Technology

Govt's stringent mobile radiation standards guidelines from 1 September

NEW DELHI: Although no tangible evidence is available linking radiation from mobile phones to health issues, mobiles to be manufactured from 1 September will have one tenth of the radiation levels compared to the present mobiles.


The Government has also said that the present mobile handsets with existing designs which are compliant with 2.0 W/kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue will continue to co-exist up to 31 August 2013. Thereafter, only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 W/kg would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.


This has been stated in the new EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) Radiation Standards issued Friday, making India one of the select few countries in the world to have stringent, established in the interest of public health, for mobile towers and mobile handsets. Indian standards would now be 10 times more stringent than over 90 per cent countries in the world.


Furthermore, the Manufacturer’s mobile handset booklet will contain safety precautions. All cell phone handsets sold in the market in India will comply with relevant standards and shall be available in hand free mode.


A scientific study in India-specific context is being undertaken jointly by the Department. of Telecom and Department of Science & Technology in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the Science & Technology Ministry to derive norms based on credible scientific evidence taking into account diversity of Indian social context.


The guidelines for consumers on mobile handset usage include keeping distance – Holding the cell phone away from body to the extent possible; using a headset (wired or Bluetooth) to keep the handset away from and not pressing against the head, and limiting the length of mobile calls and using text.


Radio Frequency (RF) energy is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source -- being very close increases energy absorption much more. Other precautions include putting the cell phone on speaker mode and not carry a mobile phone that is on in chest/breast or pants pocket. When a mobile phone is ON, it automatically transmits at high power every one or two minutes to check (poll) the network.


The norms are as follows:


Mobile Towers (EMF Radiation Norms)


? EMF ( Electromagnetic Frequency) exposure limit (Base Station Emissions) has been lowered to 1/10th of the existing ICNIRP (International Commission On Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) exposure level, effective 1 September.


? Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cells have been entrusted with the job of conducting audit on the self certification furnished by the Service Providers. TERM Cell will carry out test audit of 10 per cent of the BTS site on random basis and on all cases where there is a public complaint.


? Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) has revised the Test Procedure for measurement of EMF for verification of EMF compliance for BTS towers in accordance with new standards.


? For non-compliance of EMF standards, a penalty of Rs 0.5 million is liable to be levied per BTS per Service Provider.


? The BTS site details i.e. self certification, registration with TERM Cell, test results etc. is proposed to be provided on DoT web site for General Public information.


Mobile Handsets


? All the new design of mobile handsets shall comply with the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values of 1.6 W/kg averaged over 1 gram of human tissue w.e.f. 1st Sept. 2012.


? The mobile handsets with existing designs which are compliant with 2.0 W/kg averaged over 10 gram of human tissue, will continue to co-exist up to 31st August 2013. From 1st Sept. 2013, only the mobile handsets with revised SAR value of 1.6 W/kg would be permitted to be manufactured or imported in India.


? SAR value information display on the mobile handsets like IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) display. The information on SAR values to be made available to the consumer at the point of sale.


? Mobile hand set manufactured and sold in India or imported from other countries shall be checked on random basis for compliance of SAR limit after TEC SAR Laboratory is set up by end of 2012. Test results from international accredited labs will be acceptable in the interim period.


? The manufacturers in India will provide self declaration of SAR value of the handset.


? Suitable amendments in the Indian Telegraph Rule under Indian Telegraph Act 1985 are being enacted in support of ensuring compliance of new SAR values for handsets.


? Manufacturer’s mobile handset booklet will contain safety precautions.


? All cell phone handsets sold in the market in India will comply with relevant standards and shall be available in hand free mode.


SAR Test Laboratory:


? SAR Test Laboratory is being set up in Telecom Engineering Centre for testing of SAR value of mobile handsets imported/ manufactured in India.


New National SAR Standards from Telecom Engineering Centre


? National SAR standards from Telecom Engineering Centre are being finalized.


Measuring Instruments:


? DoT is procuring EMF radiation measuring instruments for TERM cell units.


? Outsourcing for EMF radiation measurement for BTS towers is also being considered.


Guidelines to State Government


? Department of Telecommunication has released Guidelines covering BTS Towers so that some consistency gets evolved on setting up of BTS towers. Guidelines have been placed on DoT website.


Radiation Booklet


? A booklet addressing possible queries from mobile telecom users on radiation-related issues along with other informative inputs is also being placed on DoT website.


TEC Test Procedures Document for Service Providers and Term Cell Units


? TEC has revised the Test Procedure for measurement of EMF elaborating the methodology, calculations, measurements and report formats for verification of EMF compliance for BTS towers in accordance with new standards effective from 1st Sept. 2012. This will be applicable for all Mobile Service Providers and Term Cell Units to verify compliance.


Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & IT has ensured that the new EMF Radiation standards get implemented through close co-ordination with the industry.


The guidelines underline the Government’s efforts at providing the best possible telecom services across the country without compromising on public safety and human health.

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