SINGAPORE: The levels of mobile phone radiation permitted in Singapore comply with international standards and are considerably safe, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in a written reply to a parliament question.
Nominated Member of Parliament Tan Su Shan had asked for the ministry’s response to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) categorisation of mobile phone radiation as a carcinogen risk.
She also asked the minister if there are plans to study Taiwan’s action to limit mobile phone usage by students.
In May 2011, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced the classification of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".
This meant that there could be risks and a need to keep a close watch for links between mobile phones and cancer risk was necessary.
Dr Balakrishnan in his reply cited an April 2012 study by the UK Health Protection Agency’s independent advisory group that indicated no convincing evidence that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure below the current guideline levels recommended by the International Commission on Non—Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNRIP) would cause adverse health effects on adults and children.
However the study still recommended continuing with a "precautionary approach" and suggested that the excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged.
It also added that adults should make their own choices as to whether they wish to reduce their exposures, but be enabled to do this from an informed position.
"Moving the phone away from the body, as when texting, results in very much lower exposures than if a phone is held to the head. Also, the use of the more recent 3G mode of transmission instead of the older 2G mode will produce much lower exposures. Other options to reduce exposure include using hands—free kits, keeping calls short, making calls where the network signals are strong, and choosing a phone with a low specific energy absorption rate (SAR) value quoted by the manufacturer," said the study.
Dr Balakrishnan said National Environmental Agency (NEA) will continue to closely monitor developments in this area and work with the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities to evaluate any new findings from scientific studies on this matter and that the Centre for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Science under the NEA has also published information on non—ionising radiation on its website.
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