KILDARE’s elected representatives have been asked why children in Leixlip are being exposed much higher radiation limits than new upper limits in India, writes Henry Bauress.
John Weigel of the Alliance for Irish Radiation Protection said the children at Scoil San Carlo, Leixlip are currently being exposed by up to 2,000 w/m2 (watt per square metre) of electromagnetic radiation from the equipment on the side of the Riverforest Hotel, according to the group’s measurements.
The children are being exposed to 200 times the present upper limit of exposure in India, he said, adding that the upper limit in India is now being reduced by 90%.
Mr. Weigel said media reports from India indicate that from 1 September coming, India will lower the level to one tenth of the prevailing standard - from 9.2 w/m2 (watt per square metre) to 0.92 w/m2>
The decision follows a report a ministry of communications and information technology committee to study the hazards posed by electromagnetic field radiation from base stations and mobile phones.
Mr. Weigel, who argues that the precautionary principle should be applied in Ireland, said the Indians the lowering of the limit is a preventive step against serious health risks posed by radiation emitted from towers which includes the possibility of developing certain types of cancer.
The cause and effect relationship though hasn’t been established yet. Last May last year, World Health Organisation classified radiofrequency EMF associated with a wireless phone as ‘”possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
The UN’s health body has urged phone owners to restrict their use and take pragmatic steps to reduce exposure like use of hands-free devices and texting.
The telecom operators are resisting the lowering of EMF limits arguing they will give no health benefits but affect services.
The companis also argue that the steps are not needed as there is no proof of a direct correlation between the radiation emitted by cellphone towers and phones and health.
On July 19, Bord Pleanala gave permission for ESB Telecom to maintain a mast in Leixlip town.
The current government position here is that international standards are being maintained and that ESB Telecom in particular was below the limits.
Scoil San Carlo was one of the objectors to the retention of that mast.
- Henry Bauress