But DoT panel says there is no conclusive evidence on the dangers of radiation from mobile towers

New Delhi : A panel set up by the Department of Telecommunications has said there is “no conclusive evidence” about the dangers of radiation from mobile towers and that greater efforts should be made to allay fears caused by misinformation.

The 13-member panel rejected claims by Girish Kumar, a professor in the electrical engineering department of the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, that radiation from mobile towers causes cancer and brain tumours. It said there is no scientific evidence to back such assertions.

Mobile phones emit low levels of radio-frequency energy. The radio-frequency exposure that people experience from base stations is typically much lower than from cellphones because the antennas are mounted on towers or other building structures and are substantially farther away from the public, according to the US Food and Drug Administration website.

Kumar had claimed in a petition before the Allahabad High Court that radiation from mobile towers is harmful for human health. The court directed the formation of the panel to study the adverse impact of mobile tower radiation and suggest safety steps.

The panel consisted of government officials, IIT professors from Kharagpur, Kanpur and Roorkee, a medical consultant from AIIMS and scientists, including Kumar.

There have been fears among people that radiation from mobile towers causes cancer and has other effects on health. This has led some people to object to installation of mobile towers near their homes, which affects network coverage.

The DoT panel said a committee under the World Health Organisation, after studying 25,000 articles published over 30 years, has concluded that current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequence from exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.

“There is no conclusive evidence about the stated dangers of EMF radiation from mobile BTS (base transceiver station) tower as raised by the petitioner,” the DoT panel concluded. The committee said Kumar admitted to his commercial interests in a family business of radiation-shielding solutions.

All members of the DoT panel agreed to the findings, except Kumar who signed off on the report, saying, “I don’t agree with report. Committee was biased.” “Why will people need to buy my products if companies reduce emission from mobile towers? I want them to reduce radiation levels as adopted by many countries abroad,” he said.                According to guidelines issued by DoT, the specific absorption rate (SAR), a measure of radiation, on mobile phones sold in India should not exceed 1.6 watt/kg averaged over a mass of 1 gram of human tissue. Most countries allow an SAR of 2 watts from mobile phones.                       –PTI

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