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Drastic cut in radiation from mobile towers

Last updated on: August 31, 2012 20:57 IST

Drastic cut in radiation from mobile towers



Radiation emission from mobile telephone towers will be reduced to 1/10th of the present level from Saturday, a decision aimed at addressing public health concerns.

Also, the handsets to be rolled out from domestic manufacturing units or to be imported will have reduced absorption capacity, as per the new guidelines.

The minimum distance of a tower (with two antenna) will be 35 meter from a residential building. There are over seven lakh towers for mobile phones throughout the country.

Non-compliance of these standards will result in a penalty of Rs 5 lakh per tower, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said.

"Public health comes first. Technology must be embraced but it ultimately must be subject to public health," he said.

From tomorrow, the new EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) radiations exposure limits are lowered to 1/10th of the existing limits. On mobile handsets, the specific absorption rate (SAR) value will now be 1.6 watts/kg averaged over one gram of human tissue.

Previously, the SAR value for handsets was 2 watts/kg measured over 10 grams of human tissue.

However, one-year time has been given for tuning the handsets in stock with companies. "Any new handset that is manufactured must comply with this norm," the minister said.

Mobile users have also been advised to use headset (bluetooth, wired) to keep mobile away from their body. They should also limit the length of calls and make more use text messaging.

The SAR value information will be displayed on the handsets like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number, which is used for the recognition of the model.

The Telegraph Act will be amended for ensuring compliance of new SAR values, Sibal added.

The government will set up a testing lab for random checking of SAR values of mobile handsets, Sibal said.

Additional inputs: Onkar Singh

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New norms for mobile handsets
  • All the new design of mobile handsets shall comply with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)   values of 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue w.e.f. 1st Sept. 2012.
  • The mobile handsets with existing designs which are compliant with 2.0 W/kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue, will continue to co-exist up to 31st August 2013. From 1st Sept. 2013, only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 W/kg would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.
  •  SAR value information display on the mobile handsets like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) display. The information on SAR values to be made available to the consumer at the point of sale.
  • Mobile handsets manufactured and sold in India or imported from other countries shall be checked on random basis for compliance of SAR limit after TEC SAR Laboratory is set up by end of 2012. Test results from international accredited labs will be acceptable in the interim period.
  •  The manufacturers in India will provide self declaration of SAR value of the handset.
  •  Suitable amendments in the Indian Telegraph Rule under Indian Telegraph Act 1985 are being enacted in support of ensuring compliance of new SAR values for handsets.
  •  Manufacturer's mobile handset booklet will contain safety precautions.
  •  All cell phone handsets sold in the market in India will comply with relevant standards and shall be available in hand free mode.

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Drastic cut in radiation from mobile towers

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Guidelines for Consumers

1.    Keep distance – Hold the cell phone away from body to the extent possible.

2.    Use a headset (wired or Bluetooth) to keep the handset away from your head.

3.    Do not press the phone handset against your head. Radio Frequency (RF) energy is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source -- being very close increases energy absorption much more.

4. Limit the length of mobile calls.

5.    Use text as compared to voice wherever possible.

6.    Put the cell phone on speaker mode.

7. When your phone is ON, don't carry it in chest/breast or pants pocket. When a mobile phone is ON, it automatically transmits at high power every one or two minutes to check (poll) the network.

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Photographs: Reuters.

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Drastic cut in radiation from mobile towers

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Mobile Towers (EMF Radiation Norms)

EMF ( Electromagnetic Frequency) exposure limit (Base Station Emissions) has been lowered to 1/10th of the existing ICNIRP exposure level, effective 1st Sept. 2012.

Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cells have been entrusted with the job of conducting audit on the self certification furnished by the Service Providers. TERM Cell will carry out test audit of 10% of the BTS site on random basis and on all cases where there is a public complaint.

Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) has revised the Test Procedure for measurement of EMF for verification of EMF compliance for BTS towers in accordance with new standards.

For non-compliance of EMF standards, a penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs is liable to be levied per BTS per Service Provider.

The BTS site details i.e. self certification, registration with TERM Cell, test results etc. is proposed to be provided on DoT web site for General Public information.

SAR Test Laboratory:

SAR Test Laboratory is being set up in Telecom Engineering Centre for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets imported/ manufactured in India.

New National SAR Standards from Telecom Engineering Centre

National SAR standards from Telecom Engineering Centre are being finalized.

Measuring Instruments:

DoT is procuring EMF radiation measuring instruments for TERM cell units.

Outsourcing for EMF radiation measurement for BTS towers is also being considered.

Expert Group Study:

A scientific study in India-specific context is being undertaken jointly by Dept. of Telecom and Dept. of Science & Technology in collaboration with ICMR, MOEF & Min of Science & Technology to derive norms based on credible scientific evidence  diversity of Indian social context.

Image: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.

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