US releases guidelines to minimise cell phone radiation exposure
Health officials in the United States have warned people against keeping mobile phones close to their bodies and asked them to decrease their usage in guidelines to help reduce exposure to cell phone radiation.
The California Department of Public Health last week released the new safety suggestions for cell phone users, which is a first, that includes keeping the cell phone at least arm's length away from your body while sleeping and carrying it in your purse instead of your pocket.
The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011 classified radiofrequency radiation like that emitted by cell phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
Apart from developing tumours, people exposed to high levels of radiation may also develop low sperm count, headaches, impaired memory, hearing, and sleep among other health conditions.
India, which has an estimated 5.4 lakh cell phone towers and 650 million cell phone users, has also launched an independent study to establish the harmful effects of electromagnetic field radiation on humans and environment.
An inter-ministerial committee was formed in September 2009, to examine the scientific research available so far on the effect of electromagnetic radiation exposure from cell phone towers and handsets on human beings and environment.
The committee comprised experts from the department of telecom, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the ministry of health and others. A special area of concern in the analysis was radiations emitted by fixed infrastructures used in mobile telephony.
"The area of concern… base stations and their antennas, which provide the link to and from mobile phones. This is because, in contrast to mobile handsets, it is emitted continuously and is more powerful at close quarters. The field intensities drop rapidly with distance away from the base of the antenna…," said the report. ALSO READ: Is radiation from cell phone towers harming you? Govt launches website to check
ICMR started a five-year study project in 2011 but is yet to complete the study.
"Unless there is enough evidence to prove otherwise we would like to believe these radiations affect our health adversely," Dr GK Rath, former head of cancer centre at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said.
* Reducing cell phone use when the signal is weak
* Reducing the use of cell phones to stream audio or video, or to download or upload large files
* Keeping the phone away from the bed at night
* Removing headsets when not on a call.
Source: CBS San Francisco