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IMA allays fears over mobile tower radiation's ill effects on human health

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 17:00 Hrs  [IST]

Allaying fears about the health hazards caused by mobile tower radiation, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has said that cell tower radiation is much lower compared to radiofrequency (RF) emissions from radio FM and television and is not hazardous to human health as has been perceived so far in some quarters.

Addressing a press conference, IMA Mumbai West president Dr S K Joshi said that radiations from the mobile towers poses no threat to health or cause cancer, as is commonly believed. There are no empirical findings to establish that mobile tower radiation causes cancer or any such diseases. Radio and TV have been in operation for over 50 years without any known health consequence. Cell tower radiation is lower compared to RF emissions from FM radio and television, hence it is not alarming. The radiation emitted is just too weak to be harmful. Across the globe, these emissions are monitored by UN bodies like World Health Organization (WHO), which comes out with fact sheets from time to time.

Joshi further added, “We understand that the emission levels are prescribed and monitored by WHO in consultation with other UN bodies like International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and an academic body of physicists, International Commission for Non Ionizing radiation protection (ICNIRP). Across the world and government of each country adopts these standards to the best of their knowledge addressing public healthconcerns. These organizations monitor the situation across the globe in this sector and come out with fact sheets and advisories from time to time.”

He informed that a person absorbs five times more RF from FM radio and television than the base station tower. Radiation from mobile towers has also been found safe internationally and if the Govt. of India prescribed levels of radiation limits are observed, then the fear of health hazards from radiation of mobile towers is merely hysteria.

Joshi further stressed that cancer, of the kind mediated by radiation, is known to be caused by mutations in the cell-division machinery - a clear bond breaking process - which results in uncontrolled multiplication of the cells. X-rays are well known to cause such mutations, which is why X-ray technicians are required to wear lead aprons. “UV rays from the sun, those which are not stopped by the ozone layer, can cause skin cancers in people who do not have enough pigmentation to block them. Any electro-magnetic wave whose frequency is smaller — such as infra-red, microwave, radio waves, and the typical cell tower waves (900 MHz) used for cell phonesdo not have enough energy to cause a mutation in our DNA. AIIMS building itself has cell phone towers, which clearly proves that the medical community trusts the WHO prescribed emission levels.Though only a few epidemiological studies have been conducted, it has found no evidence of cancers in children.”

“Radiation emitted by the Sun is thousand times stronger than ones emitted by a tower. A microwave oven heats up the food inside by bombarding it with microwave photons. The energy inside an oven in one second is multiple times stronger than the cell phone tower emissions. When people are comfortable with such ovens, then they should not have fears about telecom tower emissions,” added Dr Joshi.

“Since there is a growing concern among the masses regarding the harmful effects of radiation, government should share the WHO advisory and fact sheets which come out from time to time with the general public. Circulating the fact sheets in regional language would be a better way of communicating to the public thereby creating awareness on the issue. Doing so will enable the public to create their own perception and judgment about mobile tower radiations and not depend on others/ groups to interpret for them, minimizing the spread of misconception or misinterpretation. The efficiency of emergency services like medical emergency, security etc have significantly improved by mobile technology,” said Dr Parthiv Sanghvi, secretary, IMA Mumbai West.


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