Health Policy

India to ban mobile phone ads showing children, pregnant women

New guidelines have been drafted by the Indian government banning advertisements showing children and pregnant women. According to a study by the Telecommunications Engineering Centre of the Department of Telecommunications, electromagnetic radiation, particularly from base antennas (cells) of mobile networks as well as mobile phones could threaten the health of pregnant women, patients using electronic medical aids, and children. Advertisements encouraging their use among these people at least should be avoided, the study recommended. The report, which will formally be adopted soon, also says that mobile phones should not be allowed in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of hospitals. And those using hearing aids, pace makers, defibrillators and other implants should minimize the mobile phone use. The report particularly mentions the radio frequency electromagnetic field generated around a base station – or transmission cells placed here and there for seamless connectivity – and said that these could be harmful to the public as well as those maintaining them, There was a need to regulate their installation. The report asked the Ministry of Health to initiate steps to regulate the mobile phone operations in line with the WHO recommendations. Copies of the report, made public, are being sent to mobile phone operators in India.

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