Nigerian residents question the safety of the 29,000 telecoms base stations throughout the country. The telecoms industry is rapidly growing and many of the base stations are located in residential areas. A new bill aims to address public health concerns about Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) exposure with tighter regulations.
The theme of the Second West African Conference on EMF Exposure and Health in December was “EMF in a Highly Connected Society: Understanding Myths and Realities.” At the conference, industry stakeholders, governmental representatives, and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) discussed local concerns and international standards for telecommunications equipment. The NCC stressed that the equipment emits only non-iodizing radiation and remain firm in the position that it is unlikely to cause adverse health effects.
The conference resulted in a bill that is based on a World Health Organization model and the ICNIRP standards for public and occupational EMF exposure limits. It includes minimum distances between base transceiver stations and residences. Several Nigerian regulatory bodies had previously disagreed on the appropriate distance, but they have now settled on a rule that base stations must be located at least seven meters (just under 23 feet) from the nearest home.