Cellphone Warnings and the Bill of Rights

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There was big cellphone news out of San Francisco this week – and we’re not talking about the Wednesday launch of Apple’s latest must-have gadget, the iPhone 5. On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, blocked the implementation of that city’s heavy-handed cellphone radiation warning law, pending the outcome of an industry challenge.

This isn’t a case about medicine or Americans’ love of constant connection. It’s about whether the First Amendment protects businesses from engaging in nanny-state, government-ordered speech.

The ordinance, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, would require cellphone dealers to tell customers the devices may expose them to levels of radio-frequency emissions the World Health Organization classifies as potentially cancer-causing. Businesses would be required to prominently display an informational poster advising customers that the energy emitted by mobile phones is “”a possible carcinogen.”” Retailers also would have to provide customers with an information sheet and paste an informational sticker on all display literature, with all language scripted by the city.

The wireless industry has vehemently contested the assertions contained in the health advisory, noting the World Health Organization issued a report in June 2011 concluding that no adverse health effects had been established as being caused by mobile phone use.

In its brief, unpublished opinion, the 9th Circuit – which has jurisdiction over Nevada – reversed a lower-court judge who said the city could compel cellphone companies to distribute a “”fact sheet”” because its Board of Supervisors concluded “”there is debate in the scientific community about the health effects of cellphones.””

All such portable communication devices certainly do emit radio-frequency radiation, at cumulative levels that differ from device to device. Those levels will be higher for people who never put their phones down. Users should seek independent data on potential health effects.

But this case is primarily about “”compelled speech.”” In a friend of the court brief, the Virginia-based Rutherford Institute argues that retailers have a constitutional right not to be forced to speak for the government. As anyone who has looked at a cigarette pack or advertisement in recent decades could have predicted, the court agreed only in part, holding government-compelled speech must be “”purely factual and uncontroversial.”” The debate over the health risks posed by cellphones is far from settled.

“”The very purpose of the First Amendment … is to ensure that Americans are free to think, speak, write and worship as they please, not as the government dictates,”” notes John W. Whitehead, president of institute. “”Well-meaning or not, the government’s desire to communicate a disputed health alert about cellphone usage cannot be permitted to trump the First Amendment rights of San Franciscans to decide for themselves whether or not to advance such a message.””

Those concerned about the possible health effects of electromagnetic radiation have plenty of ways to publicize their concerns. But if freedom of speech means anything, it certainly should forbid government from using the force of law to require anyone to speak out against his or her own interests and beliefs. San Francisco’s ordinance should be struck down before it can spread here or anywhere else.

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Microwave – and other forms of electromagnetic – radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process originally described in the 1970s as Microwave Sickness.

When the talented physician-author Servan-Schreiber wrote those prophetic words he was lucky. It had been 18 years since he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor incidental to an MRI. The book describing the anti-cancer program he developed had sold several million copies and may well have extended his life. Most brain tumors remain hidden and are only diagnosed after metastasizing into seizures or strokes. David’s luck ran out last year, when he died of a glioblastoma—spreading malignant tumor of the brain. Was it merely a coincidence that he had used one of his three cellphones held close to his head regularly for more than a decade before developing this fatal brain tumor? The WHO (World Health Organization) thinks not, having recently declared cellphone and other wireless radiation a “possible human carcinogen,” adding them to a list that includes some pesticides, engine exhausts and solvents. While we cannot be certain whether cellphone radiation may have promoted or caused the tumor that took his life, that is a highly plausible explanation.

In America today, about 20 million children under the age of 14 have cellphones, and the CDC reports that one-fifth of all 2 year olds reportedly spend two hours a day in front of a screen. Increasingly, scientists and policy makers in tech-savvy nations like Israel and Finland are concerned that the ways these devices are used imperil the brain. The iPhone plastic baby rattle case protects the phone’s glass screen from cracking when dropped or chomped on by teething inquisitive babies, but does not protect the infant’s young brain from the phone’s pulsed digital microwave radiation.

Cell phones have revolutionized the ability to carry out research and promote public health interventions. But, there’s growing recognition in technologically advanced nations that we need to get smarter about how we use these and other wireless devices. Fine print warnings that come with all smart phones today advise not keeping phones in the pocket or next to the body — advice that is typically ignored. Growing numbers of national authorities, from Israel to France and Russia are making concerted efforts to promote awareness of the need to Practice Safe Phone.

The proliferation of wireless gadgets overlooks a critical health issue: non-ionizing or microwave radiation at levels that do not induce measurable changes in temperature can change and damage the brain and sperm of experimental animals. A cellphone is a two-way microwave radio with intermittent and destabilizing pulses, unlike microwave ovens that steadily operate at the same frequencies at much greater power. The weak and erratic microwave radiation from cellphones and tablets cannot directly break the bonds that hold molecules together, but does disrupt DNA, weaken the brain’s protective barrier and release highly reactive and damaging free radicals.

A 5 year old’s brain, healthy or otherwise, is encased in a thinner skull and contains more fluid than an adult brain. According to studies carried out by industry modelers in Switzerland and France, the bone marrow of a child’s head absorbs 10 times more radiation than an adult, while that of infants and toddlers will absorb even more. Few parents realize that infant apps such as One Fish Two Fish, Peekaboo Farm, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star may do much more than amuse and distract babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions that children need more real face time than screen time; more laps than apps.

Most disconcerting are findings from Nesrin Seyhan, the NATO-supported founding chairman of the Biophysics Department at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, whose studies show that prenatally exposed rats and rabbits have fewer brain cells — and those that survive sustain more damage to their brains, livers, reproductive systems and eyes. Recent reports from Yale University’s chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hugh Taylor found that prenatal exposures significantly increased hyperactive behavior in offspring. Other research carried out by National Institute of Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, MD, PhD, showed that exposures to cellphone radiation directly alters brain metabolism in human brain cells. Experimental work completed by American, Australian, Greek and Turkish teams working with experts in male reproductive health has reported that cellphone-radiation-exposed human sperm die three times faster, swim significantly more poorly, become more deformed and develop significantly more damage to sperm DNA.
The brain cancer story remains complex, because the disease has a long latency up to four decades and because past uses and users differ radically from current ones.

Distance is your Friend

What can you do to protect yourself from radiation emitted from high tech gadgets? Fortunately, industry has begun to issue more warnings. Samsung provides this advice: “Your mobile device is not a toy. Do not allow children to play with it because they could hurt themselves and others, damage the device, or make calls that increase your mobile device bill. Keep the mobile device and all its parts and accessories out of the reach of small children.”

* When it comes to using electronic devices, remember: Distance is your friend.
* Don’t hold a cell phone directly up to your head. Use a headset or speakerphone to talk on the phone, or a case (such as Pong) that has been independently tested to reduce radiation up to 90%.
* Pregnant women should keep cell phones away from their abdomen and men who wish to become fathers should never keep phones on in their pocket.
* Don’t allow children to play with or use your cell phone. Older children should use a headset or speakerphone when talking on a cell phone.
* Do not text and drive, and use specially adapted antennas for cars to avoid absorbing maximum power as the phone moves from one cell system to another.
* Turn off your wireless router at night to minimize exposure to radiation.
* Eat green vegetables and get a good night’s sleep in a dark room to enhance natural repair of DNA that may have been damaged by radiation.

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MUMBAI: Freedom from the alleged deadly intensity of electro-magnetic radiation from cell phone towers may come at a price for consumers, especially in the city, where tower density is comparatively higher.

A recent department of telecommunication (DoT) directive to reduce levels of radiation to 1/10th may force telecom operators to increase towers or base transmission stations of lesser radiation levels, rather than putting up fewer high-radiati-on towers.

This, experts said, would increase capital expenditure of operators, which consumers may have to compensate by paying higher tariffs. Each station comes at Rs 3-5 lakh and requires costlier maintenance. But sources said companies will have to first appeal for a higher tariff before the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), following which the authority will take a decision after hearing consumer appeals.

Against high-radiation towers fitted as densely as 300 metres from each other in Mumbai, telecom firms may have to go in for lower power stations or towers beyond a minimum 500-metre peripheral distance from each other.

The distance between towers has been specified in the natural habitat by the environment ministry, which is supposed to be 1,000 metres from each tower. But for dense urban localities like Mumbai, having highrises, no specific distance is recommended.

IIT professor Girish Kumar said each tower should radiate maximum two watts of power and be placed 500 metres from each other. “”Consumers can fit repeaters of maximum 0.1 watt capacity in offices or homes for safer radiation levels,”” he said.

Though bringing down radiation levels is welcome, he said, it will not reduce below 450 milliwatts, which is still high. “”Cell phone firms will not obey this directive of reducing levels. They will only assure consumers that radiation levels are lower than what is prescribed. We need a strong monitoring force to get it implemented,”” said Kumar. He said the notification could be a ploy to show the betterment of society but will result in more towers mushrooming, and consumers will have to pay for infrastructure and maintenance through bills.

Kumar said health problems occur after 15 years if the power is .1 watts, but with .45 watts (or 450 milliwatts), it takes few years. “”With 10 watts, it’s a matter of one or two years,”” he said. But Rajan Mathews, director-general, Cellular Operators Association of India), said levels were in compliance with international standards., thus achieving safest levels

The survey was by several institutes, including the wireless communication laboratory of IIT Madras and was sponsored by COAI and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, Mathews said.

TRAI eye on city

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has started setting up its office in Mumbai to keep an eye on telecom, broadcasting and cable services in the western region. It recently appointed Madan Mohan, a senior Indian Telecommunication Services officer, as its advisor for the region, which comprises Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa. Monitoring quality and standards of services through audits and surveys, and ensuring compliance of tariff-related guidelines by telecom, broadcasting and cable operators, will be the office’s main responsibility, besides development of consumer advocacy groups and coordination with telecom enforcement and resource-monitoring cells of the department of telecommunication.

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From Today, Big Dip in Mobile Tower Radiation

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NEW DELHI, SEPT 01: With the Government’s new norms for mobile towers coming into effect from Saturday, India will be among the few countries in the world to have stringent Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) Radiation Standards, established in the interest of public health.

The US, New Zealand and Canada have already adopted similar norms. Indian standards are now 10 times more stringent than over 90 per cent of the countries, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said here on Friday.

The EMF exposure limit for Base Station Emissions has been lowered to one tenth of the existing level, he said.

“Health of the people should not be compromised at any cost. Technology must be embraced but ultimately public health should not be compromised,” he said.

Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cells under the Department of Telecom (DoT) will conduct random audits of the self certification furnished by the service providers.

TERM, which also monitors illegal telecom operations, will carry out test audit of 10 per cent of the base transceiver station (BTS) site on a random basis and in all cases where there is a public complaint, the Minister said.

Another agency under the DoT, the Telecom Engineering Centre has revised the test procedure for measurement of Electromagnetic Frequency in accordance with new standards.

A penalty of Rs 5 lakh is liable to be levied per BTS per service provider on non-compliance with the EMF standards, Sibal said.

According to DoT, 95 per cent of the towers are already complying with the new emission norms.

On handsets, the Minister said all new designs of mobile handsets shall comply with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values of 1.6 watt/kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue from Saturday.

The mobile handsets with existing designs which are compliant with 2W/kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue, will continue to co-exist up to August 2013. Mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 watt/kg would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India from September 2013.

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Cell Towers and Mobile Phone Radiation Norms in India

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An insight into the current situation about regulations for radiation levels from cellular towers and mobile phones in India.

The hazards of mobile phones and cell tower radiation join the list of potentially alarming issues for the country. Multinational companies and telecom operators have been wound up to provide better quality services that are also ecologically safe. The World Health Organization had declared that microwave radiation from mobile phones can increase the possibility of cancer. With the September 1 date approaching, stricter regulations related to electromagnetic radiation emission (EMR) from cell towers and mobile phones will be levied.

Millions of mobile subscribers had taken part in the delayed roll out of 3G wireless telephony networks in India. Now, mobile subscribers will experience it all over again. The Department of Telecommunication had given a timeline for telecom operators and mobile phone makers to adhere to the globally permissible and safe levels of electromagnetic radiation emissions. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has asked the DoT not to permit the installation of cellular towers within one kilometer of existing ones. This is to ensure that there is no potential risk of EMR harming humans, animals and other biological systems.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had informed The Mobile Indian that the Government of India/DoT has already adopted and implemented ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) standards for the telecom sector in the country. These standards are considered to be among the best in the world and have been adopted by over 90 per cent countries worldwide.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising of the Department of Telecom, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Department of Biotechnology, and Indian Council of Medical Research, was set up in August 2010 for studying radiation from cellular towers and mobile handsets. This report can be accessed at . Following that the Department of Telecom announced that new regulations regarding radiation emissions from cellular towers and mobile phones will be effective from September 1, 2012.

Regulation of EMR from cellular towers

While the common man is still half-aware of the potential risks of the mobile phone, macro-level matters need immediate attention. Basically, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has notified the DoT to ensure that radiation emission levels from cell towers are under permissible limits. The DoT on the other hand stated that no scientific study had conclusively stated that cellular towers pose a threat to human life. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal noted that service providers’ cellular towers are maintaining the EMR levels as per pre-defined limits.

The cellular towers run by telecom service providers regularly go through audits and checks initiated by the Department of Telecom to measure EMR levels and quality of service. From September 1, the Department of Telecom will ensure that the exposure limits for radio frequency fields (1800 MHz) will be brought down by one tenth to 0.92 Watt per square meter compared to the current standard 9.2 Watt per square meter. However, Rajan S Mathews, director general of COAI, stated that lowering the radio frequency field limits will bring no health benefits. Also, prohibition of cell tower installation in close proximity to one another could lead to poor services.

If cell tower frequencies are lowered, then the mobile phones will consume higher power and emit more radiations to gain better cellular coverage. Also, with higher power consumption on the handset that would lead to lesser battery life, lesser talk time as well as standby time and more mobile charging energy consumption. So eventually that will lead to an unpleasant experience of mobile telephony.

Minister of state for communications and IT, Sachin Pilot, said, “”Necessary changes in the design and packaging for compliance with this instruction will have to be in place on or before September 1. More stringent self-certification will become mandatory for every tower and mobile handset. The ministry will conduct random checks for RF exposure. Violation of radiation limits or non-certification will entail a fine of Rs 5 lakh per tower.””

Telecom service providers will have to tweak the cell towers to adhere to the new RF level standards and also ready them for the new 1800 MHz frequency spectrum. The government of India has plans to refarm the 1800 MHz spectrum by substituting the airwaves being currently crowded in the 900 MHz band by most telecom service providers. The government of India wants to make this possible by early 2013 but apparently it is too short a period for service providers to invest in and implement such changes to boost the efficiency of cellular networks. In order to perform a smoother shift from the 900 MHz spectrum band to the 1800 MHz spectrum band, the government of India will have to let both the bands exist for a couple of years.

Amendments to SAR in mobile handsets

Mobile phone handsets also generate electromagnetic fields which are basically absorbed by the human body. The amount of radio frequency absorbed by the human body while using a mobile phone is measured by Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). As per current standards, the SAR permissible for mobile phones imported and manufactured in India is set at 2.0 Watts per kilogram of the user’s body mass.

As per the IMC report, DoT had announced that Indian mobile handset makers and importers will have to adhere to the new SAR limit of 1.6 Watt per kg effective from August 31, 2013. This date is for mobile phone makers to phase out their products with SAR higher than 1.6 W/kg and this deadline was previously set to September 1, 2012.

Indian mobile phone makers have already started working on their devices to adhere with the 1.6 W/kg SAR levels. Multinational handset makers are already offering devices with SAR levels capped at 1.6 W/kg in the US while in Europe the limit has been set to 2 W/kg. In the US, the Federal Communications Commission is an autonomous body that performs exhaustive tests to check the RF emission levels and accordingly offer FCC certification mentioning the relevant SAR level.

All new mobile phones that will be sold in Indian markets ought to have their SAR level mentioned on the packaging. Also, old mobile devices that have higher SAR levels should be disposed. That clearly means that if you have been using a three year old mobile phone then it is time to recycle/discard it and purchase a new one. Also, non-branded handsets potentially have higher than permissible SAR levels. It is advisable to keep mobile phones away from infants and kids for they have thinner skulls and are more prone to carcinogenic hazards.

The aforementioned scenario where cell towers emitted weaker microwaves will drive mobile phones to function on stronger waves. That means the SAR levels of the phone might spike in low network areas. Hence, it is advisable to switch off the phone or put it in offline mode in weaker signal areas. Health Researchers advise that one must not keep an active smartphone near one’s head while sleeping at night. However, no research has so far been able to conclude that mobile phones cause cancer and you can read a paper on the same from COAI.

Handset makers will be required to move to an aircraft grade chassis material for their high-end (3G and 4G LTE) smartphones to keep SAR levels under control and diminishing.

Tags and accessories

In Delhi, the State Health Department, Indian Council of Medical Research, Jawaharlal Nehru University and World Health Organization decided in a meeting that all mobile phones that are sold and imported in the Delhi region should have SAR level tags on them. Besides that, there will be a boom in the market for accessories that will help reduce radiation levels emitted from the smartphone and also protect the quality of telephony.

Australian company Pong Research has been offering custom cases for the Apple iPhone, Android based devices and BlackBerry devices. These Pong cases look fancy and also reduce radiation while optimizing mobile phone reception at the same time. The Pong cases claim to reduce radiation levels by up to 96 per cent below the SAR level limits set by the international regulatory.

While a majority of Android smartphone owners continuously crib about battery life, poor reception from the cell tower or improper modem software could be the culprit. With different SAR level values in different regions, we advise users to purchase mobile phones after checking the radiation tags. Currently, the Indian SAR level limit is as much as the one permitted in Europe but soon the Indian limit will be brought down to 1.6 W/kg. So be ware if you are purchasing a mobile online or in a region that has a higher SAR level than the one permissible in India.

As of now, there are no conclusive reports that radiation emitted from mobile phones and cell towers cause immediate harm. However, it is better to be safe and take enough precaution from microwave radiation than be sorry later.

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New Delhi, Aug 31 — Stringent new radiation norms for mobile phone towers and mobile handsets will come into effect Sep 1 across the country, the government announced Friday, keeping in view their possible adverse impact on human health.

“”We have to be careful as a nation. Technology must be embraced but ultimately public health should not be compromised,”” Communications Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters here, unveiling the norms.

Under the electromagnetic frequency(EMF) radiation standards, all handsets will have to display their exposure limit on the handset like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number display.

A penalty of Rs.5 lakh will be liable to be levied per tower per service provider for non-compliance of EMF standards.

The new EMF limit will be one tenth the existing exposure limit for all mobile phone towers across the country.

“”Indian standards would now be 10 times more stringent than more than 90 percent countries in the world,”” the communications ministry said in a statement.

The norms also say that mobile handsets shall comply with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values of 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue. Earlier it was 2W/kg over 10 gram of human tissue.

All cellphone handsets sold in the market in India shall be available in hands-free mode. Existing handsets which do not comply with these norms will co-exist only up to Aug 31, 2013.

From Sep 1, 2012 only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.

The ministry issued guidelines for mobile handset owners. It says customers shoul follow basic health rules such as holding the cell phone away from body to the extent possible and using a headset to keep the handset away from your head.

The government said it will set up a test laboratory in the telecom engineering centre (TEC) by this year-end for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets.

The Comptroller and Auditor General in a report tabled in parliament Thursday had slammed the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for delay in finalising safety standards for cell phones.
–Indian-Asian News Service

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Govt Orders to Implement New Radiation Norms From Today

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Taking a major step in the favour of public health, the government has directed the telecom players to follow the new guidelines of radiation, which has come into effect from September 01, 2012 (Saturday).
According to new guidelines, as of now, the EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) exposure limit (Base Station Emissions) has been lowered to 1/10th of the existing International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) exposure level. It means mobile towers will emit 1/10 times of EMF from Saturday as against earlier.

The higher EMF can cause several deadly diseases like cancer, mutation in human and animals. Viewing the growing network of mobile towers, telecom players and mobile users, the Department of Telecom, Minister of Information and Broadcasting has decided to revise the radiation guidelines.

Besides, mobile towers, now even handsets with higher energy absorption rate can continue to be in use until August 31 of next year. Government has ordered to mobile manufacturing companies to follow the new standard level of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) which has been set at 1.6 watt per kg.
Mobile manufacturers will also have to display the SAR value on the handset and inform the consumer while selling,’ ordered DoT.
With this new stringent EMF Radiation Standard, India has come up into an elite group that has less EMF Radiation Standard.
DoT has also stated that in case of violation of this norm, a penalty of 5 lakh will be levied per BTS per service provider.
Telecom Enforcement Research & Monitoring cells will be responsible for conducting audit on the self-certification furnished by the service providers.

The following are the highlights of the Standards:
A. Mobile Towers (EMF Radiation Norms)

EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) exposure limit (Base Station Emissions) has been lowered to 1/10th of the existing ICNIRP exposure level, effective 1st Sept. 2012.

Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells have been entrusted with the job of conducting audit on the self certification furnished by the Service Providers. TERM Cell will carry out test audit of 10% of the BTS site on random basis and on all cases where there is a public complaint.

Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) has revised the Test Procedure for measurement of EMF for verification of EMF compliance for BTS towers in accordance with new standards.

For non-compliance of EMF standards, a penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs is liable to be levied per BTS per Service Provider.

The BTS site details i.e. self-certification, registration with TERM Cell, test results etc. is proposed to be provided on DoT web site for General Public information.
B. Mobile Handsets

All the new design of mobile handsets shall comply with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values of 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue w.e.f. 1st Sept. 2012.

The mobile handsets with existing designs which are compliant with 2.0 W/kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue, will continue to co-exist up to 31st August 2013. From 1st Sept. 2013, only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 W/kg would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.

SAR value information display on the mobile handsets like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) display. The information on SAR values to be made available to the consumer at the point of sale.

Mobile handset manufactured and sold in India or imported from other countries shall be checked on random basis for compliance of SAR limit after TEC SAR Laboratory is set up by end of 2012. Test results from international accredited labs will be acceptable in the interim period.

The manufacturers in India will provide self-declaration of SAR value of the handset.

Suitable amendments in the Indian Telegraph Rule under Indian Telegraph Act 1985 are being enacted in support of ensuring compliance of new SAR values for handsets.

Manufacturer’s mobile handset booklet will contain safety precautions.

All cell phone handsets sold in the market in India will comply with relevant standards and shall be available in hand free mode.
C. SAR Test Laboratory:

SAR Test Laboratory is being set up in Telecom Engineering Centre for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets imported/ manufactured in India. New National SAR Standards from Telecom Engineering Centre.

National SAR standards from Telecom Engineering Centre are being finalized.
Measuring Instruments:

DoT is procuring EMF radiation measuring instruments for TERM cell units.

Outsourcing for EMF radiation measurement for BTS towers is also being considered.
Expert Group Study:

A scientific study in India-specific context is being undertaken jointly by Dept. of Telecom and Dept. of Science and Technology in collaboration with ICMR, MOEF and Min of Science and Technology to derive norms based on credible scientific evidence taking into account diversity of Indian social context.
F. Guidelines to State Government

Department of Telecommunication has released Guidelines covering BTS Towers so that some consistency gets evolved on setting up of BTS towers. Guidelines have been placed on DoT website.
G. Guidelines for Consumers

Guidelines for consumers on Mobile handset usage have been issued and hosted on DoT Web site (http://www.gov.dot.in) for general public awareness. Some of them are: keep distance – hold the cell phone away from body to the extent possible, use a headset (wired or Bluetooth) to keep the handset away from your head, do not press the phone handset against your head. Radio Frequency (RF) energy is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source-being very close increases energy absorption much more, limit the length of mobile calls, use text as compared to voice wherever possible, put the cell phone on speaker mode, when your phone is on, don’t carry it in chest/breast or pants pocket, when a mobile phone is on, it automatically transmits at high power every one or two minutes to check (poll) the network. . A booklet addressing possible queries from mobile telecom users on radiation-related issues along with other informative inputs is also being placed on DoT website.
H. TEC Test Procedures Document for Service Providers and Term Cell Units

TEC has revised the Test Procedure for measurement of EMF elaborating the methodology, calculations, measurements and report formats for verification of EMF compliance for BTS towers in accordance with new standards effective from 1st Sept. 2012. This will be applicable for all Mobile Service Providers and Term Cell Units to verify compliance.

Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and IT has ensured that the new EMF Radiation standards get implemented through close co-ordination with the industry. The guidelines underline the Government’s efforts at providing the best possible Telecom services across the country without compromising on public safety and human health.

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Study to Examine Impact of Radiation From Cell Phone Towers

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The Ministry of Environment and Forests has commissioned a study on the impact of radiation from cellular phone towers on the avian population, Union Minister of Environment Jayanthi Natarajan said here on Friday.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the sixth edition of ‘Beacon 2012,’ a meet on business ethics hosted by the Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Ms. Natarajan said that the report of the study, commissioned a couple of days ago, would be submitted in three months.

The study was commissioned against the backdrop of a previous study finding that the electromagnetic radiation from these communication towers affected bees very badly and reports of adverse effect on scavenger birds in certain parts of Orissa, the Minister said.

“We’re now worried that the radiation on a particular wavelength will have a deleterious effect on the avian population. This is what prompted the study.”

The Ministry would write to the Telecom Ministry suggesting a mechanism, a task force, perhaps – to monitor radiation from mobile towers, the Minister said.

On the controversy over Dow Chemicals being a sponsor at the London Olympics, Ms. Natarajan said: “I strongly feel as an Indian that somebody who has been responsible for such a tremendous environmental disaster in this country should not be sponsoring the Olympics.”

Earlier, addressing the LIBA meet, Ms. Natarajan urged the business fraternity to adopt a Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in place of the CSR and said the Ministry was moving towards a system of self-regulation and self-monitoring.

While hailing the Indian corporate sector for being supportive of environment protection, Ms. Natarajan said there was much more to be done apart from adopting the path of self-regulation.

The Ministry proposed to introduce 24/7 pollution monitoring by industries and posting outcomes on the website to provide a greater degree of transparency and also push for stiffer penalties on violators of environment laws.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Reiterating the Indian position on climate change, Ms. Natarajan categorically stated that a green economy could not be equated with green protectionism, and countries that polluted the environment for the last 150 years had to pay for it while India’s right to grow and develop could never be bartered away.

BIGGEST GAIN

The biggest gain from the Durban climate change summit apart from the extension of the Kyoto Protocol – still the only rules-based international instrument that made it binding on some developed countries to undertake emission cuts and emission reductions in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility – was that “the Durban Platform was concluded under the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the convention makes it absolutely clear and applicable to all parties that equity is at the heart of any action and any agreement on climate change.”

REDUCING EMISSIONS

Citing a Stockholm Institute study to press the case that the US and other Western nations “continued to cause pollution,” despite their commitments, Ms. Natarajan said India was, on the contrary, doing a great deal through its National Action Plan on Climate Change. “We have voluntarily offered internationally that by 2020, we will reduce the intensity of our energy emissions by 20-25 per cent.”

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Mobile Phones Might Soon Come With a Health Hazard Label

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Mobile phones are potentially detrimental to our health. Not only do we spend countless hours twiddling our thumbs on touchscreens and squinting at ever-too-small text in the middle of the night, but we’re also subject to potentially harmful radiation. This is why legislators are trying to enact a law that will require manufacturers to place warning labels on mobile phones, and which will create a national research program that will look into health issues concerning mobile phones.

H.R. 6358, or the proposed Cell Phone Right to Know Act, will also require the Environmental Protection Agency to update the current mobile radiation standards. The current maximum for SAR — or specific absorption rate, the metric used to measure mobile phone radiation — is deemed too conservative. This then limits device manufacturers and equipment suppliers in terms of the design, power and service levels they can offer.

A federal report by the Government Accountability Office says that SAR limits will need to be revisited, which should ensure “proper balance between protecting the public from exposure to potentially harmful RF energy and allowing industry to provide telecommunications services to the public in the most efficient and practical manner possible.”

The proposed law, introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), will also require device manufacturers to add warning labels on devices — somewhat like the labels found on cigarette packaging. The existing rules on SAR and labeling are quite dated, and are based on research dating back to 1991. Back then, of course, mobile devices were designed differently, and networks used different mobile standards (AMPS, anyone?). With the fast pace of network development and with the increased data throughput that networks can support, perhaps radiation standards need a revisiting.

The basic precept of the bill is information. “As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones,” says Kucinich.

Of course, there are arguments against the harmful effects of cellphone radiation. After all, even our microwave ovens and CRT screens give off more radiation than mobile devices. And then there’s the non-concentric design of mobile antennas, which are designed to radiate the signal in an expanded, rather than focused, manner.

While the issue on radiation is still being debated, the kind Congressman says labels will help consumers choose mobile phones based on their radiation levels — sort of like choosing a car based on emission standards and mileage. “While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation,” Kucinich said.

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What Makes Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) Dangerous?

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Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) is the generated byproduct of electricity traveling through electronic devices. Electronic devices develop a field of radiation or, an Electromagnetic Field (EMF) that is strongest when closest to the source and reduces in intensity when moving away from the source. Increasing the current within the source will directly increase the strength of the field.

Industry experts recommend that exposure to these fields should be less than 2 milliGauss (mG), the measurement of EMFs. For devices such as laptops, these levels can reach up to 175 mG, when processing and computing.

EMF radiation can be dangerous because it can often change field direction, creating a vibration within the tissues of the body.

EMF Vibration Impacts

A vibrating Electromagnetic Field (EMF) touching the body generates heat and cell mutation. In fact, this phenomenon works the same way as a microwave by vibrating molecules together and generating enough heat to cook food. Long term exposure to EMF vibrations can lead to serious health concerns.

With increased temperatures, both male and female fertility can be affected. Studies over the past 20 years show that long-term exposure to high levels of EMFs can mutate cells, burn skin, cause DNA cellular breakdown and many other health problems including cancer.

Conclusion
Most EMFs are fields that vibrate the human body’s cells. This vibration can not only cause heating up of cells, but also manipulate the cells in other dangerous ways.

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