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Radiation Exposure From Mobiles Harmful

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Exposure to radiation from mobile towers and phones has been found to lead to DNA damage, carcinogenicity and impacted development of sperms and foetuses along with other harmful effects, according to a recent report of 1,800 new studies.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the report has also cited the effect on neonates and offsping and effect on brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy.

"Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR) has informed that Bio-initiative 2012 report has summarised about 1800 new studies under 24 technical chapters," he said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

"Overall, these new studies reported abnormal gene transcription; genotoxicity and single and double strand DNA damage; stress proteins because of the fractal RF-antenna like nature of DNA; chromatin condensation and loss of DNA repair capacity in human stem cells; reduction in free radical scanvengers - particularly melatonin. 

"Neurotoxicity in humans and animals; carcinogenicity in humans; serious impacts on human and animal sperm morphology and function; effects on the foetus, neonate and offspring; effects on brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy; and findings in autism spectrum disorders consistent with EMF/RFR exposure," the Minister said.

Azad said with a number of measures taken by the government, India now has one of the most stringent electromagnetic frequency (EMF) exposure norms in the world.

Azad said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has informed that the base transmitting station (BTS) norms for exposure limit for the radio frequency field (base station emissions) has been reduced to one-tenth of the limits prescribed by International Commission on non-ionizing radiation protection from September 1, 2012.

"Strict monitoring and enforcement of revised radiation norms has been initiated. In 83 cases, where the base station emissions were found to be more than the prescribed norms, corrective actions have been taken immediately," he said.

He added that the specific absorption rate values of mobile handsets have also been limited to 1.6 watt/KG and all new mobile phones will have to adhere to this limit.

"All new design mobile handsets shall comply with the SAR value of 1.6 Watt/Kg averaged over a mass of 1 gram tissue with effect from 1st September, 2012. However, the mobile handsets with existing designs, which are compliant with 2.0 Watt/Kg averaged over a mass of 10 gram tissue, may continue to co-exist upto 31st August, 2013.

"From 1st September 2013, only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 Watt/Kg are permitted to be manufactured or imported in India for domestic market," the Minister said.

To examine the harmful effects from cellphone towers on population living in their vicinity and for developing the frame of reference for calling out request for proposals for scientific assessment of health hazards and adverse impact on econoly, the DoT has constituted a committee a Committe on 1 October 2012. Azad said a complaint handling system for EMF radiation from mobile towers has been launched by DoT on October 4, 2012 in Mumbai.

(PTI)