Mobile radiation fears dismissed in Bahrain

TRA convenes with operators to discuss potential health risks of exposure to radiation from mobile base stations.

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By  Michele Howe Published  October 4, 2007

In a move to address growing public concern in Bahrain over the safety of mobile base stations, the country's telecoms regulator yesterday met with all three of its network operators.

At the meeting, which was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Interior and a radiation expert, the TRA presented findings from two independent surveys of the radiation from mobile base stations in Bahrain.

Both studies found that levels of radio frequency radiation from base station antennas in Bahrain fall below the levels accepted by the World Health Organisation.

"Measurements that have been taken in Bahrain confirm that radiation levels are below international guidelines," said TRA spectrum adviser Karl van Heeswijk at the event, the Gulf Daily News reported.

Heeswijk said radiation levels in the country were similar to those in the UK, an average of 1,000 to 100,000 times lower than the international recognised safety limits.

"People should not be worried about radiation levels from base stations or telephone masts. If you are not exposed to anything above the recommended level then there is no scientific evidence to show there is a threat to health," he said, according to the newspaper report.

Heeswijk said there were 300 base stations in Bahrain.

The increased risk from the addition of new mobile base stations - a possibility given the regulator is studying the possibility of allowing a third mobile operator - was not significant, Heeswijk told

"The general level of radiation would increase slightly but it depends how the network is laid out," he said.

The rising popularity of mobile telephony around the world has been tempered by growing concern over the health risks of prolonged use of cellular phones or exposure to their base stations.

Mobile base stations are seen as being particularly dangerous as the radiation emitted is continuous and more powerful.

Some 150 residents in the area of Busaiteen in Bahrain had signed a petition against mobile phone masts, according to the Gulf Daily News report.

The TRA said it will work with the operators to ensure that members of the public are not exposed to radiation levels in excess of those published in the internationally accepted guidelines.

"We noted the recent increased public concern on radiation from mobile base stations and we are taking these concerns seriously," the TRA's general director Alan Horne said.

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