Dariusz Leszczynski visiting India – Mumbai & wrap-up…

Visit in Mumbai begun immediately after flight from New Delhi landed. The first event was the visit to the Rotary Club of Hanging Gardens at the Malabar Hill Club and listening to the address by Juhi Chawla Mehta. She is the former Miss India and a very successful Bollywood actress who is currently actively involved in a citizens movement aiming at better location of cell towers and lowering power emitted by them to lower the 24/7 exposures of citizens. Following her address, I spoke a few words about cell phones and cell towers. The most important point of my talk was that people are not aware of the changes brought by the smart phones. In older phones, used only for calling and texting, the majority of radiation exposure happened during talking on the phone. In smart phones, data traffic that updates continuously variety of applications, causes that the radiation exposures are continuous and high, not only during conversations but especially during the data traffic.

Thursday of September 18th, 2014 was a very busy day that begun with an interview with Hindustan Times – young journalist, Poorvi Kulkarni, wrote really good news piece… Then, I had a lecture to children at the B.D. Somani International School where I spoke that “Mobile phone is not a toy”. It was a very interesting experience. Especially the discussion part, where I got many questions, and not very childish ones but questions that experts would not be ashamed to ask…

Then, there was an unique experience of lecturing at the famous Mumbai landmark – The Taj Mahal Hotel – for the Rotary Club of Bombay Hills South. The glamor of this event was dramatically enhanced by my co-speaker – Juhi Chawla Mehta.  It is not often that a scientist has a talk together with the Miss of India and the Bollywood film star. My talk, since it was for the general audience, was similar to the talks I had in New Delhi, just shortened a little by removing few extra slides (MUMBAI September 2014).

Then, in a torrential rain I arrived at the Indian Merchants Chamber of Mumbai to address the Council for Fair Business Practices… Juhi Chawla Mehta was there too…

The day was wrapped by an easy talk at a private dinner where, without slides, I spoke about the cell phones and cell towers and our misconceptions concerning their safety.

Friday, September 19, 2014 was my last day of the visit to India. It begun with the meeting with Manu Kumar Srivastava, Principal Secretary of the Urban Development in Maharashtra State. Discussion topic – what to do with the improperly sited cell towers? No easy answers to this question in situation where cell networks operators got court stay order on relocation of incorrectly located towers…

Then, there was exclusive interview for Maitri Porecha of the DNA India (Daily News & Analyses newspaper), followed by the very well attended press conference at the Pen Club of Mumbai. The next day news media were really full of stories on cell phone and cell tower radiation. Most of them correct but some not… because journalists misunderstood my sayings. This would not be possible in Finland where journalists send their stories for the fact checking. When speaking in scientific jargon it is easy for confusion and fact checking is a good for all sake… No censorship of opinions but correctness of the facts…

All-in-all, it was very busy but very productive visit to India. In my science lectures I was able to clarify many issues and straighten up some misconceptions. Such interaction between the general public and activists on one side and scientists on the other, helps to provide correct information and dismiss unfounded myths.

I did not see much of India, this time, but I enjoyed the visit and the interactions with people there.

WRAP-UP COMMENTS from my visit to INDIA (this is not a full listing of all issues)

  • cell phones were not tested for human health safety before they were put on market
  • safety standards are old, from 1998, and obsolete because they do not account sufficiently for science published after 1998
  • users, when buying cell phone, assume that it is safe because it complies with the current safety standards – this is not necessary the case
  • three independent sets of epidemiological studies indicated that cell phone radiation increases risk of brain cancer in long term (over 10 years) avid users (30 minutes per day) – this is a serious warning sign because the brain cancer risk increases already after 10 years of use of cell phone when the development of brain cancer takes several tens of years
  • since the epidemiological studies were done on users who bought the “safe” phones in shops – this indicates that the safety standards are insufficient to protect people
  • IARC classification and post-IARC-classification publication of the French CERENAT study are clear reasons for implementation of the Precautionary Principle
  • exposures from smart phones are much higher than from the old phones because of the extensive data traffic accompanying use of internet and continuous updating various apps – smart phones should be not kept in the pocket while having data traffic enabled
  • we should learn from the past mistakes of ignoring the early warning signs of possible danger (e.g. tobacco, asbestos, DDT etc) and implement the Precautionary Principle while waiting for the conclusive scientific evidence
  • cell towers, as compared with cell phones cause lower exposures for people but the exposures continue 24/7 and, when, as in India, antennas are wrongly located, people might be overexposed to radiation even if the antennas comply with the current safety standards
  • it is better to have more antennas of lower power because the antenna-exposures to general populations become lower and, because users are always close to antenna, exposures from cell phones become lower too