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Mobile Tower Radiation Not Harmful: DoT Panel

India

Mobile Tower Radiation Not Harmful: DoT Panel

In a report presented by a 13-member committee constituted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), it’s concluded that the mobile tower radiation is harmless. India has has adopted ten times more stringent measures than the International Commission on Non Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which account for thermal and non-thermal effects, said the report.

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“Radio frequency fields are among the most highly researched potential hazards. There are thousands of papers in literature and health agencies have reviewed all of them many times. Virtually all agree — that there are no demonstrated hazards from exposure to RF energy at levels below international (and Indian) limits. More research is needed, but the studies will have to be very well done, very large, and very focused — which will be very expensive. India should give more support to international efforts in this area, particularly the EMF project of the World Health Organisation,” says Dr. Kenneth R Foster of the University of at a press conference organised at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

The conference jointly organized by IIT-D and Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), New Delhi, in association with Health Environment Foundation, New Delhi was inaugurated by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble Union Minister, Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India, who released a background paper on EMF emissions from mobile towers.

“So far, no conclusive evidence has been found on adverse health effects of EMF radiation from the mobile handset by the World Health Organisation (WHO)…(and) so long as EMF radiation power levels in the vicinity of base stations of cellphone towers are below the prescribed limits, there should not be any cause of concern for adverse thermal health affects on human beings living close them,” the committee said in its report.

“Although there are plenty of studies conducted across the world on the topic, currently there is no conclusive scientific evidence which establishes that EMF has harmful non-thermal effects,” remarked the committee. “Some countries are taking a precautionary approach by reducing EMF levels below those specified by ICNIRP and India is one of them that has reduced prescribed EMF radiation levels by a factor of 10,” said the report.

The committee presented the report based on an Allahabad High Court order dated January 10, 2012. In the committee report, the panel has proposed few recommendations as well. The proposed recommendations ask the DoT to continue the extensive audit of the self-attested certificates being submitted by telecom service providers to ensure with prescribed stricter norms of EMF radiation from BTS towers. It has given the responsibility to further conduct the research on this topic to The Department of Science and Technology and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

In order to make the process transparent, the committee suggested creating a national EMF web portal where public can access the status of compliance to prescribed EMF norms. Finally, the committee calls for efforts to spread awareness on EMF and precautions to remove apprehensions regarding the possible health effects of radiation, which it claims to be created by certain sections of the people.

Meanwhile, telecom service providers have backed the report, saying their safety norms are strict and the mobile towers are harmless. “India’s mobile emission safety norms are strict and radiation from telecom towers is not a cause for concern,” Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said in a statement.

“As fears of EMF (electro-magnetic fields) emission from towers in the people are misplaced, we have to collectively allay them (fears),” Association Director-General Rajan S Mathews said in a letter to MLA Ram Lal Sharma, who expressed concerns about the tower radiation. According to Mathews, any unwarranted concern over installing telecom towers would impact the government’s Digital India dream of the Prime Minister.

“Though India’s EMF guidelines are based on the WHO-commissioned ICNIRP’s (International Commission for NonIonising Radiation Protection) norms, which are followed by many countries worldwide, we have reduced its (ICNIRP) limits to one-tenth in 2011, becoming one of the safest countries,” the letter further pointed out.

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Ria Lakshman. V is a lead news writer at The Telecom Times. She studied Journalism at Manipal School of Communication and proceeded to work in newspapers and magazines, with technology as her focus area. Passionate about Telecommunications sector, her move to 'The Telecom Times' was a natural choice. Alongside, she also writes for Telecom Talk, where she covers news and tech commentaries in the sector of telecom. In the free time, Ria loves to go camping, read books, or sketch illustrations. She also runs a local design studio and promotes eco-friendly crafts. Ria can be found sharing her knowledge and insights on Twitter.

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