ICMR to study effect of cellphone on public health

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New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) You may not be sure whether the cellphone besides the pillow can cause brain cancer, long usage ENT impairment or infertility when kept in pant pocket. But the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) sees this as a possibility and wants to be sure.

ICMR, the apex government body for biomedical research in the country, has embarked on an ambitious five-year study to measure the effect of radiation from cellphones and cellphone towers on human health and has asked for healthy volunteers in the age group 18-45 years.

“The volunteers will be given a thorough medical check-up once a year for five years. ICMR doctors will visit your house to see how close or far you are from cellphone towers,” says a WhatsApp message from ICMR to the residents of Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).

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Citing reasons for the study “Effect of Non-Ionizing EMF (Mobile Phone Radiation) on Human Health”, ICMR said exposure of radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted from mobile phone to human population have increased tremendously due to the increase of mobile phone users.

“The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic field (EMF) as possibly carcinogenic to human,” said the government-funded research body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Though a review of international scientific data has not established conclusive evidence on the safety or risk of RFR emitted from cellphones and towers, a growing body of scientific evidences indicate the adverse health effects of RFR, which may be possible if not probable, said the ICMR.

Further, as guidelines followed in India are based on data generated from Western countries, the government wants the findings from Indian population living in Indian climatic condition to develop safety standards of EMF exposures, specially of RFR from cellphones and towers.

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“Exposure limits for RFR being followed in India are higher than several other countries as these countries have developed their own health-based precautionary guidelines,” the research body said.

Diseases that may have potential links to the cellphone radiation are brian tumour, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disorder, ENT impairment, electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome, genetoxic effect, infertility, anxiety, sleepiness, poor appetite and headache, it said.

The objective is “to study the effect of RFR emitted from cell phone on brain, heart, reproductive organs, ear and cancer related problems, if any”. The ICMR has formed six study groups of three categories each for males and females based on their usage of mobile phones.

“Your payback is a free medical check-up by one of India’s finest medical institutions,” said ICMR, seeking volunteers who can spare some time to visit the AIIMS, New Delhi, for various investigations once a year.

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–IANS

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