Govt warns about ill-effects of cell phone radiation

Written by Agencies | New Delhi, June 16: | Updated: Jun 16 2008, 15:19pm hrs
Warning people about harmful effects of radiation from mobile phones, the government has asked service providers and makers to avoid promotional advertisements showing vulnerable segments like children and pregnant women using cell phones.

The electromagnetic waves emitted from mobile phones can seriously damage the tissues of the users' brain, according to recent guidelines issued by the Ministry of Telecommunication.

The draft guidelines suggested measures like limited usage of mobile phones by children, pregnant women and people suffering from heart ailments.

In India, the growth of mobile phones is very high and may cross 500 million by 2010-end, and a large chunk of the users are children.

Many parents provide mobile phones to their children for safety reasons, and to keep connected with them all the time.

The guidelines say that mobile phones/radio terminals radiate Radio Frequency energy that heats up the tissues which may be possibly harmful to human health.

During use, mobile phones are usually kept closer to the ear which is very near to the brain giving rise to fears that continuous use of mobile phone for longer duration may damage some brain tissues.

The report advises people to use hands-free, if longer use is unavoidable and recommends that children below 16 should be discouraged from using cell phones as the tissues of children are tender and are likely to be more affected.

According to the report, use of mobile phones/radio terminals by persons, using medical aids such as hearing aids, defibrillators, pacemakers and other implants should be minimised.

The use of cell phones/radio terminals in vulnerable areas of hospitals such as Intensive Care Unit (ICU) should be prohibited or restricted as decided by hospital authority.

The ministry has asked the manufacturers to provide the details of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value for each hand set on websites or, if possible, on the handsets as well. The SAR value indicates average time for use of mobile phones that can be called harmless.

At the same time, the ministry has stressed on developing an effective system of health information and communication, designed by scientists, government, industry and public, to raise the level of general understanding about mobile phone technology.