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Mobile phones a health risk: Govt. panel
New Delhi, FEB 3:
Published on 4 Feb. 2011 12:28 AM IST
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Radiation from mobile phones and towers poses serious health risks, including loss of memory, lack of concentration, disturbance in the digestive system and sleep disturbances, according to an inter-ministerial committee formed by the ministry of communications and information technology to study the hazards posed by mobile phones.
The committee has also attributed the disappearance of butterflies, bees, insects and sparrows from big cities to radiation from mobile phone towers.
The eight-member committee, which included representatives from the health ministry, department of biotechnology and member secretary, DoT, has recommended that mobile phones not adhering to standard levels of specific absorption rate (SAR) — a measure of the amount of radiofrequency energy absorbed by the body while using a phone — should be barred.
It has said mobile towers should not be installed near high density residential areas, schools, playgrounds and hospitals.
Dr R S Sharma, ICMR scientist who represented the health ministry on the committee, said its findings are based on case studies presented by different experts. He added that the recommendations would be used to formulate a national policy and guidelines on electromagnetic frequency radiation for towers.
“The localized SAR value as per the Indian guidelines standard is 2 watt per kg, averaged over a six minute period and using a 10 gram average mass. With higher SAR values of mobile handsets, the public could potentially receive much higher radio frequency exposure,” said a member.
“In the case of a cellphone user, most of the heating occurs on the surface of the head, causing its temperature to increase by a fraction of a degree. The brain blood flow is capable of disposing this excess by increasing the local blood flow and increasing body temperature,” states the report.
Sharma said that compared to Europeans, Indian cellphone users are more at risk due the country’s hot tropical climate, low body mass index, and low fat content.
“Users of cellphone have reported feeling several unspecific symptoms, ranging from burning and tingling sensation in the skin of the head, sleep disturbances, memory loss, disturbance in digestive system and heart palpitation,” the report says.

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