While authorities at the Happy Home and School for the Blind in Worli blame the rising cancer cases in the school on the 10 mobile phone towers in the vicinity, the union department’s complaint handling system gave the school a clear chit earlier in November.
There have been five cases of cancer in the school in the past two years.
Experts are citing this case to prove that the permissible limits for electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation from mobile phone towers is too high at 450 milliwatts/ square metre.
On November 1, department officials measured the radiation levels at the school. While the terrace, which the 200 vision-impaired students use as a cricket pitch, recorded 11.53 milliwatts/square metre, the classroom diagonally opposite the towers recorded 2.78 milliwatts/square metre.
Telecom experts say that the permissible limit must be changed. “In the outdoors, the highest permissible limit should not exceed 1 milliwatt/square metre. Indoors, the highest reading should be below 0.01 milliwatts/square metre,” said Anuj Jain, a telecom expert. “The readings recorded in the school are high compared to this.”
While the debate is never-ending, it is the victims who are grappling with the cancer. “There is no history of cancer in my family. I was shocked when I was diagnosed with cancer this year,” said Jyoti Patil, 49, who has been teaching at the school for the past 22 years. “There are multiple mobile towers atop buildings, diagonally opposite the classroom that I frequently teach.”