The Manager in charge of the Health Physics and Instrumentation Centre of the RPI of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) Dr. Owusu Banahene, has raised concerns over dangers human lives are exposed to with regards to abandoned radiofrequency and Telecommunication Masts.
Dr. Banahene who raised this concern in an interview, disclosed that, some disused masts are dilapidated, due to neglect by the owners.
The Health Physics and Instrumentation Centre, which is under the Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of GAEC is responsible for safety assessment of radiofrequency base station as well as mobile phone based stations.
According to the manager, rusty masts can easily be pulled down by rainstorms, making them more life threatening to the public. He added that in spite of their dangers, such masts do not emit any useful radio frequency radiation, since they no longer function.
Touching on issues of radiation exposure and public safety with regards to Masts in general, Dr. Banahene said the RPI has been vibrant and proactive in checking the levels of emission to ensure that they do not exceed national and international levels.
He said, an immediate action would be taken to control the extent of radiation exposure should test results go beyond the expected range. “So far, we are yet to encounter any of such cases where the measured radiation emitted by a radiofrequency and mobile phone base stations is above recommended levels”, he added.
To ensure absolute public safety, Dr. Banahene called on the public to desist from running their activities directly under radiofrequency and mobile phone base stations. He stressed that the amount of time spent around the mast will determine the amount of radiation one could be exposed to. “Keeping a distance away can help save one from radiation exposure”, he explained.
Throwing more light on other responsibilities of the Health Physics and Instrumentation Centre, the Manager said his outfit is also responsible for monitoring of occupationally exposed workers, calibration of radiation measuring devices such as survey meters, contamination monitors and ionization chambers which are used for the detection and measurement of certain types of ionizing radiation (X-rays).
He urged the public to be quick in consulting the RPI at the least suspicions of any radiation exposure.