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Study to look into hazards of cellphone

How does electromagnetic radiation emitted from cellphones and cellular towers affect Indians? To get the exact data on Indians, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is doing a R1-crore study, involving 5,000 people over five years in Delhi.

delhi Updated: Mar 10, 2011 23:19 IST
Rhythma Kaul

How does electromagnetic radiation emitted from cellphones and cellular towers affect Indians? To get the exact data on Indians, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is doing a Rs 1-crore study, involving 5,000 people over five years in Delhi.

“The long-term impact of radiofrequency radiations can vary due to physical and environmental factors, such as bone mass density, muscle mass, climatic conditions, wind velocity etc,” said Dr RS Sharma, deputy director general, division of reproductive health and nutrition, ICMR.

“So far, we use global data but there is need for a study to assess the health impact on Indians,” said Sharma, who was part of an eight-member inter-ministerial panel that submitted its report on the impact of these radiations last month.

The study, which will be conducted at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), will collect data to formulate safety guidelines for India. International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines are currently being used as a safety benchmark.

As many as six departments from AIIMS will be involved in the study that will check the neurological, gynaecological and reproductive, cardiovascular, ear, nose and throat, blood system and cancerous effects of radiation on the human body.

People between 18 and 45 years of age will be divided into five groups — heavy users, who use mobile for more than four hours in a day; moderate users using it between two and four hours; low users, for less than two hours, non-users and controlled users, or people who have had no contact with radiations. “We would need Delhiites who never used cellphones or cordless phones and don’t live near cellphone towers,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar, associate professor, department of ENT, AIIMS, who is a part of the study team. Some studies have linked continuous radiation exposure to fatigue, sleep disturbance, dizziness, lack of concentration etc.