Two central ministers are reportedly afraid of telecom tower radiation!

Two central ministers are reportedly afraid of telecom tower radiation!

The Economic Times (12 April 2013) carried a news item titled “Cell Troubles at Moily’s Home” reporting that  Moily and women development minister Krishna Tirath have refused to have a telecom tower  for fear of radiation.

I  am not surprised. Recently, I came to know about similarapprehensions of two members of the Faculty of IIT Bombay  Do they all  believe in the  false propaganda by “experts”  selling dubious products to save the “suffering humanity” from the alleged ill effects of cell tower radiation? 

The efforts of Shri Kapil Sibal and his dynamic team of ministers to educate the masses on the health  impact, if any, of cell tower radiation appear to have failed. Department of Telecommunications published a simple 15 page booklet titled ” Mobile Communication Radio Waves and safety”.

This booklet concluded thus:

“Intensive International  research has not established any adverse health effect in the short or long term of Radio Frequency radiation exposure from mobile phones and cell tower antennas”.

 If the reported apprehensions of Shri Veerappa  Moily and Ms Krishna Tirath  are correct, it is a case of no light under the lighthouse.

 I hope the following statements from authentic sources  will set their minds at rest.

·         There has been exhaustive, critical and up to date  reviews of  studies on the health effects of cell tower radiation. After such a review, the UK Health  Protection Agency (HPA) concluded that although substantial  amount of research has been conducted in this area ,there is no convincing evidence that radiofrequency field exposure below internationally accepted  guidance levels causes health effects in adults or children.

·         The guidelines recommended by the International Commission on Non  Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)  are enforced by  ninety percent of the nations. Currently,  India is enforcing  one tenth of the ICNIRP guidelines. At these levels , no adverse health effects are expected.

·         On  May 31, 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization IARC/WHO  classified mobile phone use and other radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen (group 2B). This news got lot of publicity. IARC’s Group 2B carcinogen list has 275 items including Coffee, pickled vegetables, talcum powder, certain fatty acids from coconut oil used to make soaps etc.

·         Shortly thereafter, in June 2011, the WHO commented thus in its Fact Sheet No 193: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.

 I request the ministers and others afraid of cell phone/tower radiation to read (if time permits) the following five articles on the topic.

1. Risks from cell tower/phone radiation are negligible (The Deccan Herald 18 May 2013)

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/319823/risks-cell-towerphone-radiation-negligible.html

2. Raising the bogey of radiation (The Hindu , 13 February 2013)

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sci-tech-and-agri/raising-the-bogey-of-radiation/article4413307.ece

3. Myths  about radiation risks from cell tower (The Economic Times  31 January 2013)

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-01-31/news/36658996_1_icnirp-cell-phone-towers-bioinitiative-report

4. A biased, unscientific report on electromagnetic radiation(The Hindu 16 January 2013)

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/biased-unscientific-report-on-electromagnetic-radiation/article4313241.ece

5. A classic example of biased and unscientific  study (The Hindu 23 August 2012)

http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/a-classic-example-of-biased-and-unscientific-study/article3808249.ece.

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About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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