A group of health experts and doctors have come together on the same platform to dispel fears of harmful effects of radiation from mobile phones and towers. Also Read - Lava sees silver lining in sub-10K smartphone segment
As part of an awareness campaign by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the experts have assured mobile phone users that radiation does not affect the health of a person. In a video series which would soon be uploaded on YouTube, Dr Bhavin Jankharia, Mumbai-based eminent radiologist and president of the Indian Radiology and Imaging Association, said, “Mobile tower radiation is inherently a type of radiation that we believe does not produce any kind of significant harm to humans.” Also Read - India ranks 109th globally in mobile download speeds: Ookla
He said that the entire issue began when some people made some co-relation between an incidence of cancer and telecom towers without any basis. Various environmental groups, NGOs and activists in India have voiced their concerns over adverse health affects from Electromagnetic Field (EMF) emissions from antennas on cell towers and mobile phones. This has led to opposition against setting up of mobile phone towers on buildings by various resident welfare associations in cities. Also Read - 4G steered 82% of Indian mobile data consumption in 2017
Among others, a Bollywood actress has also become a part of these protests as she has started a ‘reduce EMF radiation’ campaign. “All scientific research has found no health effect,” telecom industry body COAI’s director general Rajan S Mathews told PTI. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)’s chemical sciences professor R V Hosur said, “Non-ionising radiation such as mobile emission causes only local change in temperature depending on the extent of use”. Indian American oncologist Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, said if there is a link between EMF and cancer then “it must be occurring through a mechanism that lies outside anything that we know about the standard mechanisms of carcinogenesis”. “One would have to invent a novel mechanism of carcinogenesis in order to understand how radiation in that part of the spectrum can cause cancer,” said the author of the Pulitzer prize winning book, ‘The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer’. Noted brain-tumour specialist Dr Rakesh Jalali of the Tata Medical Centre said, “The RF (radio frequency) waves used in the mobile phone technology are probably at the lowest end of the electromagnetic spectrum and does not cause any DNA kill”.
In an advisory issued in September 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had said that studies so far provide no indication that environmental exposure to radio frequency fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease. “Scientists have reported other health effects of using mobile phones including changes in brain activity, reaction times and sleep patterns. These effects are minor and have no apparent health significance,” it said. Dr Rajesh Dixit of Tata Medical Centre, who is leading a study on effect of mobile emissions on human health in Mumbai, also agreed saying there is not enough evidence proving mobile phones cause cancer in humans. Experts claim unborn babies also do not get affected if pregnant women are exposed to radiation.
Professor Michael Repacholi, ex-EMF project co-ordinator for WHO, pointed out that the penetration depth of EMF is only 1-2 mm, so it never gets close to the foetus in any significant amount to cause any damage.