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Issue 33
, 2011
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Doctors warn of mobile radiation

Source: The Hindu, New Delhi, June 13, 2011, Date: , 2011

Close on the heels of an inter-ministerial group recently proposing mandatory declaration of radiation levels on each mobile handset, doctors in the city have welcomed the move.

“It is essential that people realise that there is the danger of exposure to radiation and create awareness about it,” said Dr. Anita Khokhar, professor at the Department of Community Medicine at Vardhman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital

The inter-ministerial group was set up to evaluate the evidence of the negative health-related effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones and towers. The group has submitted its report to the Government in which it has proposed, among other things, mandatory declaration of radiation levels on each mobile handset. It has also proposed a revision of the limit of 2 watts per kilogramme averaged over 10 gram tissue to 1.6 watts per kilogramme.

The report has been placed on the Internet for public comments and suggestions.

“People rarely realise the importance of being aware about the problem of exposure to radiation but the fact that the Government is now acknowledging that there might be a problem and that there is a need to look into it is a positive step forward,” added Dr. Khokhar.

In the case of mobile towers, the group has recommended radiation norms which are ten times as strict as the existing ones -- from f/200 watts per square metre to f/2000 watts per square metre.

“There has been the confusion about radiation and its harmful effects. Doctors have been advising people against very young children being allowed to use cell phones for long hours and even adults being exposed to its radiation due to over-use. Though there are no decisive studies about its ill effects, it is essential to warn people. And while an authoritative study about the extent of negative health effects would still take time it would be better to avoid overexposure,” said a senior official at Indian Council of Medical Research.