Panel rings in relief for mobile operators

Saturday, August 05, 2006 01:45 IST

MUMBAI: A committee headed by the director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has held that radiations from mobile phone base stations installed on top of buildings do not pose direct health hazards to humans.

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The committee was appointed pursuant to a Bombay High Court (HC) order in a PIL on health hazards posed by cellular phone base stations on top of residential buildings, schools and hospitals.

The committee’s preliminary report, submitted to the HC on Thursday, said, “Over all there is not enough evidence to show direct health hazards of radiofrequency (RF) exposures from mobile phone base stations”.

The committee, headed Dr NK Ganguly, said radiofrequency from mobile base stations were less than those emitted from radio, FM radio and television transmissions.

But, as a precautionary measure, it had recommended the adoption of guidelines laid by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for limiting electro-magnetic field (EMF) exposure till further research data was available on the issue.

The PIL filed by residents of Jolly Maker Apartments (No 2), Cuffe Parade, quoted studies listing the harmful effects of radiations like genetic defects, cancer, alzheimer, fatigue and irritability.

The petition, which named Airtel, Orange, BPL and MTNL as respondents, sought a ban on the installation of such stations in residential areas, near schools and hospitals.

The committee, noting that the strength of radiofrequency fields in front of the antennae varies with distance, quoted three international human studies pertaining to radiations from base stations and said there were no quantitative parameters related to health hazards from such radiations.

The HC had in December 2005 ordered the constitution of the committee observing that even children now use mobile phones and in a state of cut-throat competition between cellular service providers, the risk to public health and safety cannot be brushed aside. The PIL will be heard by the HC on August 16.

COPYRIGHT © 2006 DILIGENT MEDIA CORPORATION LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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