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Friday, August 31, 2012
RADIATION HAZARDS - FROM CELL TOWERS & CELL PHONES -& HOW TO AVOID THEM - GOVT DESERVES APPRECIATION FOR ACTION - THOUGH BELATED
RADIATION HAZARDS from
& HOW TO AVOID THEM
is becoming known for its indifference to Public Health, Natural hazards and
Technology, in some cases, madly rushes into areas where there are deep,
unknown, hidden hazards. It is OK as long as this experimentation is confined
to Laboratories and, away from human habitations. But, we are doing it in human
habitations –and on human beings. That too – without reasonable safeguards.
is – we must keep up with the west. Be it Nuclear Power generation, or cell
phone proliferation, we want to keep up with and if possible, be one up on the
when the west changes, we don’t change to their level of enhanced safety
madly embraces such technologies without adequate safe guards. Where this
indifference will land us is something – we will see only when the Hazard
happens and affects human lives adversely.
(Yesterday), the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology31 has
brought into operation more Stringent Mobile Radiation Standards.
says, all New Mobile Handsets must comply with SAR Value of 1.6Watts/KG and it has introduced Penalty and Random Checks for
Enforcement. We can of course, feel happy, saying, Better
late than Never.
announcement pats itself saying - Beginning tomorrow (1st September 2012),
India will be among the select few countries in the world to have stringent
EMF( Electromagnetic Frequency)
Radiation Standards, established in the interest of public health, for
mobile towers and mobile handsets. Indian standards would now be 10 times more
stringent than more than 90% countries in the world.
The following are the highlights of the Standards :
Towers (EMF Radiation Norms)
( Electromagnetic Frequency) exposure limit (Base Station Emissions) has been
lowered to 1/10th of the existing ICNIRP exposure level, effective 1st Sept.
Telecom Enforcement Resource & 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
Ø For non-compliance of EMF standards, a penalty of
Rs. 5 lakhs is liable to be levied per BTS per Service Provider.
Ø 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.
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.
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.
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 hand set 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.
Ø The manufacturers in India will provide self
declaration of SAR value of the handset.
Ø Manufacturer’s mobile handset booklet will contain
Ø All cell phone handsets sold in the market in
India will comply with relevant standards and shall be available in hand free
Ø SAR Test Laboratory is being set up in
Telecom Engineering Centre for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets
imported/ manufactured in India.
National SAR Standards from Telecom Engineering Centre
SAR standards from Telecom Engineering Centre are being finalized.
Ø DoT is procuring EMF radiation measuring
instruments for TERM cell units.
Ø Outsourcing for EMF radiation measurement for BTS
towers is also being considered.
Expert Group Study:
Ø A scientific study in India-specific context
is being undertaken jointly by Dept. of Telecom and Dept. of Science &
Technology in collaboration with ICMR, MOEF & Min of Science &
Technology to derive norms based on credible scientific evidence taking into
account diversity of Indian social context.
to State Government:
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.
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
of them are :
distance – Hold the cell phone away from body to the extent possible.
2. Use a
headset (wired or Bluetooth) to keep the handset away from your head.
3. 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.
the length of mobile calls:
5. Use text
as compared to voice wherever possible.
6. 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.
Ø 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.
Test Procedures Document for Service Providers and Term Cell Units:
Ø 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.
of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & IT has ensured that the new EMF Radiation standards
get implemented through close co-ordination with the industry.
underline the Government’s efforts at providing the best possible Telecom
services across the country without compromising on public safety and /human
This was long overdue. Is this enough? Listening to some experts, I feel, it is
not enough. The radiation levels must come down still further. For instance,
very near to my home, there are several towers in close proximity. What is
their combined effect? Each tower may claim to be within LIMITS. But, what is
the overall radiation?
must establish cell phone and cell tower manufacture within India and
experiment exhaustively on it – to evolve the BEST POSSIBLE CELL PHONE
TECHNOLOGY within India. This is a primary requirement. Being better than 90%
of the nations is not GOOD ENOUGH. Those 90% of the Nations put together may
not have the number of cell phones that we, as one nation, use. Also, India
must stop untested, un certified (Like, the Chinese manufactured) instruments
which are proliferating all across India. Untested – implies HIGHER RISK.
Experts have said that – the level of radiation must come down much further-even
per tower and per cell phone. The Independent regulator TRAI must be duty-bound
to conduct checks, monitor radiation levels, their effects on environment, the
scientific methods to protect against radiation, and so on. But, unless,
manufacture of Towers and cell phones also happens in India, we cannot completely ensure the levels that we
may desire. The reason is – India has one of the densest populations in the
world - in our cities – where TOWERS are
in huge proliferation. What applies to US or UK may therefore be utterly
insufficient for Indian population.
find, many of the functions are kept within DOT – and the Regulator TRAI is
kept out. In respect of Stock Markets, SEBI is the Regulator performing ALL
SUCH FUNCTIONS – and this has led to vast improvements in stock market
functioning. It is SEBI which conducts most of the checks on ALL STOCK MARKET
PARTICIPANTS, levies penalties and so on. In Telecom also, it must be TRAI,
under whose jurisdiction, the checking, levying Penalties etc happens. Let DOT
make Policies; let TRAI oversee the function and suggest improvements.
said – the Government certainly deserves appreciation for taking this action –
of reducing the radiation levels applicable to CELL TOWERS and CELL PHONES. It
has also done well to OFFICIALLY PUBLISH THE Dos and DON’TS on cell phone Use.