India is one of the very few countries in the world having the toughest EMF Radiation Standards not only for Mobile Towers but also for Mobile handsets from September 1 2012. This was stated by Shri Milind Deora, Minister of State for Communications & Information Technology while addressing the consultative committee meeting of the ministry. The subject of the meeting was Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) Radiation from Mobile Towers & Handsets.
The Department of Telecom gave a presentation on the subject, through which members was informed that based on the recommendations of the Inter Ministerial Committee constituted by DoT in the year 2010, the limiting reference levels of Electromagnetic radiation from Mobile Towers has been reduced to 1/10th of the limit prescribed by the ICNIRP with effect form 01.09.2012. It was also informed that the committee has also recommended adoption of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit to 1.6watt/Kg (averaged over 1 gm of tissue). Thus, all new designs of mobile handsets are to comply with the SAR level of 1.6 Watt/Kg averaged over a mass of 1 gram tissue w.e.f. September 1st, 2012.
During the presentation if was also stated that the issue of health hazards from the radiation of mobile phone towers/networks has been in the lime light for quite some time. In this regard, several studies have been conducted in different countries, under the aegis of World Health Organization (WHO). There is no conclusive scientific evidence of adverse health effects due to RF emission from mobile phone towers. The scientific studies have been unable to find a direct link between exposure of Radio Frequency radiation and health related issues. Since the effects on human beings are to be studied over a long period of time, further studies are going on around the world.
Members of Parliament attending the meeting raised a number of issues. A large number of members were concerned with the health hazards of electro magnetic radiation from mobile towers and handsets, and also the effect on flora and fauna, especially birds. One member stated that some environmentalists are saying that the egg of the sparrow is not hatching due to this radiation. It was also suggested that the ministry should have a study undertaken as to whether mobile networks and vanishing species of some birds are co-related. A member also enquired as to whether those operating walkie-talkies were taking clearances from the environment ministry. Members also suggested that the ministry must prepare a plan of study as to whether any mutations could occur as a result of these radiations. Concerns were also raised about radiation levels of imported sets, especially those coming in through the gray market.
Shri Deora thanking the members for their suggestions, said that with the standards having been notified, all handsets, Indian and foreign have to comply with the prescribed radiation levels. He also informed the members that as regards the study of harmful effects of radiation on flora and fauna, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) has constituted a committee,under the Chairmanship of Dr. N.K.Ganguly, former Director General (ICMR), having representative from:
• IIT Chennai,
• Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, Lucknow,
• ICMR, Ministry of Health,
• Department of Telecom,
• Ministry of Environment & Forest,
This committee is to examine the harmful effects from Cell Towers on the population living in the vicinity and to develop frame of reference for calling REP for scientific assessment of health hazard and adverse impact on ecology in Indian Specific Context.
The following members of Parliament were present at the meeting: Shri Kunwar Rewati Raman Singh, Dr. Vinay Kumar Pandey, Shri PK Biju, Shri Shivraj Singh Lodhi, Shri SD Mandlik, Shri Balbir Punj and Shri Jai Prakash Narayan Singh. Also present were Secretaries for the Departments of IT, Posts and Telecom and other senior officers of the Ministry of Communications and IT.
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