India Commissions Study on Health Impact of Mobile Phones

by Gopalan on  June 11, 2008 at 1:27 PM News on IT in Healthcare
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 India Commissions Study on Health Impact of Mobile Phones
India has commissioned a study on the health impact of mobile phones.

The study, ordered by the federal Health Ministry, is the first large-scale study on the effects of radio frequency radiation (RFR) from mobile phones on humans.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)'s School of Environmental Sciences and three departments of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) — obstetrics and gynaecology, neurology and biochemistry, will be jointly conducting the proposed five-year-study.

They will study RFR's effect on reproductive health like menstrual cycle, hormonal changes in women, on male reproductive functions and whether it causes abnormalities in the male reproductive tract.

In a recent pilot project at JNU, rats subjected to radiation from mobile phones were found to have damaged DNA and low sperm count, leading to infertility and reduction in testis size. The rats were subjected to two hours of RFR for 35 days in a sample chamber.

Dr J Behari of  JNU's School of Environmental Sciences, who had conducted the pilot study,  told Times of India, "We found significant double strand DNA break in sperm cells that could mutate and cause cancer, significant lowering of sperm count and reduction in testis size. The human study would be path breaking."

R.S.Sharma, Deputy Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research and   lead investigator of the new study, said they would also seek to find out whether excessive mobile use can cause cancer or increase the spread of cancerous cells in those already affected.

It will also look at what effect the RFR has on neurological disorders like cognitive impairment, depression and sleep-related disorders.

Like all other radio communication applications, mobile phone technology uses radio waves to carry the information through the air. Radio waves are a kind of electromagnetic fields (EMF) that are also called radio frequency fields or radio frequency energy, points out

When a person is exposed to the radio waves from mobile phones or base stations, most of the energy will be reflected by the body or travel around it. Some of the energy will however be absorbed in the tissues at the surface of the body. Inside the body certain molecules, like water, will start to move or rotate due to the presence of the electromagnetic fields. By "friction" the energy is converted into heat. If the radio wave intensity is very high, the heating may be significant and potentially detrimental.

The specific absorption rate, SAR, is used to specify the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed in the body.

It has also been noted that

The technology is developing at a pace that outstrips the analysis of potential impact on health.

Scientific data suggests that RF(radiofrequency) fields can interfere with biological systems.

Long term epidermiological studies haven't been carried out and evaluated due to the fact that the technology has not been in use that long.

It is still not conclusively proven whether using mobile phone is harmful. The researches in the given field continue, although their results are sometimes ambiguous, the attempts are made to elaborate a unitary standard of permissible radiation level of SAR index.

According to website what can be said with certainty at the moment is - 

The longer time of the telephone conversation is, the more impact it has on a person

The phone of the modern digital standards (GSM-1800 and 3G) produce less impact on human's organism

Also using hands-free headset reduces the electromagnetic field effect to 92 %.

Source: Medindia

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