New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has published nearly 25,000 articles over the past 30 years on biological effects of non-ionizing radiation but held "current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields", parliament was informed on Friday.
"Based on in-depth review of the scientific literature, WHO has concluded that 'current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields'," Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
In September 2013, WHO, in online question and answers, mentioned that "studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease".
A joint initiative has been launched by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the department of science and technology (DST) and department of telecommunications (DoT), to study possible impact of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation exposure from mobile towers and handsets in the non-ionizing band (300MHZ to 3 GHZ) on life, said Prasad.
The DST has identified and initiated 19 research studies in 2015, including those from All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
"These research will examine the effects of EMF radiation in other areas as on reproductive dysfunctions, male infertility, neurological disorders (cognitive behaviour, sleep related disorders, depression etc.), otorhinolaryngology (ENT) disorders, Psychosocial implications, DNA damage and repair, EMF effects in blood cell/tissues in animal and plant systems," the minister said.
At present, the limits for EMF radiations from base station in India are 1/10th of the existing limits prescribed by International Commission on Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and recommended by WHO, he assured.
Prasad further said in order to ensure compliance to the prescribed stricter precautionary norms of EMF radiation from mobile towers, the extensive audit of self-certificates being submitted by telecom service providers and base transceiver station (BTS) sites is carried out by Telecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) field units of the DoT.
"In case, any BTS site is found to violate the prescribed EMF norms, actions are taken to put a penalty of Rs. 10 lakh per BTS per incidence including closing of BTS site, if the violation persists," he added.