Draft guidelines from Department of Telecommunications
Electromagnetic radiation(Microwave radiation ) from base station antennas of mobile networks-Cell towers- and mobiles phones could pose serious health hazards to people, particularly children below 16 years, pregnant women and those using medical aids, according to a draft guidelines report issued by the Telecommunication Engineering Centre that comes under the Department of Telecommunications.
Seeking strict regulations for installing antennas to protect people from radiation, the report says that continuous use of mobile phone for longer duration may damage some brain tissues. Using hands-free facility seems to be a better option, if longer use is unavoidable.
The report says: “The studies of possible hazards to human health from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields suggest that there is need to control the unwanted exposure as per the World Health Organization guidelines.”
According to the report, mobile phones and radio terminals radiate RF energy that heat up the tissues. During use, mobile phones are usually kept close to the ear, which is very near to the brain. It is reported that continuous use of mobile phone for longer duration may cause high tone sensori neural hearing loss.
The report says the tissues of children are growing stage with thinner skull bones, and therefore they are likely to be more affected by use of mobile phones. Children below 16 years should be discouraged from using mobile phones. It is advisable to ban the use of mobile phones in schools and colleges.
The use of mobile phones or radio terminals by persons, using medical aids such as pace makers, defibrillators, hearing aids cochlear implants and other implants should be used with extreme caution, while the use of mobile phones or radio terminals in vulnerable areas of hospitals such as intensive care units, should be prohibited or restricted as decided by the hospital authorities.
Need for Public awareness
It is important to make people aware of the hidden dangers and lessen the use of mobile phones. The radio frequency electromagnetic field generated around the base station antenna may be harmful to general public and operator or maintenance personnel. The practice of installing antennas needs to be regulated in order to protect the general public from undesired effects caused by electromagnetic fields around the antenna.
As a precautionary measure, the mobile phone service providers or manufacturers should avoid promotional advertisements showing vulnerable segments such as children or pregnant women using mobile phones, the draft says.
Calling for raising the level of understanding about mobile phone technology and reduce mistrust and fears both real and perceived, the report suggests developing an effective system of health information and communication as per the WHO guidelines. More independent studies are welcome.
“The Government of India, especially the Ministry of Health, may initiate public awareness programme in line with WHO recommendations,” it says.
Also plan to conduct independent studies in this regard .The study will include 4,000 participants and will be conducted under the ICMR guidance in association with JNU”s School of Environmental Sciences and obstetrics & gynecology, neurology and biochemistry departments of AIIMS. Furthermore the study will also analyze if the radio frequency wave radiations in India are compliant with international standards.
Mobile phone radiations have been linked to various disorders like depression and sleeping disorders. The present study will also try to pin point if the radio frequency wave radiations cause any effect on fertility of humans, on menstrual cycle, hormonal changes in women and the male reproductive system.
The current Indian government initiative is to be welcomed because the mobile phone user base in India is growing rapidly. It is estimated that the number of mobile phone users will be 50 crore by year 2010, at present it is around 25 crore out of a population of 115 crore.It is in second place, next to china, even USA is in third place.