Expert Panel Suggests Stricter Radiation Norms for Mobiles

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NEW DELHI, JUNE 5:

An expert group set up by the Department of Telecom has suggested stricter radiation norms for mobile handsets and towers in order to mitigate any possible health related effects due to emissions from these devices.

The proposed radiation norms are 10 times stricter than the existing ones.

The current rules governing mobile radiation are based on the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

THE CEILING

This body has stipulated that manufacturers must ensure that the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) level of a cell phone does not exceed 2 watts per kg averaged over 10 grams tissue.

SAR is the amount of radio waves absorbed by the body while using a mobile phone.

The expert group has suggested that this limit should be brought to 1.6 watts per kg averaged over 1 gram tissue. For mobile towers the committee has suggested revising from 200 watts per square meter to 2,000 watts per square meter.

Mr Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communications and IT, said, “While telecom is a huge success story in India, any possible health related effects of radiation emitted by mobile phones and towers are to be reflected and ensured in the guidelines. The final guidelines would take into account the best global benchmarks and scientific evidence on the subject.”

The Department of Telecom had set up the group in August 2010 to evaluate the evidence, revisit radiation guidelines for mobile towers and adopt guidelines for radiation emission by cell phones.

This group had experts from Ministry of Health, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Indian Council of Medical Research.

The WHO had recently said that use of mobile phones could cause cancer. The health body advised consumers to switch to text messaging and use of the hands-free option to reduce exposure.

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