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Base transceiver stations (BTS) or mobile base stations produce non-ionizing (RF)
energy that is radiated through its antennas into space. There are health effects that can
occur when the human body is exposed to high levels of radio frequency (RF) energy.
The health implication associated with exposure from telecommunication masts is
demanding attention due to the expansion of telecommunication networks and base
station installation. In this study, power density from various telecommunication masts
of different network providers were measured using a spectrum analyser 2658A B and
K precision model. RF radiations within a radial distance of 100 m around some
selected areas in Kaduna State were measured. The measured values range between 9.29
nWm-2 to 58.08 nWm-2 with a mean value of 23.52 nWm-2. Although values fluctuated
due to the influence of other factors including wave interference from other
electromagnetic sources around reference base stations. The results show that radiation
exposure level is below the standard limit of 4.5 Wm-2 for 900 MHz system set by the
International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and other
regulatory agencies. This shows that the exposure levels in these areas are low and as
such will not pose significant health risks to the people living in the study area.
Mobile phone technology has revolutionized the telecommunication industry in Nigeria.
Due to its advantages, mobile phone technology has grown rapidly in the last decade.
Presently, there exist more than 6.9 billion mobile subscription globally and over 1.4
million mobile base transceiver stations (BTS) exist worldwide to meet the growing
communication demand and the number is increasing significantly (WHO, 2006).The
Global System of Mobile (GSM) communication has proved to be of tremendous
benefit to the society especially in a developing country like Nigeria, where other forms
of communication exist to a very limited extent. GSM technology of wireless
communication produces constant pulsed microwave radiation. The cellular base
stations are transmitting continuously even when nobody is using the phone. The
number of cell towers is massively increasing without taking into consideration its
disadvantages. The risk associated with the radiation emitted from base transceiver
stations with respect to its proximity to residential and other public areas were of great
concern worlwide. The radiation effects on humans are divided into thermal and non-
thermal effects. Thermal effects are similar to that of cooking in the microwave oven.
Non thermal effects are not well defined but it has been reported that it is about 3 to 4
times greater than thermal effects. Radiation emitted from telecommunication mast is
also harmful to the environment by adding to the background radiation and also have
negative effect on plants and animals (Girish, 2010).
1.1 Background of the study
A BTS is a component of a wireless communication infrastructure that houses the radio
that defines a cell and coordinates the radio link protocols with mobile devices such as
GSM phones. A typical BTS consists of radios, amplifiers, combiners, duplexers,
splitters, power supplies, an antenna system, and the software that runs the base station
Telecommunication masts or towers are tall structures designed to support antennas or
aerials responsible for the transmission of telecommunication signal. These masts make
use of electromagnetic radiation (a form of energy which have both electric and
magnetic component and is propagated through space) in transmission of this signal.
Erection of cellular telecommunication antennas close to or even upon schools,
daycares, retirement homes and residential buildings that affect the health and wellbeing
of everybody. The erection of these antennas has created lots of problem between
families and friends, tenants and landlords due to the huge amount of money accrued to
leasing or selling of land to telecommunication companies for the purpose of
installation of telecommunication mast at the detriment of their health and the needed
luxury of space for proper ventilation. It has been mentioned that we are now virtually
living within a microwave oven (Andrew, 2008). Although the effects of the radiation
that mobile phone towers emit are harmful and above all it has not been proved safe by
the telecommunication companies, there are more and more towers being approved by
the municipal governments (Andrew, 2008).Scientifically, there were several reports
that the electromagnetic radiation released by mobile telecommunications, has now
become the main man-made source of environmental radioactivity (Andrew, 2008).
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