Thursday, July 31, 2014

#COAI starts awareness campaign to dispel fears about health hazards due to cell towers and phones

COAI, the apex body of mobile communications companies,has launched a public awareness campaign aimed at allaying health fears and dispelling myths surrounding mobile tower antennae and handsets.Titled “Mobile Networks and Public Health” series, this is the first time eminent experts from India and world over have come together on a common platform to dispel unwarranted fears of health hazards from mobile towers and handsets.The campaign comprises reference books and videos, and roadshows involving expertsfrom oncology, radiology, molecular and physical science as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The campaign, created by COAI, will run across several Indian cities, and is aimed to dispel the myths regarding effects of mobile emissions on public health.The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) too had recognised the issue that a large section of Indian public harboured unwarranted fears that were not based on scientific data and facts, and come out with a nationwide campaignon the same.

Mr. Rajan S Mathews Director General, COAI, said: “Over the last 20 years, the mobile industry has been successful in putting India on the global map, making us the second largest telecom market in the world. This has also brought in concernsabout the Electromagnetic Field with regards to Cell Towers and Handsets.COAI is happy to bring experts from the relevant disciplines such as Physics and Medicine on a common platform to dispel the fear psychosis created by some people who are oblivious of the science and safety regime behind the technology. The video and communication series ‘Mobile networks and Public Health’ will put forth the scientific and safety regime adopted by the Government and industry.”

The book-let and video series will be widely circulated among the decision makers, general public andalso available on social media.

Highlights of the expert speak are as follows:
“We have been using X-ray radiations for more than 115 years, and we still haven’t been able to establish the relationship of cancer and radiation to any great extent. And the mobile tower radiation is inherently a type of radiation that we believe does not produce any kind of significant harm to humans”, said Dr.Bhavin Jankharia, the Mumbai based Radiologist and President of Indian Radiology & Imaging Association.

Professor R V Hosur, Senior Professor, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) said: “Ionising radiation causes damage to the molecules – they break the chemical bonds and can cause health hazards. But non-ionizing radiations (from mobile tower antennae and phones) do not cause the breakage of bonds and do not cause damage to the molecules. Non-ionizing radiation such as mobile emission causes only local change in temperature depending on the extent of use”.

India’s top brain-tumour specialist, Dr. Rakesh Jalali, Professor, Radiation Oncology and Convener, Neuro Oncology Group, Tata Medical Centre said: “The RF waves used in the mobile phone technology are probably at the lowest end of the electromagnetic spectrum and does not cause any DNA kill.”

Prof. Vasant Natarajan of Indian Institute of Science, said :“The cell phone photons do not have enough energy to cause a mutation in your DNA… Period. No matter what their power is. The power density from the sun received on the earth is typically 1000 Watts per square meter, while that at the base of a cellphone tower is ten thousand times smaller at about 0.1 Watts per square meter

Professor Michael Repacholi, Chairman Emeritus of ICNIRP and Ex-EMF Project Co-Ordinator, World Health Organization said: “WHO fact sheet states very clearly that the mobile phones do not cause cancer. A number of studies conducted to ascertain relationship between the electromagnetic radiation and cancer have not found anything to indicate mobile radiation causing cancer.” Reassuring pregnant women about EMF radiation from mobile tower antennae and handsets, Repacholi said that the penetration depth of the EMF is only 1-2 mm, so it never really gets close to the foetus in any significant amount to cause any damage.

Dr. Rajesh Dikshit, Department of Epidemiology, Urology (DMG), and Tata Medical Centre, who is leading a study on effect of mobile emissions on human health in Mumbai said: “A number of researches and studies have been conducted around the globe to ascertain if there is any relationship between the RF emissions from the mobile phone and cancer. However, there is not enough evidence proving mobile phones cause cancer in humans.”

India, like the rest of the world community, has recognized that mobile telecommunications contributes significantly to the speedy socio-economic development. But at the same time, myths regarding health issues due to mobile towers and mobile handsets have gained ground while the country is making rapid progress in the field of telecom services. Rigorous and independent scientific studies and researches across the globe led by the World Health Organization (WHO) have negated all fears of health effects from mobile tower antennae and phones.

COAI continues to work with the Government of India, industry associations, medical practitioners, academicians and activists to dispel myths about adverse effects of cell phones and mobile towers.