The evaluation of power density of ray emissions from GSM masts in selected locations within Ilorin metropolis were carried out. The measurements taken in each spot were done using Acoustimeter. The location that shows the highest peak measurement (5.12 ± 1.07) location H, which exceeded the international approved exposure limits which is 4.1mW/m2.
This research shows that there are some areas within Ilorin metropolis where these GSM antennas are installed and is emitting high radiations which could cause several hazards to Human Health.
INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW
The world is fast becoming a global village, courtesy of communication, especially the telecommunications of which the Global System for Mobile Telecommunications (GSM) is a major factor. This wireless telephone system has brought several improvements to human lives across the globe, from the rural areas to urban areas, from the learned/educated to the uneducated, from the poor to the rich. There have been great increased trends in the socio-economic growth as high attention has shifted on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at homes, organizations and nations. In Nigeria today, experts have expressed concern over the environmental and health implications of the increasing mounting of telecommunications infrastructures indiscriminately especially around schools and homes (Punch Newspapers, 2010)
There have been several reports on the hazards associated with mobile phone antennae or base stations, for instance Goldsworthy (2006) reported that detailed studies have shown that weak electromagnetic fields, such as is used in the GSM transmission can cause leaking of cell membranes, leading to fragmentation of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in cells. This genetic damage may result in several abnormalities in future organisms.
Santini et al (2003), Wolf and Wolf (2004) and Hutter et al (2006) have variously reported on the biological effects of people exposed to radiations from GSM masts/antennae. Such people’s complaints includes:
- Fatigue problems.
- Ocular problems.
- Anxiety and sleeping problems.
- Memory loss.
They argued that these complaints can cause enormous damage to human health, hence the need to pay attention on solving this problem to save humanity.
Loscher and Kas (1998) reported the adverse effects of electromagnetic fields on dairy cows while McLeod et al (1987) had reported that these radiation cause drastic changes in the patterns of locomotion of diatoms.
In a report on the potential health risk due to telecommunications radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposures in Lagos state, Nigeria. Aweda et al (2009) reported that the measured RFR power close to radio and television mast and transmitters are within tolerable limits in most cases but there are concerns on the risk associated with the use of mobile phones.
Ibitoye and Aweda (2011) in their report on the assessment of radiofrequency power density distribution of GSM and broadcast antenna masts in Lagos city, Nigeria observedthat the power densities of the RF Radiation from telecoms transmitting and receiving antenna were far below the international standard limits. They concluded that the values observed were not likely capable of inducingsignificant hazardous health effects among people that are at least 6m away from the antennae. They took their measurements within 250 – 200meters from selected antennae and obtained range of results from 0.219 – 304.40mW/m2.
In an assessment report of radio frequencies radiation within the vicinity of some GSM base stations in Ghana, Deatanyah et al (2012) reported a range from 0.85 to 1.07mW/m2 for 900MHz antennae. 0.78 – 1.19mW/m2 for 1800MHz antennae these were results obtained from 46 towns and 76 GSM cell sites in two major cities in Ghana. Especially in residential areas, schools and market places. These values, they reported were significantly very low to the international limit. Also Viel et al (2009) reported from France on the residential exposure of radio frequency fields from mobile phone base stations and broadcast transmitters; a population based survey with personal meter showed that field strength recorded were generally below 0.05V/m (0.006mW/m2).
The GSM transmit by the low frequency electromagnetic radiation exhibiting a pulsating pattern to transmit both voice and data information. The base stations serve as the intermediate between the caller and the recipient. The base station is a complex system with several components meant to receive and transmit signals. Depending on the distance, several antennae may be involved in the transmission of signals between the caller and the receiver.
The GSM was launched in Nigeria in 2001 and from this period, there have been increase in the number of masts installations across the country. These, apart from posingenvironmental threats, are believed to be hazardous to both human and other life forms. This fear has also attracted attention all over the world.
In view of the above concern, the aim of this project work is to access the field strength of GSM mast emissions in some locations within Ilorin metropolis of Kwara State and to ascertain if they fall within the safety limit recommended intermediately.