percentage of GDP, and Eurstat shows which countries are worst affected, this time from the end of 2010, which is the latest available data. It shows Ireland had the worst deficit then at 31.1% followed by Greece at 10.6% and the UK at 10.3%. Compare that to Germany at 4.3% and you can see the relative strengths of the economies

3. Are we still in recession?

If you look at changes in GDP - these figures are from the OECD - it does show things improving, albeit slowly. And, as Polly Curtis writes, that the UK's recovery is sporadic, at best.

4. Bond yields

The way governments borrow money is by selling bonds - the interest rate, or "yield", is set when the debt is auctioned. This matters because as a country the higher the rate you have to sell your bonds at, the more you'll have to pay back. In short, the lower the figure the better. As you can see from the chart below, the UK, outside the Euro, is benefiting from being a safe haven. But for Greece, Portugal and Ireland, are considered less safe than Romania and Cyprus. Italy is also in the the top ten worst rates - but this chart is a monthly average, so it doesn't reflect the huge movements going on in the markets today, which have seen Italian rates go up to 6.66%.Roll over numbers for data

5. Unemployment

It might not even be part of the agenda at the Cannes summit last week, but unemployment is the indicator with the most direct impact on real people's lives of those here. Traditionally, when there's a recession, unemployment lags behind - ie, it goes up at the end of the recession and takes a while to come down again. This recession has not seen huge changes in overall unemployment yet, although the last year has seen a gradual rise.

Youth unemployment has gone up too - but the percentages are even more striking: 48% of 15-24-year-olds in Spain are unemployed, for instance.

Data summary

European countries compared

Click heading to sort table. Download this data

ISO code
Deficit, % of GDP, 2010
Oct, 10 yr bond yieldsn (lower = better)
Gov debt, % of GDP, Q2 2011
Latest unemploy- ment
Latest 15-24 unemploy- ment
EU (27 countries) -6.64.0880.99.721.4
EU (25 countries) -6.6
Euro area (17 countries) -6.2 87.310.221.2
Euro area (16 countries) -6.3 87.410.221.2
Czech RepublicCZ-4.83.1440.16.618.8
EstoniaEE0.2 6.212.821.8
United KingdomGB-10.32.5280.18.121.2