The Department of Telecom has asked all mobile operators to comply with the new emission norms for cellular towers.

Mobile companies have been told to certify all the towers by September 1.

New norm

The new radiation norm issued by the DoT has lowered limit of emission from telecom towers by one-tenth compared to earlier adopted levels.

The current rules governing mobile radiation are based on the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). This body has stipulated that manufacturers must ensure that the Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) level of a cell phone does not exceed 2 watts per kg averaged over 10 grams tissue.

SAR is the amount of radio waves absorbed by the body while using a mobile phone.

But an inter-ministerial expert group had suggested that this limit should be brought to 1.6 watts per kg averaged over 1 gram tissue. For mobile towers, the committee has suggested revising from 200 watts per square metre to 2,000 watts per square metre. This group had experts from Ministry of Health, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Indian Council of Medical Research.

Another study

This came after the Ministry of Environment and Forests ordered another study on the impact of electromagnetic radiation from cellphone towers on avian population.

At the same time, a study commissioned by telecom operators said that radiation levels from cellular base stations in Delhi are hundred times lower than the international safety standards.

Even though there is still no concrete evidence of any adverse impact on health, the DoT has decided to implement lower radiation norms.

tkt@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 17, 2012)
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