New Delhi: The telecom boom has transformed the lives of millions of people, but has also set alarm bells ringing over its possible health hazards as the government is now considering norms that suggest taking precautionary steps to minimize risks associated with use of mobile phones.
The draft guidelines prepared by the Telecom Engineering Centre and under consideration of the Department of Telecom have suggested, among other things, that children below 16 years should be discouraged from using cellular phones.
It pointed out that phones and base station antennas used by telecom operators radiate energy that heats up tissues and may be harmful to human beings, especially kids.
“The tissues of children are tender and therefore, they are likely to be more affected by use of mobile phones. Children below 16 years age should be discouraged from using mobile phones,” the draft guidelines suggested.
The draft noted that even World Health Organization (WHO) was studying if there were harmful effects of electromagnetic fields on human beings but the results have been inconclusive.
WHO has, however, suggested a precautionary approach and also come out with a model legislation and framework on electromagnetic field and health standards. Many countries such as Canada, USA, EU, Australia, Japan and China have implemented this precautionary approach in different forms.
In India, the growth of mobile telephones is very high and the number of subscribers may cross 250 million by the end of 2007 and 500 million by end of 2010. This may result in large number of installation of base station antennas.
The cumulative effect of electromagnetic fields may cause undesired effects on human beings, it said, adding there was an immediate need for guidelines to safeguard human beings against such possible undesired effects.