Mobile radiation leads to DNA damage
DC | Uma Kannan/J.V. Siva Prasanna Kumar/ | 06th Mar 2013
Chennai: The widespread use of cellphones, from businessman to streetside vendor, has helped the mobile phone industry flourish in India in spite of various reports published on the ill-effects of mobile and tower radiation, and sometimes radiation even causing DNA mutation.
But the recent report of 1,800 new studies can’t be brushed aside as yet another report as health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad himself has said the report has cited the effects of mobile radiation on neonates and offspring.
Indian Council of Medical Research has informed that Bio-initiative 2012 report has summarised about 1,800 new studies. These studies report about abnormal gene transcription, genotoxicity and single- and double-strand DNA damage among other effects of mobile phones.
A recent study by Yale School of Medicine says that cellphone radiation exposure during pregnancy impacts foetal brain development and may cause hyperactivity among children. Though a few city doctors say they are not aware of studies conducted on the exposure to mobile radiation and its impact on human beings, at the same time, they did not deny the risks of the radiation.
Dr Joy M. Thomas, chief cardiologist, Global Health City, said, “I recently went through a UK study about higher gliosis formation in the brain due to high usage of mobile phones. Gliosis is the pathological process by which nerve fibre is replaced by fibrous tissue. Though there’s no proof between use of cellphone and various pathological conditions, it’s only an association. It’s better to limit the time of mobile usage.”
Dr R. Narendran, ENT specialist, Apollo Hospitals, said, “Though there are various reports about radiation, we personally see how patients approach us with severe ear pain and giddiness after using cellphones for hours together. It’s always better to use a landline phone. One has to limit the conversation and not use the phone for more than two minutes. Also, it’s advisable to use speaker phone or hands-free mobile phones.”
Concrete jungle no home for sparrows
Several years ago a friend was surprised to see sparrows nesting in my home. It was our practive never to switch on the ceiling fan or loosen the curtains behind which they nested, to make sure they were not disturbed.
The two pairs of sparrows raised four young ones. Thrusting a few grains into the open mouths of their young, the adult sparrows would flutter around protectively while they grew stronger by the day.
Our joy of watching them was, however, shortlived as one by one they began to fly away with the lush paddy fields around our house vanishing, leaving us with a post office, a school and several apartments.
Just as we had given up hope of ever seeing the sparrows again, they have started making a sudden appearance of late in the backyards of houses with gardens, although they don't linger for long.
Still, it's a reason for hope that all may not be lost where the sparrows are concerned although it's the same story almost everywhere in the suburbs of Chennai, which have seen their numbers dwindle drastically as more and more open spaces have given way to a concrete jungle.
Best of all, everyone can contribute to bringing them back . If you want to save the sparrows place some grains of cooked rice on the porticos or the roofs of your houses or raise a garden in your backyards, as this will attract them. You may initially invite squirrels, crows or even ants, but eventually the sparrows will arrive as they are naturally drawn to human habitats. The effort would then have been worth it.
Children also in grave danger
Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Lok Sabha this week that Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR) has revealed that Bio-initiative 2012 report has summarised about 1,800 new studies under 24 technical chapters.“Overall, these new studies reported abnormal gene transcription; genotoxicity and single and double strand DNA damage; stress proteins because of the fractal RF-antenna like nature of DNA; chromatin condensation and loss of DNA repair capacity in human stem cells; reduction in free radical scavengers — particularly melatonin”The report has also cited the effect on neonates and offspring and effect on brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy.Also, the specific absorption rate values of mobile handsets have been limited to 1.6 watt/KG and all new mobile phones will have to adhere to this limit.
Sathiyabalan, former telecom advisory committee member, says that mobile phones have cut down 10 per cent of radiation recently. “This shows that telecom operators have done so only after knowing the ill effects of radiation. There are various studies that say radiation causes memory loss in human beings and has many effects on children.”
“It's still not known whether private operators follow the TRAI norms on radiation,” he said.