Aweda MA, Ajekigbe AT, Ibitoye AZ, Evwhierhurhoma BO, Eletu OB. (2009). Potential health risks due to telecommunications radiofrequency radiation exposures in Lagos State Nigeria. Nig Q J Hosp Med. 19(1):6-14.
Over 40 million individuals in Nigeria use Global System Mobile (GSM) telephones. Increased exposure to radiofrequency field radiation is becoming an important public concern due to potential health risks. Access issue to land lines in Nigeria explains the number of new GSM subscribers including children and low income individuals. It is expected that this trend of increased mobile phone users will continue in the future.
The objective of the study was to conduct output power measurements of common GSM handsets used in Lagos State, Nigeria. Then, it is hoped that the data collected can be used in the assessment of environmental impact and in epidemiological risks prediction of illnesses due to RF exposures.
Over 1,100 mobile phone handset models and make were tested in the study. Measurements of the GSM output power density, electric field strength, and magnetic field strength were all determined using an Electrosmog Meter from LESSEMF USA. Phone samples were randomly selected and measurement sites varied all over Lagos State. All recordings were corrected using factors provided by the manufacturer. Mean and standard error of mean were presented.
The highest mean output power was found in the Nokia model 2800 (14.92 Wm-2) and the lowest mean in the Nokia model 6077 1.801. The maximum electric-field strength was 75.00 Vm-2 and the minimum was 26.06 Vm-2. The maximum magnetic-field was 198.9 mAm-2 and the minimum was 69.10 mAm-2.
Interpretation and Limitations
Nokia phone models represent approximately 70% of the phones on the market in Lagos State. The results of the measurements indicate that mean output power varied extensively (from 1.8 to 14.92 Wm-2). Some models had output power greater than the recommended limit of 9 Wm-2. This could be an indicator of a possible health risk for individuals using these phones which were tested over the established limit.
The authors stated that the population of Lagos State is susceptible to radiofrequency field radiation induced health risks because of the considerable number of GSM mobile phone users and also because a number of common mobile phone tested were over the recommended limit.