New Delhi, July 15 — Does radiation from cellphone towers cause cancer?
Yes, said the Kasliwals, two of who have been diagnosed with brain cancer after three towers were installed next to their upscale C-scheme neighbourhood in Jaipur.
Since then, illnesses, both minor and major, have become a part of their lives and the lives of the 50 other families in their neighbourhood.
“Last year, both my younger brother Pramod and I were diagnosed with brain cancer. Pramod is critical,” said Sanjay Kasliwal, who belongs to a family of prominent jewellers in Jaipur. The Kasliwals have no family history of cancer.
Experts agreed. “Being exposed to a mobile tower located within 50m of your home or workplace is like being in a microwave oven for 24 hours,” said Prof Girish Kumar, department of electrical engineering, IIT Bombay, who submitted a report on cell tower radiation to the department of telecommunications in December 2010.
“Following that, in January 2011, a report by an interministerial committee made recommendations to reduce the exposure to 450 mw/m sq. It has not been implemented yet,” said Kumar.
Cancer happens in extreme cases, with almost everyone living close to mobile towers reporting disorders such as sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, joint pains, among others.
“Even with cellphone use, benign swelling in the brain and head, hearing disorders, headaches and anxiety neurosis are well established,” said Dr Sameer Kaul, cancer surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. The impact is higher in children, who have smaller and thinner skulls.
The industry, predictably, is in denial. “We have extensive factual, scientific research and papers to show that there is no conclusive evidence that EMF, at the levels prescribed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (an international commission for radiation protection) causes any risk to the health and well -being of individuals,” said Rajan S. Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India, an apex body of telecom operators.
People who have developed health problems are not buying that. “If towers are so safe, why bother to have laws and limits at all,” said AK Anand, who is unsuccessfully trying to get cellphone towers moved from his Vikas Puri H block neighbourhood for five years.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.