Potential health risks due to telecommunications radiofrequency radiation exposures in lagos state nigeria.
Background: The global system mobile telecommunications system (GSM) which was recently introduced in Nigeria is now being used by over 40 million people in Nigeria. The use of GSM is accompanied with exposure of the users to radiofrequency radiation (RFR), which if significant, may produce health hazards. This is the reason why many relevant national and international organizations recommended exposure limits to RFR and why it is made compulsory for GSM handsets to indicate the maximum power output as a guide to potential consumers. Objective: This study was conducted to measure the RFR output power densities (S) from the most commonly used GSM handsets used in Lagos State and compare with the
limit recommended for safety assessment. Methods: Over 1100 most commonly used handsets of different makes and models as well as wireless phones were sampled and studied in all over the local government areas of the State. An RFR meter, Electrosmog from LESSEMF USA was used for the measurements. The handsets were assessed for health risks using the reference value of 9 Wm-2 as recommended by the International Commission on Non- Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
Results: The range of the S-values obtained varied from a minimum of 1.294 ± 0.101 Wm-2 with Siemens model R228 to a maximum of 16.813 ± 0.094 Wm-2 with Samsung model C140*. The results from wireless telephones showed very low S-values ranging from a minimum of 0.024 ± 0.001 Wm-2 with HUAWEI and ST CDMA 1 to a maximum of 0.093 ±
0.002 Wm-2 with HISENSE Conclusion: The results showed that the population in Lagos State may be at risk due to significant RFR exposures
resulting principally from the use of GSM. Quite a number of handsets emit power above the ICNIRP recommended value. Measured RFR power close to Radio and Television masts and transmitters are within tolerable limits in most cases, only that the public should not reside or work close to
RFR installations. Phone calls with GSM should be restricted to essential ones while youths and children that are more susceptible to RFR hazards should be supervised in their use of GSM. Wireless phones are quite safe.
Keywords: Health risks, telecommunications, radiofrequency radiation exposures