According to a pilot study done at Jawaharlal Nehru University, rats subjected to radiation from mobile phones were found to have damaged DNA and low sperm count, leading to infertility and reduction in testis size. Now, further research is being undertaken to find out whether excessive cell phone use could be having the same adverse effects on your health.
The Union Health Ministry has commissioned India’s first large-scale study on the effects of radio frequency radiation (RFR) from mobile phones on humans. Spearheaded by the Indian Council of Medical Research, which has just completed finalizing the protocol, the five-year study will be conducted by JNU’s School of Environmental Sciences and departments of obstetrics and gynecology, neurology and biochemistry of AIIMS.
One of the important spinoffs of the study will involve measuring the wavelength and frequency of RFD emitted from various types of cell phones used in India to see whether or not these conform to international standards.
Another study commissioned by the Union health minister will look at the effect radio frequency radiation (RFR) has on neurological disorders like cognitive impairment, depression and sleep-related disorders. Scientists will look at whether excessive mobile phone use changes the white matter of the brain and causes physiological abnormalities.
They will also study RFR’s effect on reproductive health like menstrual cycle, hormonal changes in women, its effect on male reproductive functions and whether it causes abnormalities in the male reproductive tract.
According to ICMR deputy director general and lead investigator R S Sharma, the study will also see whether excessive mobile use can cause cancer or increase the spread of cancerous cells in those already affected.
The study will recruit 4,000 subjects, who will be divided into five groups : heavy exposure male group (1,000 men who talk on the mobile phone for more than four hours a day), moderate exposure male group (1,000 men who speak for more than two hours but less than four), control group (1,000 men who don’t use a cell phone), 500 heavily exposed women and a 500-strong female control group.
The 4,000 subjects will undergo a series of clinical tests, blood and semen analysis, poly-somnography, MRI, ECG, blood chemistry, gynecological and infertility examinations and DNA tests.
At present, India has 250 million cell phone users. By the end of 2010, this figure is estimated to rise to 500 million. India’s tremendous growth in cellular phone use has greatly increased the extent and magnitude of RFR exposure. These new technologies have been introduced without full provision of information about their nature and without prior discussion within the scientific community about its possible consequences for health.