Radiation from mobile phone towers not harmful, says COAI & AUSPI

by Sharon Lobo    Sep 27, 2010

Cell TowerCOAI (Cellular Operators Association of India and AUSPI (Association of Unified Telecom Providers of India) held a workshop today to dispel health hazard myths surrounding electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from mobile phone towers. Doctors from varied specialist fields such as oncology, cardiology and medicine and also academicians presented various worldwide studies which conclude that low-level EMF radiation from mobile phone towers do not have an adverse impact on health.

“Studies have shown that since the advent of cell phones there has been no increase in cases of brain tumor,” said Dr. Purvish Parikh, medical oncologist and MD, AmeriCares. He further added that EMF from mobile phone towers was 100 million times less powerful than X-rays. People do not hesitant to get X-rays done but are always skeptical about mobile phone radiation.

According to the Rajan Mathews, Director General, COAI, RF (Radio Frequency) radiations emitted by Mobile Communication Systems lie in the ‘non-ionizing’ part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Energies below the Infrared and UV (ultraviolet) bands are termed as ‘non-ionizing’. Mathews added that ionization causes molecular change and even can damage biological tissues and DNA. But such damage can only be caused by high frequency rays such as X-rays and Gamma Rays. Mobile phones, AM and FM Radio, power lines, on the other hand, lie in the extreme low frequency (ELF) range of the spectrum. This part of the spectrum, which is used for cellular communication, does not have enough energy to cause any genetic damage.

Interestingly, Dr. Manisha Mohan, Pediatrician at Jupiter Hospital, said studies have shown that EMF radiations from mobiles do have biological effects on humans but they were not hazardous. In fact, the closer a user is to the base station the better it is, as the mobile phone emits less power in such a scenario.

When asked to elaborate on these ‘biological effects’, Dr. Mohan told CXOtoday that it included headaches due to prolonged usage of cell phones. However, she also added that it does not cause any permanent damage to the brain. All the panelists maintained that studies on the effect of mobile phone radiations on health are not conclusive and results from more studies are awaited and so far there seems to be no sign of any harm being done.

COAI is a non-governmental society whose members include Indian private cellular operators, namely, Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Etisalat DB, Idea, Loop, S-Tel, Uninor, Videocon and Vodafone. AUSPI is the representative body of telecom operators who provide both GSM as well as CDMA services, these include Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices.