Exposure To Electromagnetic Waves Of Mobile Phones On Fetal Blood Flow And Heart Rate

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INTRODUCTION
Microwave ovens, satellites, and radio/TV transmission and mobile phone transmitters /receivers produce electromagnetic waves daily. As a matter of fact, we are exposed to electromagnetic waves -apart from the occupational exposure- with a frequency ranging from 300MHz to 300GHz. In addition, the common use of mobile phones has given rise to concerns about the potential influences of electromagnetic waves on human physiology. Worldwide use of mobile phones had been increased by the end of 2008 to about 4.1 billions; these users involve pregnant women also. Several studies have looked into the safety of mobile phones in recent years with uncertain results. There is a growing body of evidence that exposure to high density microwaves can cause detrimental effects to the testis and eyes and induce significant biologic changes involving the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and hematopoietic system through thermal action. (1,2) Meanwhile, the non-thermal effects of 915MHz microwaves used in mobile phones has been controversial. There is no epidemiologic evidence today showing that occupational or daily life exposures to microwaves do any harm to human reproductive processes (3), but experimental animal studies have suggested that microwaves can produce intra-uterine effects including teratogenic effects. (4,5)
The present study aims to assess the effect of electromagnetic waves of mobile phones on the fetal heart rate as well as fetal perfusion using the CTG monitoring and Doppler ultrasound evaluation.
PATIENTS AND METHODS

This study was conducted in collaboration between the Department of Reproductive Health at the National Research Centre of Cairo, Egypt and a University hospital of Cairo. The bioethical committee at the National Research Centre approved the study. We enrolled 358 normal pregnant women. They were at 28-32 weeks gestation and had no medical disorders or complications of pregnancy. The women were carrying a singleton fetus. We included 187 women in their first pregnancy and 171 multiparous women with age limits between 21 to 35 years. The study had both pregnant women in their first, second or third pregnancy. Their mean age was 27.4 [+ or -] 6.7.

These women had cardiotocography (CTG) monitoring and Doppler ultrasound evaluation while the mobile phones are switched off. Thereafter, the CTG tests were repeated; while the mobile phones were in the dialing mode for 30 minutes, then Doppler ultrasound evaluation was done just after 5 minutes of hanging up the mobile phone to avoid the disturbance of the electromagnetic waves produced by the mobile device on the Doppler machine. The pregnant women enrolled in the study were instructed not to use the mobile phones for 24 hours before carrying out the tests. We ensured the absence of any mobile phones around the examination room within at least 50m. (2) For all women Doppler ultrasound of the umbilical artery was performed using an ultrasound machine (Toshiba Sonace, Korea). The Resistance Index (RI) was traced before and five minutes after using the mobile phone on dialing mode for 30 minutes, to avoid the disturbance in the monitor caused by the mobile phone.

The recorded fetal heart rate strips before and after the mobile phone use were blindly analyzed with respect to baseline fetal heart rate, accelerations, and decelerations.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

Data were statistically described in terms of range, mean [+ or -] standard deviation ([+ or -] SD). Comparison of quantitative variables was carried out using Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired (matched) samples. A probability value (P value) less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS

Fetal heart rate (FHR) baseline was generally higher by 5 beats per minute while using the mobile phones however, this was not statistically significant (P=0.79). Although, the FHR demonstrated an increased number of accelerations while the mothers were talking on the mobile phones as evidenced by more mean numbers of accelerations during exposure than before exposure (1.57 [+ or -] 0.85 vs. 1.14 [+ or -] 0.54, respectively), this difference was not statistically significant.

Nevertheless, the FHR showed higher amplitude of rise while the electromagnetic field was generated than when the phone was switched off. This was statistically significant (19.6 [+ or -] 6.3 vs. 9.3 [+ or -] 3.8; P= 0.01). We did not record any decelerations in the FHR in this cohort of pregnant women whether while the mobile phones were on the dialing mode or switched off. As regards the blood flow through the utero-placental unit, it was evident that the umbilical artery blood flow was not influenced by the electromagnetic waves of the mobile phones. The Doppler RI of the umbilical artery while the mobile phone was not in use was 0.67+ 0.05 however it was 0.67+ 0.04 after usage with no significant difference (P=0.32).

DISCUSSION

Although there is evidence that the electromagnetic waves produced from mobile phones with low intensity currently used do not exert non-thermal influences on cardiovascular and hormonal parameters of the autonomic nervous system (6), however, the influence on pregnancy and the growing fetus remains to be elucidated. Anatomically the fetus may be in close proximity to the mobile phone while on or stand by modes. There has been continuing concern about possible hazardous effects of electromagnetic waves, due to increased use of mobile phones in pregnancy. Several animal experiments have demonstrated that intrauterine exposures to hyperthermia from microwaves and ultrasound can produce malformations, growth restriction and embryonic loss. Nevertheless, the usual exposure to electromagnetic waves of mobile phones does not result in hyperthermia to the embryo. (7,8)

To the best of our knowledge this is the first study that addresses the effect of the electromagnetic waves emitted off the mobile phones on the fetal perfusion and well being. Our study has shown that although there was no difference in the fetal heart rate baseline or number of accelerations due to mobile phone exposure, the FHR showed higher amplitude of rise while the pregnant women were talking on the mobile phone than while the phone was switched off. This could partly be caused due to the stimulation effect produced by the electromagnetic waves or changing nerve conduction. The same effect on FHR was obtained in Turkey by the study of Celik and Hascalik (9) who found that electromagnetic fields produced by cellular phones do not cause any demonstrable affect in fetal heart rate, acceleration and deceleration. However, the study of Celik and Hascalik studied only 40 pregnant women and the dialing mode was for only five minutes. This may explain the absence of rise of the baseline and number of acceleration we observed in our groups of studied women.

Moustafa and colleagues in a well designed trial involving 12 male human subjects has shown that radiofrequency fields of cellular phones generated free radicals that increased peroxidation in human plasma and decreased the activities of the antioxidant system as superoxide desmolase and total glutathione peroxidase in human erythrocytes. This effect was positively proportional to time. Whenever the balance of antioxidants is outweighed by prooxidizing factors as shown by the radiofrequency of cellular phones, oxidative stress may develop in cells. (10) Furthermore, electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phones may affect the FHR patterns by means of changing nerve conduction and cardiac contractility. (11) Also, it was shown that low frequency magnetic fields induces a significant increase in the level of corticosterone in blood plasma. (12)

Moreover, there were no detectable differences in the fetal perfusion detected by Doppler resistance index of the umbilical artery. This finding suggests that there is no risk to fetal well being from mobile phone usage in the short term. In addition, this study reassure about the safety of this technology during pregnancy. However, the long term effects of mobile phones’ use on fetus physiology will need further study, as prospective randomized control trials using large numbers of patients, to reach conclusive evidence.

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A new a brain-scan study published February 22, 2011 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a 50-minute cell phone call boosts activity in brain regions where the phone is held.

“The human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation that is emitted from cell phones,” says the study’s coauthor Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland. She adds, “At this point we do not know what the clinical significance of this particular finding is.”

The social significance is huge. By confirming the “non-thermal” effects of everyday cell phone use, the study once again calls into question current North American exposure regulations based solely on preventing wireless devices from burning their users. This is like saying cigarette smoking is harmless as long as you don’t burn yourself.

Perhaps with an awareness of a long and growing roster of researchers who have seen their funding and careers curtailed after finding the “wrong answers” to industry-financed studies – or possibly because more than 2,000 published studies demonstrating the proven risks of cell phone radiation have been censored by mass media in the United States – Volkow goes on to claim: disingenuously “Researchers don’t yet know whether cell phone radiation is dangerous.”

Research conducted in Sweden nearly 11 years ago – and confirmed by laboratories in Finland and the USA – has shown that aptly named “cellular” phones begin damaging brain cells within the two-minutes of initiating a conversation on a cell or cordless phone.

In 2000, after a 12-year investigation into the effects of cell phone radiation, Professor Leif Salford and his team at Lund University demonstrated that mobile phone radiation opens the blood-brain barrier within two-minutes, allowing blood proteins to enter the brain. Often identified in Alzheimer’s autopsies, these clumps of brain proteins can also cause Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, premature aging and Parkinson’s Disease. [Electronics Australia Magazine Feb/00; British Library Net Sept14/03]

In 2003, Dr. Salford and his Swedish colleagues found that cell phone-exposed rats have an “astonishing number of dead neuron cells, actually suffering holes in their brains from the damage.”

Dr. Salford went on to show that a single two-hour exposure to a cell phone permanently damages the blood-brain barrier. In each exposure, up to 2% of test animals’ brain cells were either damaged or destroyed – including cells in areas of the brain concerned with learning, reasoning, memory, spatial orientation and movement.

Professor Salford concludes that after decades of daily use, cell phone users will suffer drastic negative brain effects, probably in middle age. [Guardian Feb 5/03; wired.com Jan 31/03]

Leif Salford calls these effects, “terrifying.” One of the world’s foremost cell phone radiation researchers now says that neurons that would normally not become senile until people reached their 60s might now do so when they were in their 30s. [RFSafe.com Nov26/03]

“A whole generation of teenagers face premature senility in the prime of their lives due to the use of mobile phones and new wireless technology,” comments RFSafe.

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With nearly 300 million cell phones in use in the United States, some experts say the concern lies with not only with the long-term impact on healthy individuals but in consumers with unhealthy cells as well.
“Think of all the millions of cell phone users. Many of them aren’t healthy to begin with, and many others have smaller brains than the adults in this study. What does it mean for them?” asked epidemiologist and environmental-health expert Dr. Devra Davis.

The Federal Communications Commission’s safety guidelines for radiofrequency exposure do not differentiate healthy individuals from children or those with brain disorders. However, Volkow says different levels of protection may be in order.
“If someone already has brain damage and then stimulates it with electromagnetic exposure from a cell phone, it could trigger something dangerous,” Volkow said. “We cannot say with certainty that for a person with a vulnerability in the brain that radiation from a cell phone would not make it worse.”

The effect of increased brain activity in children because of cell phone radiation is another area yet to be studied.
The skull of a child is thinner, allowing radiation to penetrate deeper compared with that of an adult, according to Dr. Keith Black, chairman of Cedars-Sinai Hospital’s Department of Neurosurgery in Los Angeles. “Children’s cells divide at a faster rate, so the impact of radiation can be much larger, which is why we believe the pediatric population is at a higher risk.”
For now, there are no conclusive answers. And the new research joins numerous previous studies on cell phone radiation that have been unable to definitively prove or disprove cell phones’ safety.

While the world waits for more research to be conducted, consumers can take steps to limit cell phone radiation exposure by using the speakerphone or a wired earpiece to make calls.

“The human brain is sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones, but for the brain to be impacted, the cell phone has to be close to the head,” Volkow said. “So keep your brain away from the antenna.”
Volkow says that since she began working with the National Institutes of Health researching the impact of cell phone radiation, she always uses a wired earpiece when talking on her cell phone.
“We don’t know anything for sure,” she said. “So why not?”

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Countries had established health protection standards for RF. These were based on the Specific Absorption Rate, which indicates the amount of energy from RFR absorbed by the body when a wireless phone is used. These standards weres based on substantial research from experiments with animals and cells. They generally were based on the whole-body average SAR, and only to a limited extent on the SAR in local tissues of the body. Use of the SAR enabled experimental data for various animals at different frequencies to be integrated, and extrapolated to human exposures. The IEEE relied on these animal experiments when it established its standards. Adverse biological effects had been found at SAR levels above 4 W/kg, and it was decided that for the general population a safety factor of 50 would be used. As a result the standard limited the exposure of the general population to 0.08 W/kg in one gram of tissue, averaged over the entire body, for periods of 15-30 minutes.

In the case of mobile phones, the effects of partial body exposure (e.g. the head) may be the most important consideration. A partial body limit of 20 times this value was accepted i.e. 1.6 W/kg in any 1 gram of tissue. Foster and Glaser (2007) have reviewed thermal mechanisms of interaction of RF energy with biological sytems.

Thermal effects: : In other jurisdictions, the limits of exposure are based on the prevention of an excessive rise in body temperature, or in local temperature increase in the case of partial body exposure. This is based on the observation that an excessive increase in body temperature can cause adverse effects. It is also assumed that when there is partial body exposure the effects may be modified by heat removal from unexposed parts of the body. Ziskin (2002) has reviewed medical aspects of RF radiation overexposure.

The biological basis for limiting RF exposure can be found in detailed scientific documents produced by various national and international scientific review panels. The standards employed by Canada are set out in Safety Code 6, which was issued in 1991and revised in 1999. The code specifies the limits of exposure to RF fields at frequencies 10 kHz – 300 GHz. M. Stuchly (1987) reviewed the scientific data on which the code was based, and the rationale for the specific clauses. These can be briefly summarized as follows:

• the limits of the electric field, magnetic field and power density are specified to protect against the direct effects due to RF field exposures, and are based on SARs; they are set at one tenth of the lowest level of exposure that could cause harm for people who are exposed to RF fields in their daily work environment.
• additional limits at frequencies 10 kHz – 30 MHz are set for contact currents to prevent shocks and burns; these limits are based on experimental data for humans;
• more restrictive limits, by a factor of five, for the general population are due to the exposure duration and potential for greater susceptibility to RF of some people compared to healthy workers;
• thresholds for adverse effects for far field exposures are estimated as SAR of 1 to 4 W/kg for the whole-body average. This results in the whole-body average SAR benchmarks for the limits of 0.08 W/kg for the general population, and of 0.4 W/kg for occupational workers. The preceding benchmarks are applied only above 3 MHz;
• below 100 kHz, SARs are much lower, and the ratios of the maximum induced current densities and current densities causing tissue stimulation are used as limits; this approach resulted in the limits for the electric and magnetic fields not being related by the uniform plane wave impedance;
• between 100 kHz and 3 MHz is the transition region to match the limits at two ranges in which specific rationales are used;
• the SAR limits for partial body exposures are based mostly on estimates or “scientific guesses” from the whole-body average SARs, and in the case of the eye on one experimental report.

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Man-made sources of EMF radiation such as power lines, mobile phones, computers, TVs, microwave ovens, radar and radio transmitters provide continuous low-level radiation. It could be the ultimate straw that breaks our delicate immune systems already weakened by chemicals, drugs, poisons in the air, water and food we consume.
Chemical and biological pollutions of man’s environment are widely known, admitted and addressed by international health bodies. Unfortunately, electromagnetic pollution threat is often denied and covered up, making public education and protection hard.

What worries us is the continued unlimited expansion of electromagnetic force usage, which like nuclear force and gravity, is considered 1 of the 4 basic forces of the universe today.

As a result, no place left on earth that is free from man-made abnormal electromagnetic radiation.
As technology advances, electromagnetic pollution – the “by-product” of modern technology – can only get worse. It is not known how to provide an electromagnetic pollution-free environment compatible with modern demands for technological conveniences that will further overcrowd the already overcrowded electromagnetic spectrum in our environment.
As some scientists point out, there is no place to hide where electromagnetic pollution is concerned. But there are many things you can do on an individual level to protect yourself.

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ISLAMABAD: The largest study of its kind said that pregnant women who live near a mobile phone mast do not run a higher risk of having a child develop leukaemia or other cancer in infancy.

The study published on Wednesday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ), reassures parents-to-be living near phone masts.

The investigation studied 1,397 children across Britain who developed cancer by the age of five between 1999 and 2001. The tots were each matched against four healthy counterparts by sex and date of birth, who were selected from Britain’s national birth register.

The researchers then obtained data on all 76,890 mobile phone relays in Britain from 1996 to 2001. Using the child’s household address, they calculated the level of electromagnetic radiation to which the home’s occupants would have been exposed from the phone mast.

Children with cancer were no likelier to have a birth address near a radio antenna than those who were healthy, they found.

No link: “People are worried that living near a mobile phone mast might affect their children’s health,” Paul Elliott, a professor at Imperial College London who led the study, said.

“We looked at this question with respect to the risk of cancers in young children. We found no pattern to suggest that the children of mothers living near a base station during pregnancy had a greater risk of developing cancer than those who lived elsewhere,” he added.

The researchers said their work cast the widest data net so far in exploring the feared link between early childhood cancer and phone masts.

The scare has spread in Britain thanks to the apparent clusters of cancers near phone relay stations.

These clusters are hard to evaluate but may be skewed by faulty or selective data — in other words, when and where the cases occurred may have been random rather than a pattern, the BMJ paper said.

The authors cautioned that they were unable to get information about individual exposure among mothers-to-be to a mobile phone handset. Electromagnetic radiation from a handset during conversation is many times higher than that from a phone mast.

And they added the predictable caveat that their focus was only on early childhood cancers, not on cancers that develop in later phases of life.

In an editorial published by the BMJ, Oxford University specialist John Bithell said doctors should tell patients not to worry about living close to mobile phone masts.

“Moving away from a mast, with all its stresses and costs, cannot be justified on health grounds in the light of current evidence,” Bithell said.

Last month, a large ongoing study said it found no evidence of any increased risk from mobile phone handsets among more than 5,000 people in 13 countries who had been diagnosed with brain tumours.

The Interphone study added, though, that further research was needed, given the increasingly intensive use of mobile phones among young people.

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Mobiles pose a health risk, according to a study funded by the Indian government on radiation from mobile phones and mobile phone towers. Health risks of cell phones and mobiles include cancer, memory loss, poor concentration, digestive disorders , sleep disorders, male fertility etc . Mobiles radiation causes disappearance of butterflies, bees, insects and sparrows from large cities. A mobile phone or cell phone is an electronic device used for mobile phone communication, SMS and data transmission on a network of specialized base stations known as cellular mobile tower.

Touch screen mobile phone is becoming the most beloved cell phone of many children.

Latest mobile/cellular technology aims to offer internet, TV and radio through the “cloud computing”, without the need of television, computer, radio, etc. Mobile phone technology will allow companies banking and trading. But you should not be much happier. Latest mobile/mobile phone technology also provides outsourcing more of diseases such as cancer, memory loss, poor concentration, digestive disorders, sleep disorders, etc. He intended to kill many butterflies, bees, insects, sparrows and consequently reduced the resource of human food and the imbalance in the environment of nature.
In India, unthinkable – 500 000 000 mobile phone are in use. India is the second largest group of users of mobile phones, after China. Overall, the telephone connections in India (landline and mobile) will be closed on $550 million. Worldwide, there were estimated over 4.3 billion mobile users.

Mobile phone radiation has effect on human health is the subject of the recent study in India, because of the huge increase in mobile phone use. Also the World Health Organization, based on the opinion of the majority of scientific and medical communities, said that cancer is likely to be caused by mobile phones or base stations of mobile telephony. National Advisory mobile phone radiation in many country recommended measures to minimize exposure to their citizens a precautionary approach.

India study funded by the government on radiation from mobile phones and mobile phone towers at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) found that exposure to radiation from mobile towers and mobile phones could have a negative impact on male fertility and pose health risks undermining the defense mechanism of cells.

Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT Bombay has concluded there is a 400% increase risk of brain cancer among teenagers using mobile phones for long periods. The younger the child, the deeper the penetration of electromagnetic radiation as the skulls of children are thinner. Interdepartmental committee formed by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in India to study risks posed by mobile phones has concluded the following recommendations.
Radiation from mobile phones and GSM antennas has serious health risks, including memory loss, poor concentration, digestive disorders and sleep disorders. The Government of India committee has also attributed the disappearance of butterflies, bees, insects and sparrows from large cities due to mobile phone radiation.

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There are currently around 50 million mobile phones being used in the UK and they continue to increase in popularity, as new features become available. Just as you struggle to remember life before TV, it would be unimaginable not to have mobile phones – our children have never known a world without them.
While most studies have found no raised risk of brain tumour the long-term effects of using a mobile regularly are still not known as they have only been in widespread use since the 90’s.
It’s Just a Little Phone, How Bad Can it be?

Some ten year reports are now being published overseas that report increased incidences of tumours on nerves that connect the ear to the brain and in the UK, there has been so much concern that the Government and industry are jointly funding a series of studies as part of the £7.4 million Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research programme, the results of which will not be available for some time.

That said, official advice is only to let children aged 16 and under use mobiles when necessary and to text as opposed to making calls, though this can ramp up bills considerably. A recently launched mobile phone for children aged 4-10, the Teddyfone, was widely condemned as irresponsible. A spokesman for the Mobile Operators Association said: “The companies we represent don’t market their products to under-16s, as recommended by Sir William Stewart (Chairman of the Health Protection Agency). We believe that it is a responsible policy and is in line with the advice on health.”
And therein lies the key. Believe it or not, there are ways to use a mobile responsibly that can reduce the effect of the radio waves being pumped through your head. It requires a brief explanation of how a phone works:
Mobile phones are designed to transmit radio waves in all directions because base stations could be in any direction with respect to phone users. This means that a proportion of the radio waves they produce is directed towards the user’s body – your head, in short.

The radio waves that are directed towards the head of the phone user penetrate into the body tissues for a few centimetres and tend to be absorbed. In being absorbed, they give up their energy to the body tissues and this adds to the energy being produced by the body’s metabolism. If you use the phone for a long time (six minutes is considered a long mobile phone call) then your head may feel warm where you held the phone to it – this is the effect of the increase in energy in your head. Some people have reported headaches after long mobile phone calls.

When you think how much smaller a child’s head is with thinner skin (and with the very young, softer bone), giving them the same mobile an adult would use will potentially cause more damage. There are ways of buying a phone that will potentially harm you less as they all have to pump out radio waves to find a signal, though there are recommended limits and some phones have lower emissions – ask your retailer next time you change your handset..
Does Moving it Away From the Head Help Then?

The antenna is the main source of the radio waves that produce a Specific Absorption rate (SAR) in the body. Moving the phone away from the head, for example by using a hands free kit, will reduce the localised SAR in the head but may increase the localised SAR in other parts of the body.

But in a nutshell, using a mobile phone less will give rise to lower exposure and reduce the health risks. Simple, really.
Given that this is information that the Health Protection Agency issue via their website, it may surprise you to know that in the UK there is no explicit legislation that limits people’s exposure to electromagnetic fields, including the radio waves used in mobile telephony, but there are a number of other regulatory and voluntary routes through which exposure is controlled, which you can find on their website.

This is a very sensitive area as so much research is ongoing and any group of parents will have differing opinions on whether children should have mobile phones or not (one million children under 10 already have mobile phones).
But you might want to consider whether the benefits of staying in touch by phone are better than the potential health risks, not to mention the potential risks from text-bullying, excessive charges, inappropriate material and mugging.

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A recent study by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology delving into of the effect of cell phone use on health has raised old concerns about the possible side effects from radio frequencies and the long-term safety of using wireless technology.

According to experts, the constant exposure to the electronic radiation [use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors] that flows from the cell phones and towers into our homes, workplaces, and public spaces is the reason people find themselves battling unexplained ailments, from intense headaches to circulatory problems, and severe fatigue.

The report stated, “People who are chronically exposed to low-level wireless antenna emissions and users of mobile handsets have reported feeling several unspecific symptoms during and after its use, ranging from burning and tingling sensation in the skin of the head, fatigue, sleep disturbances, dizziness, lack of concentration, ringing in the ears, reaction time, loss of memory, headache, disturbance in digestive system and heart palpitation [sensation of rapid heartbeats] .”

The eight-member panel, comprising members from the Health Ministry, Department of Biotechnology and Member Secretary, DoT, also implicated the mobile phone radiations in the disappearance of butterflies, bees, insects and sparrows from big cities.

Some recommendations by the committee
The committee has recommended a ban for mobile phones that do not adhere to standard levels of specific absorption rate (SAR).

SAR refers to the amount of energy radiation that is absorbed by the body while using a phone.

Also, it is imperative that mobile towers should not be installed in close proximity of high density residential areas, schools, playgrounds, and hospitals.

A member of the panel stated, “The localized SAR value as per the Indian guidelines standard is 2 watt per kg, averaged over a six minute period and using a 10 gram average mass.

With higher SAR values of mobile handsets the public could potentially receive much higher radio frequency exposure. We have recommended that SAR levels to be lowered down to 1.6 watt/kg, as prescribed by the Federal Communication Commission of US.”

Kids more prone to the harmful effects of radiation
The report cautions children, adolescents and pregnant women against the excessive use of mobiles and advise the use of hands-free technology to cut physical contact with the body and the device.

Dr. R S Sharma, ICMR scientist, a representative of the health ministry on the committee stated, “People having active medical implants should keep their cellphone at least 30 cm away from the implant.”

According to the researchers, children are more prone to the harmful effects of radiation because their brains and nervous systems are still developing.

In addition, their heads are smaller and skulls are thinner, making it easier for radiation to penetrate their brains.

Girish Kumar, a professor in the Dept of Electrical Engineering at IIT Bombay stated, “There is a 400% increase in the risk of brain cancer [abnormal cells that divide without control, which can invade nearby tissues or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body. ] among teenagers using cell phones for long periods.

The younger the child, the deeper is the penetration of electromagnetic radiation as children’s skulls are thinner.

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Mobile phone networks and the base stations needed to support them are expected to grow with the implementation of 3G technology, and the NRPB study recommends that “monitoring of potential exposures from 3G base stations should be concomitant with the roll out of the network.”

The public also faces ever-increasing RF exposure from wireless LANs, Bluetooth, UWB (ultrawideband), and RFID (RF identification) technologies. “The issue of signal characteristics, in particular the nature and extent to which they exhibit pulsing, remains a subject of public concern,” the NRPB study says.

Despite the concerns raised, the mobile phone industry, as represented by the Mobile Operators Association (MOA), welcomed the study, stressing that “the key point of the NRPB advice is that there is no hard information linking the use of mobile telephony with adverse health effects.”

The MOA was established to represent the five U.K. mobile phone network operators (Vodafone Group, Orange, T-Mobile, mmO2, and Hutchison 3G UK) on radio frequency health and planning issues.

Still, the NRPB study takes pains to point out that the lack of hard evidence does not mean that mobile phones do not pose a public safety risk. “The widespread use of mobile phone technologies is still fairly recent and technologies are continuing to develop at a pace that is outstripping analyses of any potential impact on health,” the study says.

According to the NRPB, data exists that suggests RF fields can interfere with biological systems. The study also pointed to Swedish research that found an increase in the risk of acoustic neuromas, a type of benign tumor, in people who used mobile phones for over 10 years.

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