GEORGE TOWN (Aug 7, 2011): The Penang EMF Radiation Protection Alliance has insisted that the authorities to adopt a “precautionary approach” in approving sites for telecommunications towers, to prevent radiation from affecting sensitive communities like schools, kindergartens and hospitals.
The coalition of NGOs said there is an urgent need for children, pregnant mothers, the elderly as well as the general public to be protected from adverse electro-magnetic frequencies (EMF).
It made the assertion in countering a recent report by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) that a study on 52 major towers in the state have shown emissions to be below globally-accepted safety limits.
The tests conducted by the Malaysian Nuclear Agency (MNA) showed emissions to be below the maximum 1 milliwatt per sq cm intensity that has been set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and endorsed by World Health Organisation (WHO).
The inspections, commissioned by MCMC and taking around three weeks starting from June 6, were made following safety concerns raised on the non-ionising radiation levels emanating from the transmitters placed on the towers and other relevant structures.
In a statement, the Alliance pointed out that the average electric field radiation levels measured over six minutes were found to vary, with the highest level corresponding to about 0.91% of the exposure limit cited by the MCMC and ICNIRP.
It is the pulsed peak signal that is most damaging, it said, expressing concern that the average value given in fact dilutes the reading to an “insignificant level”.
The Alliance also noted that Russia has set the safety standard there at 100 times lower than that given by WHO. “They are working to reduce further for the benefit of their people,” it stressed.
“Beyond the strong evidence for an association between wireless radiations with cancer, there is increasing evidence for effect on the brain and behaviour,” it stressed, citing effects on memory ability, IQ and learning ability.
“This is an urgent public health issue and we must insist the government responds to the present evidence in an expedited manner to protect the public health,” it said.
The MCMC findings were announced at a forum on July 28 participated by experts who shared the latest studies on EMF and non-ionising radio frequency emissions from base stations and the impact to human health. The forum was attended by more than 100 personnel from telecommunications companies.