The WHO in its advisory has said: "Studies to date provide no indication that environmental exposure to RF (radiofrequency) fields, such as from base stations, increases the risk of cancer or any other disease.
"Scientists have reported other health effects of using mobile phones including changes in brain activity, reaction times, and sleep patterns. These effects are minor and have no apparent health significance."
The WHO advisory added: "Because exposure to the radiofrequency (RF) fields emitted by mobile phones is generally more than a 1000 times higher than from base stations, and the greater likelihood of any adverse effect being due to handsets, research has almost exclusively been conducted on possible effects of mobile phone exposure.
"In particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group and is currently assessing the health impact of RF fields on all studied endpoints," the WHO advisory dated 20th Sept 2013 pointed out.
In another related development the French government agency ANSES ,in its recommendation said on Wednesday: "Biological effects corresponding to generally reversible changes in the inner functioning of the body can thus be observed, as is also found in the case of exposure to different stimuli of everyday life.
"However, the Agency's experts were unable to establish any causal link between the biological effects described in cell models, animals or humans, and any possible resulting health effects. Given this evidence, proposing new exposure limits for the general population on health grounds does not seem justified."
Rajan S Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said, "It is heartening that the recent WHO advisory continues to validate the COAI's consistent stand that there is no empirical evidence to indicate exposure to electromagnetic fields causes higher risk of cancer and other diseases.
"WHO as well as the French advisory clearly upholds the safety of the emission levels of the mobile phone industry. It also clearly demarcates the difference in impacts of mobile phones and base stations."
India's mobile industry complies and conforms to norms mandated by the Department of Telecom (DoT) which lowered by 90pc , the norms mandated by international regulatory bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
ICNIRP guidelines are regarded as the most credible and are followed by 95pc of the countries across the world.
It should also be noted that the DoT made such a reduction of the ICNIRP levels entirely as a measure of abundant precaution as there is no conclusive scientific evidence till date which links EMF emissions from mobile towers to health hazards.
The emission safety norms set by the Government of India have been determined keeping in mind all the possible groups that may be affected and has enough safety margins to provide safeguards to everyone - from pregnant women, to children, senior citizens, etc, in all locations.
Hence there is no further requirement to have separate safety norms for mobile tower locations in residential, school or hospital areas.
--IBNS (Posted on 17-10-2013)