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Twenty–five professors and researchers mainly from the IITs working in the field of telecommunications have written an open letter to the Centre, stating that the country’s cellphone tower radiation norms are among the safest in the world and there is no reason to change them.

But doctors and social activists say that cell tower radiation causes a range of health problems, from headache to memory loss to cancer, and demand stringent monitoring of radiation levels.

In their letter to the Union ministry of communications and information technology, headed by Kapil Sibal, the professors have urged the government to avoid making ad–hoc decisions on restricting cell tower locations–so long as these meet existing guidelines––to avoid creating panic among people. The letter says there is "no further knowledge available" to warrant a change in cell tower safety recommendations.

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The professors–drawn from IIT Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras, Delhi, Mandi and Kanpur, and IISc, Bangalore–discussed the issue internally before putting down their views on paper. All have worked in telecom research for 5–35 years

But Dr Ashish Mehta, a spinal and neurological surgeon with Breach Candy and Saifee hospitals, said, "Everyday gadgets give transitory stimulus. For instance, one does not stand before a microwave for 24 hours a day, so cells get a chance to repair themselves. It is when electromagnetic radiation is allowed to continuously bombard a cell that there is a problem. Cellphones have revolutionized the communication paradigm; though cells have an automatic repair system, when there is a disparity between damage and repair, it becomes hazardous."

Manoj Londhe, a member of the Mobile Tower Grievances Forum, said, "International studies show that cell tower radiations may not only be capable of causing cancer, but also cause neurotic disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Most of all, prolonged exposure to radiation may cause DNA mutations and thus are most dangerous to foetuses."




Times of India
23 Sep 2013, Mumbai

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