Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the umbrella body of the GSM operators, today launched a nationwide public awareness campaign to dispel the myths that radiation from mobile tower antennae and handsets cause cancer.
As opposed to previous 'misleading' studies claiming that electromagnetic emissions produced by cell phones and telecom towers are carcinogenic, the campaign titled 'Mobile Network and Public Health' says no such correlation has been established yet.
"We have been using X-ray radiations for over 115 years, and we still haven't established the relationship between cancer and radiation to any great extent.
"We believe that mobile tower radiation does not produce any significant harm to humans," it says, quoting, Indian Radiology and Imaging Association president Bhavin Jankharia.
According to the Delhi Medical Association, radiation emitted by the sun is 100 times stronger than that emitted by a telecom tower, making them too weak to be harmful for human health, cited the campaign.
"Cell phones emit radio frequency waves, which occupy the lowest end of the electromagnetic spectrum, and thus cannot cause any sort of mutation in the DNA," said convener of the Neuro Oncology Group at the Tata Medical Centre Rakesh Jalali, in the video screened as a part of the campaign.
It can be noted that following public oppositions to setting up of telecom masts in cities, the government has set strict radiation limits, capping the EMF emission to a 1/10th of the value recommended by the WHO (World Health Organisation), the campaign showed.
The current radiation exposure limit in the country is 0.45 watts per square metre for mobile towers, which is much lower than the limits in the US, Canada and Japan, where this is at a higher 9 watts per square metre, the campaign says quoting the Delhi Medical Association.
As opposed to popular belief that usage of handsets could contribute to brain-related diseases, the WHO Fact-Sheet 193, released in June 2011, says that there is no higher risk of brain tumours or acoustic neuroma with mobile phones use of more than 10 years.
"If there is a link between EMFs and cancer, it must be occurring through a mechanism that lies outside the standard mechanisms of carcinogenesis," the campaign quotes Siddhartha Mukherjee, the author of Pulitzer Prize-winning book 'The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer'.
Cell phone users tend to be more cautious when companies advise them of alternative methods to use the handsets.
In this regard, COAI director general Rajan S Mathews said, "Handset manufacturers only give alternate measures like using earphones to address users' concerns. If the handset complies with the specific absorption rate value, it is completely safe."
The campaign, which will run across several cities, comprises reference books, videos and roadshows involving experts from oncology, radiology, molecular and physical science as well as the WHO.