Amoako JK, Fletcher JJ, Darko EO. (2009). Measurement and analysis of radiofrequency radiations from some mobile phone base stations in Ghana. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 135(4):256-60.
The liberalization of the telecommunication industry in Ghana has led to a rapid increase in the number of cell phone users in the country. In turn, this increase has led to a rapid deployment of base stations throughout the country, some of which are situated in densely populated residential areas and near schools. In Ghana, there is no regulatory framework for exposure to non-ionizing radiation.
The primary objectives of this study were to measure the level of radiofrequency (RF) radiation emitted by some mobile phone base stations installed by Ghana Telecommunication (GT) company and to assess the level of compliance with standards set by the International Commission on Non-ionizing Radiological Protection (ICNIRP).
The authors measured RF field strength at 50 sites. The sites were chosen to be close to schools, hospitals, and highly populated residential areas. Measurements were made at a distance of 300 metres from the base station over a period of 3 hours during peak periods of use, that is, between 10 am and 1 pm and between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm. The RF field strength was calculated at each site for two frequencies, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz.
At a frequency of 900 MHz, field strength varied from 0.01 μWm-2 to 10 μWm-2. At a frequency of 1800 MHz, field strength ranged from 0.01 μWm-2 to 100 μWm-2.
Interpretation and Limitations
The ICNIRP guidelines set reference levels for the general public of 4.5 μWm-2 and 9.0 μWm-2 for 900 and 1800 MHz respectively. Six sites tested in Ghana exceeded these thresholds. However, most sites tested were 0.01% of the ICNIRP reference level. In contrast, in a survey conducted in Australia, RF field strength was 0.0021% of the ICNIRP reference level. Therefore, exposure levels in Ghana appear to be 20 times higher than that of Australia. Higher field strength values were measured from base stations in remote areas, which the authors hypothesize could be because a greater power is needed for the signal to reach the mobile phone users. This study is limited by the small number of sites chosen and their non-representativeness of all sites in the country.
The authors conclude that although most measured values were below the ICNIRP limit, levels in Ghana appear to be higher than in other countries. The authors advocate for guidelines specific to Ghana. They suggest that since the number of mobile phone users is increasing whereas the number of base stations is not, emission levels are bound to go higher. They conclude that the measurements from this study are cause for concern.