Cell users throw safety measures to the winds

HT Correspondent
Kanpur, February 19

AROUND 4,000 Kanpurites are suffering from various ailments because of injudicious use of cell phones, claimed ENT specialist Dr Devendra Lalchandani. Despite repeated horror stories about mobile phones in the media, many locals avoid safety instructions for using cell phones.

According to doctors, cell phones are low power radio devices that transmit and receive radio frequency radiation (at frequencies in the microwave range of 900-1800 MHz) through an antenna which is quite close to the user’s head. Digital systems have recently replaced analogue.

“We have treated number of cases like deafness, ear pain, insomnia, nausea and headache due to excessive use of cell phones. Medically, we cannot prove that these symptoms were due to mobile phone use, but excessive cell phone use is certainly one of the reasons behind the ailments,” said Dr Lalchandani.

Experts were of the view microwaves might induce or promote cancer and the symptoms associated with their use included sleep disorder, memory loss, headache, nausea and dizziness.

Change in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, electroencephalographic activity and blood pressure have also been reported. The validity of many of these findings is uncertain, as are the mechanisms for such actions.

Even so, experts said there was sufficient anecdotal evidence to justify further research and taking a precautionary approach to the use of cell phones.

According to director of JK Cancer Institute Dr RK Katiyar, today’s cell phones, with a total power output of about 1 W, are estimated to produce insignificant local heating (equivalent to about a 0.1 degree Celsius in the brain). Although the recommended limits of exposure was similar in the United States, India and western Europe, there was no global consensus. But microwave radiation as negligible as 0.1degree Celsius still posed risk to living systems, he said.

According to Dr Katiyar, limits on exposure for workers had been suggested by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.

Dr Katiyar says, “ It is difficult to establish that cancer is caused by the excessive use of mobile phone but it could be one of the reasons. In vitro experiments on cell proliferation, membrane properties, and ion channels are difficult to extrapolate to humans. Although some studies have claimed to show an increase in DNA strand breaks in rats, others have failed to replicate this finding.

HT Media Ltd. 2006. India News


Informant: Mark G.



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