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Citizens meet to raise awareness on cellphone tower radiation

RESIDENTS of Dadar and Matunga Sunday came together under the Forum Against Cellphone Towers (FACT) to raise awareness on the dangers of electro-magnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphone tower antennas.

Written by Express News Service |
April 29, 2013 2:38:04 am

RESIDENTS of Dadar and Matunga Sunday came together under the Forum Against Cellphone Towers (FACT) to raise awareness on the dangers of electro-magnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphone tower antennas. The meeting was attended by over 60 residents.

“The installed towers and antennae run on 24×7 basis,this can have a cumulative effect that can have serious ramifications,” said neurologist Dr. Ashish Mehta of Breach Candy hospital,who held a presentation on the possible effects of EMF radiation during the meeting at Mancherji Joshi Hall. He said that while cellphone towers have the strongest electro-magnetic radiations,these are not as dangerous as radiations caused by cellphones.

Actor Juhi Chawla,who was present at the meeting,said cellphone companies must ensure the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) value of a manufactured cellphone be displayed prominently. SAR is a limit of safe exposure to RF (radiofrequency) energy and is a measure of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body while using a mobile phone. At present,the acceptable limit is 1.6 watts per kg. “The companies need to spell out guidelines. Cellphones cannot be treated like toys — there should be norms on how to use them to minimise the exposure to EMR. Even the film and advertising industry must depict the use of cellphones responsibly,” said Chawla.

The forum criticised the civic body for its slow action in drawing boundaries and penalising errant cellular companies. “While the municipal corporation has been conducting meetings with cellphone tower associations calling them stakeholders,no such attempts have been made to include us. It is not clear which agency is responsible for ensuring these towers are following the book. Are we not the main stakeholders whose lives are at stake?” said Munshi.

However,Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) rebuffed the statements made. “There is a lack of appreciation of studies undertaken by several national and international bodies by activists on the issue of radiation from telecom towers,leading to unwarranted fears amongst residents. We wish to reiterate the cellular industry is working closely with the DoT and several central and state government bodies to allay fears regaring the installation and functioning of telecom towers.” said Rajan Mathews,Director General of COAI.

The association highlighted its support for the government’s initiatives on the issue such as the creation of common guidelines for installations in all states,a helpline for EMF radiation complaints,and a web-based information portal.

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