The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has initiated a ‘prospective cohort study’ in Delhi and the NCT to study the adverse effects of the Radio Frequency Radiation emitted by cell phones and the relay towers used by the mobile service providers.
This was revealed in a report submitted by the ICMR following a directive from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In fact, the move by the ministry came in the wake of a petition filed before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) highlighting the failure of the government in protecting the health of the citizens residing in the vicinity of the mobile towers.
According to the petitioner, studies conducted in foreign countries had found that even low levels of radiation resulted in damage to the cell tissue and the DNA. It has also been linked to the onset of various forms of cancer, brain tumours, suppressed immune function, mental depression, miscarriage in pregnant women, Alzheimer’s disease and a number other serious illnesses. Hence, the petitioner sought the NHRC’s directive to the Centre to constitute a panel to study the health and environmental hazards caused by radiation from the mobile towers.
Recently, the Delhi High Court had issued notices to the Centre and the State of Delhi on a petition seeking to ban the high frequency mobile phone towers in residential areas as they were causing health hazards.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher had sought a response from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), the Chief Secretary of the Delhi government and a leading mobile service provider by Jan 14 next year.
The HC order came on a petition filed by Ramnath Garg, who lost his 30-year-old son to cancer, which was allegedly caused by mobile tower radiation. Garg had sought a ban on erecting high frequency mobile phone towers within a 50-metre radius of schools, hospitals and residential localities.