16 Dec 2013

No Conclusive Evidence of Adverse Effect on Human Health Due to Electromagnetic Field Radiations Emitted from Mobile Phones

There is no conclusive evidence available so far to establish adverse effect on human health due to Electromagnetic Field ( EMF) radiations emitted from mobile phone. 

Giving this information in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said that the review of available study literature does not establish conclusive evidence on the safety or risk of radio frequency EMF radiation emitted from mobile phone particularly with regard to mental imbalance, tumour, cancer, dementia, headache, giddiness etc. 

Studies are on going to find out adverse health effects of radio frequency Electromagnetic Field from mobile phone use, if any. 

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in its press release dated 31 May 2011 has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (of mobile handsets) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use. Subsequently, WHO in its Fact Sheet No. 193 of June 2011, has stated that there are some indications of an increased risk of glioma for those who reported the highest 10% of cumulative hours of cell phone use, although there was no consistent trend of increasing risk with greater duration of use. 

The researchers concluded that biases and errors limit the strength of these conclusions and prevent a causal interpretation. 

Based largely on these data, IARC has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), a category used when a causal association is considered credible, but when chance, bias or confounding cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence.

WHO has further stated that a large number of studies have been performed over the last three decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use. 

Based on the recommendation of Inter Ministerial Committee, constituted by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on EMF radiation issues, the norms for radiation limit for the Radio Frequency Field (Base Station Emissions) in India has been reduced to 1/10th of existing safe limits prescribed by International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) with effect from 01.09.2012. 

Also Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) level for mobile handsets has been reduced from 2 Watt/Kg prescribed by ICNIRP to 1.6 Watt/Kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue with effect from 01.09.2013. 

Further, Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) under Department of Science and Technology has constituted a Expert Committee / Task Force in September 2013, to evaluate the R&D proposal on the possible impact of EMF radiation exposure from mobile towers and handsets on life (humans, living organism, flora & fauna and environment) and related initiatives.

 In addition, Indian Council of Medical Research is also conducting a multi-disciplinary cohort study in Delhi and National Capital Region to find out adverse effects of Radio Frequency Radiation, if any, emitted from cell phone on adult Indian population. 

To make public aware, DoT has issued “Precautionary guidelines for the mobile users”. In addition, DoT has also published advertisements in National & Regional Newspapers for creating awareness among public for ensuring safety from EMF radiations emitted from Mobile Towers & handsets. 

Further, for the information of the general public, a hand book on “Mobile Communication - Radio Waves & Safety” has also been issued. These documents are available on the website of DoT also. 

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