Mobile/Wireless Communications – Environmental Issues
Centre for Telecommunications Value-Chain Research
Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering
Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland
• add graffitti wall
• add stuff from report I got from frank
• get handout of some sort
• give blank sheets to fill in etc.
class based exercise
make list of all the issues that come to mind when you
see the following
mobile / wireless environmental public social
communications impact safety impact
• Are mobile phones harmful to us?
• What do you think?
• What obligations do you think we have either way?
• Ziff-Davis reports that researchers in Australia have reported their
hypothesis that normal mobile phone use can lead to cancer.
• The research group, lead by radiation expert Dr Peter French, principal
scientific officer at the Centre for Immunology Research at St Vincent's
Hospital in Sydney, said that mobile phone frequencies well below
current safety levels could stress cells in a way that has been shown
to increased susceptibility to cancer.
• The paper, published in the June 2001 issue of the science journal,
"Differentiation", says that repeated exposure to mobile phone radiation acts
as a repetitive stress, leading to continuous manufacture of heat shock
proteins within cells.
• Their theory is that these proteins, which are sensitive to heat, are always
present in cells at a low level, but are manufactured in larger amounts when
the cell is stressed by heat or other environmental factors. These proteins
repair other proteins that are adversely affected by the conditions, and are
part of the cell's normal reaction to stress. However, if they are produced
too often or for too long, they are known to initiate cancer and increase
resistance to anti-cancer drugs.
• However, this group has reported absolutely evidence nor studies to
substantiate this - it is only a theory.
• April 2006 - the Swedish National Institute for Working Life issued a
report this week, published in the International Archives of
Occupational and Environmental Health, disputing two earlier
studies that claimed cell phone use has no correlation to increased
brain tumor risk.
• The researchers examined the cell phone usage of 905 adults who
developed malignant brain tumors.
• They found that people with more than 2,000 hours of total talk time
had 3.7 times the risk of developing brain cancer when compared
with nonusers. [2,000 hours is about an hour of talk time every
Monday through Friday for 10 years]
• The study, also found a 2 times increase for tumors specifically on
the side of the head where the cell phone was generally used. But it
should be noted that the study relied on the memory of the subjects
for how long they used their phones, for as much as a decade ago,
according to a Daily News interview with Dr. Lydia Zablotska, an
epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public
I’m telling my teacher that radiation from my mobile
phone made me forget my homework …..
other kinds of tests
• The current study included 120 subjects to improve the statistical power of the
analyses; 58 males and 62 females from 18 to 70 years.
• The researchers gave the subjects a number of different cognitive tasks tapping into
cognitive functions such as reaction time, encoding, verbal comprehension, and
• Radiofrequency radiation was induced through a regular Nokia mobile phone placed
on a helmet that subjects wore during cognitive testing.
• The study was a double-blinded setup, so that neither researchers nor the subjects
knew if the cellular phone was transmitting (or emitting radiofrequency radiation).
• Measures were taken to make sure that neither sound or heating would lead subjects
to detect when the phone was transmitting. Subjects performed the tests (different
versions of the test each time) during radiofrequency stimulation (both sham and real
• What was found was that the performance during radiofrequency exposure,
compared to sham condition, changed the performance on several tests. While
the performance on reaction time decreased during exposure, performance on
the Trail Making test B, which loads working memory, was increased during
exposure. As the researchers write:
• The results are also very interesting because several
reports now support the view that using a cellular phone
while driving leads to a reaction time comparable to that
of having several alcoholic drinks.
• Through this study it seems that it’s not only the talking
in the phone that pulls your reaction time down; it’s also
the mere radiation itself.
can’t remember where I found this report ….
• A Finnish survey of some of the world's most popular mobile phones
found the amount of radiation they emit is well below agreed limits
and largely in line with data published by manufacturers.
• The survey conducted by Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety
Authority (STUK) covered 16 new models made by top handset
makers including Finland's own Nokia, Motorola of the United States
and South Korea's Samsung Electronics.
• At this level, the study found that head tissue does not warm
significantly and no other harmful effects have been proved
• STUK said the SAR levels in all the 28 models tested so far ranged
from 0.45 to 1.12 watts per kilogram.
• December 5, 2006 - Scientists in Denmark tracked over 420,000
cell phone users over the course of 21 years in an attempt to
determine if if cell phone use causes cancer.
• As reported in ABC News, they found the RF energy produced by
the phones did not correlate to an increased incidence of the
disease. From the article: 'This so-called Danish cohort "is probably
the strongest study out there because of the outstanding registries
they keep,' said Joshua Muscat of Pennsylvania State University,
who also has studied cell phones and cancer. 'As the body of
evidence accumulates, people can become more reassured that
these devices are safe, but the final word is not there yet,' Muscat
• who is telling us what?
• does it pay to be afraid?
• or is it the truth …..?
• how do we know the truth? what things should we look
out for in a report?
• what are our obligations as engineers?
blight on the landscape …….
The creative solution?
waste and pollution …….
From Cradle to Death
• Though the mobile phone has shrunk in size, there is an
amazing amount of materials and technology embedded
• A mobile phone, like every product, has a "life cycle."
• The product is born, it lives and then dies.
• A product's "birth" includes its design, the extraction of
raw material to build it, refining those materials,
producing parts, and then assembling those parts into a
• The product "lives" when it is used by the consumer.
• The product "dies" when it is thrown away or recycled.
1.Case: the plastic housing that contains all the other
2. Display: usually a LCD (liquid crystal display) screen
where all the information appears
3. Printed Wiring Board: The green boards, including all
the chips and other electronic components mounted on
them, which also found in computers and most other
4. Keypad, usually plastic
5. Microphone and Speaker
8. Adapter (not pictured here)
70.5 X 5, or 352.5 pounds of water
(200 - 400 pounds are used in an 352.5 pounds of water
average 5 minute shower)
Varies according to how energy is
3.5 X 5, or 17.5 pounds of energy
0.16 X 5, or 0.8 pounds of 0.8 pounds of chemicals, usually in
chemicals water solution, possibly treated.
• Consumers use cell phones for an average of 18 months before
dispose of them, a much shorter period than the lifecycle of older
phones – HOW MANY PHONES HAVE YOU HAD IN THE LAST
• Approximately 15 million mobile phones are replaced every year.
• Mobiles contain many toxic substances, including arsenic, antimony,
beryllium, cadmium, copper, zinc, and brominated flame retardants
which can be released into the air and groundwater when burned or
disposed of in landfills, creating threats to human health and the
• Many batteries contain cadmium or lead, both probably human
carcinogens and toxic to wildlife. They can pass through the food
chain to the liver, and can cause kidney damage and even death at
high exposure levels
• The cadmium from one mobile phone battery could pollute 600,000
litres of water, which would fill one third of an Olympic size
• The tiny phone will measure two by three inches and will
be launched by Altschul's company, Dieceland
Technologies. It will be made entirely of paper substrate,
including the touch pad and circuit board, so it will be
• Initially the phones will be powered by regular batteries
but plans for a smaller power source are being
Public / Private Space
energy usage …….
• Recent studies indicate that radio networks account for
about 80 percent operators’ electricity usage, so there
are plans to introduce software controls to minimize the
power used for cooling, and turn off selected base
stations at non-peak times, while maintaining coverage
• The hefty power amplifiers (PAs) in basestations
account for about half the power they use and
generate large amounts of heat
this tends to happen a lot … things get
hot and then we have to cool then …energy wastage
in both cases
• On average, each fully loaded 3G cell site using
traditional PAs is estimated to need 3 kW of power,
equating to a cost of some $1,600 a year for a US-based
operator, or €2,300 (about $3,200) for an operator in
Europe buying electricity at about double the cost of their
• A typical European operator with a network of 20,000
basestations, the total energy consumption on the same
basis would be 58MW (equivalent to a large wind farm)
resulting in annual electricity costs of €45 million (about
• As well as these costs, such a level of consumption is
estimated to lead to a carbon footprint of about 11
tonnes of carbon dioxide for each cell site, each year.
improvements on the way…
• …..the latest generation of ―Node Bs‖ starting to be
deployed could halve the above figures but that bolder
solutions are needed.
Nujira …. thinking green
• ―There is no doubt we can make significant impact here
with the type of PA modules we have developed, based
on our High Accuracy Tracking (HAT) technology, which
involves adding a supply voltage modulator and drive
software to the processor in a PA.
• HAT is set to become the first commercially available
variant of a technique known as ―Envelope Tracking‖,
where the bias voltage of the PA is changed dynamically
to ensure that the power output transistors remain in the
best possible part of their operating curve, which means
they can make a major contribution to improve energy
• The four main elements of the solution are: minimizing the number
of base station sites; minimizing the need for air conditioning to cool
the sites; using the latest base station technology; and, deploying
software features that optimize the use of radio access for wireless
• he energy consumption of a base station site can be reduced by up
to 70 percent with Nokia Siemens Networks’ Energy Efficiency
solution. This significant reduction in energy consumption creates a
more environmentally friendly network operation and lower
operating costs for Nokia Siemens Networks’ operator customers.
Good Ideas, Corporate Responsibility &
prototype designs such as an organic mobile phone
cover that sprouts sunflower when planted in your
• NEC has developed the world's first commercially
available mobile with a biodegradable cover — created
out of plant materials from corn and kenaf, a relative of
the hibiscus plant.
• Scientists make the corn into bio-plastics and add kenaf
fibres to make the plastic stronger, tougher and more
• Hopefully this means the cover won't start to break down
during everyday use, only when it's buried.
• In 2005 Vodafone adopted a Five Year Strategy for Corporate
Responsibility – building on an earlier plan for 'Corporate Social
Responsibility' (CSR) developed back in 2001.
• A strategy is a statement of intent that drives a company towards the
achievement of a desired set of goals, over a given timeframe. A strategy
for Corporate Responsibility is one that describes the manner in which a
business intends to reduce the negative effect of its operations. In this
regard, the main thrust of Vodafone's CR Strategy is to earn the trust of
customers by prioritising performance in three areas.
• Social responsibility, e.g. by supporting community initiatives.
• Ethical behaviour, e.g. by not tolerating illegal business practices and
ensuring the highest standard of governance.
• Environmental responsibility, e.g. by reducing the environmental impact
of all elements of its business.
a wireless revolution ……. there must be
• Connectivity … rural broadband
• No fibre
• Displacement of other activity … cut down on travel etc.
Community and Wireless Technology
• pic of our graffiti wall
• Do you really think these kind of things make a
difference and can matter?
• Do you know any similar such projects?
mobile phone eye witnesses
• mobile phone
• public safety
• public role
• social obligation