Establish lab for testing safety of mobile phones — Dr. Amoako
The National Communication Authority (NCA) has been called upon to establish a compliance testing laboratory to test the safety levels of mobile phones that are brought into the country.
The head of Physics at the Radiation Protection Institute (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Joseph K. Amoako, who made the call, said mobile phones which exceeded the specific absorption capacity (SAC) of 1.6 watts posed health risks to users in the long run.
“The issue is that because Ghana is a free market country, people import phones from all parts of the world, but to ensure that these phones comply with the SAC level, we need to set up a laboratory to test their compliance levels,” he said.
He was speaking at a sensitisation campaign on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure on the health of the public at Nkawkaw in the Kwahu West Municipality in the Eastern Region.
The exercise was organised the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication(GIFEC), the body charged with the responsibility of implementing Ghana’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) policy.
Present at the event were traditional rulers and opinion leaders, students and a section of the public.
Regulate phone calls
Dr Amoako said even though research had not established that mobile phones and telecommunication masts caused cancer, malaria or other health complications, mobile phones which exceeded the required wattage could pose future health risks.
According to him, a World Health Organisation (WHO)report has indicated that, excessive use of the mobile phone could cause cancer, for which reason he advised users of mobile phones to avoid making long duration calls. “We cannot avoid technology, but there is the need to take precautions when using such devices. We need to encourage the use of energy saving devices that will limit the exposure to radiations from technology infrastructure,” he added.
Dr. Amoako further entreated parents to regulate the use of phones by their children, adding that texting and other social media applications such as WhatsApp and Imo could be used as alternatives of communication to direct phone calls.
For her part, a principal programmes officer at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mrs Audrey Quartey, said the EPA had trained its human resource to begin prosecuting telecommunication operators who infringed on permit agreements, adding that a department had been created at the EPA to deal with such issues.
She urged operators of telecommunication companies to resort to co-location as a way of minimising the number of telecommunication masts that were erected.
Mrs Quartey further asked them to collaborate with local leaders and land owners to minimise the conflicts that were associated with the setting up of telecommunication masts.