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Zain refutes claims of base station health risks

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Zain’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, Osondu Nwokoro, has dismissed the popular claim that mobile phone base stations can cause dangers to the health of people living in surrounding areas.

In a recent paper on the subject of Safety of Telecommunications equipment, the company executive stated that Nigerians living in areas where base stations are located do not have any cause for concern, as emissions from the mobile phone base stations do not pose any real health risk. Nwokoro made this submission with reference to a British legal matter between St. Margaret Hawes, Holy Trinity Knaresorough and Vodafone (The UK’s largest GSM Operator) in 2003, where the court decided that so long as a base station conforms to the International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines, there is no compelling evidence of real risk to health.

He also referred to the World Health Organization (WHO) Fact Sheet No. 193 of 2000 which states that “The international Guidelines developed by ICNIRP are based on a careful analysis of all scientific literature (both thermal and non-thermal effects) and offer protection against all identified hazards of Radio Frequency (RF) energy with large safety margin. RF signal levels in areas of public access from base stations are far below international guidelines, typically by a factor of 100 or more”

Talking specifically about Zain’s commitment to community health and safety, Nwokoro said: “Zain has adopted the ICNIRP guidelines as recommended by the GSM Association (GSMA) and the WHO. Indeed, all the equipment (we deploy) are sourced from reputable suppliers such as Motorola, Ericsson, Huawei, who are members of the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) which also recommends the ICNIRP guidelines.”

Speaking further on the safety of base stations, Zain’s regulatory chief explained that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has on various occasions pronounced that base station emissions do not pose a risk to human health also noting that the Commission has gone ahead to conduct tests on emissions from Operators’ base stations and found same to be in compliance with the ICNIRP standards.

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