Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Abdus-salam advises on mobile phone usage

Consultant Radiation Oncologist at the Department of Radiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Dr. Abbas Adesina Abdus-salam has advised Nigerians on how to optimize the use their mobile phones in the country.

Speaking at a forum in Lagos, last week, on “Health risks from mobile phones radiation” there are some few peculiarities about Nigerian situation that may warrant extra studies concerning the subject matter, hence there is need to adhere to some safety rules.

According to him, communication consumers in the country should use their mobile phones as sparingly as possible.

“Long calls should be reserved for landlines, while children’s use of mobile phones should be highly restricted and regulated,” he said.

In addition, Dr. Abdus-salam, said that mobile phones should not be used unnecessarily while driving.

“Use hands free whenever possible,” he advised.

Dr. Abdus-salam stressed that most Nigerians have no access to wired lines, thus giving rise to the use of mobile phones, culminating in ordinary calls that suppose to be made via landline is done through mobile phones.

“Most phone calls are made via mobile phones,” he said, warning that this may increase the overall exposure to mobile phone radiation to average Nigerian phone users compared to their counterparts in developed world.

“Because of poor services many Nigerians regularly carry on their persons several handsets. This may also create an additional source of extra and increased exposure,” he lamented, warning that Nigeria could be a dumping ground for used phones from elsewhere.

“These phones may not be functioning properly and may exceed regulatory limits like increased Specific Absorption Ratio (SAR).

Pointing out that Nigeria has become a major market for phones (usually dual Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) from grey markets in China with potentially poor regulatory compliance.

He noted that all available data have shown that over the last two decades mobile phones have moved into mainstream, even as no conclusive proof has been shown that it could lead to cancer.

However, he said, carcinogenesis is a long term process that may not become fully evolved for decades.

“It may, therefore, be too early to rejoice and finally lay to rest this controversy,” he said.

Calling for more stringent guidelines on the regulation of mobile phones, noting that so much is yet to learn to be able to fully rest assured about safety of mobile phone radiation.

He emphasized that the lack of consistency in regulatory guidelines for mobile phone handsets and base stations globally is a serious pointer to the confusion about the safety or lack of it of mobile phone radiations.


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