Edilson Ribeiro dos Santos, in charge of frequencies and compliance at Anatel, says the board is about to discuss new rules on permitted levels of radiation from antennas and other transmission equipment. The ICNIRP standard is currently in force. This acronym stands for International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Mr Santos was speaking at a public hearing held by the Consumer Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies in Brasília on health hazards from mobile telecoms transmission equipment. Other discussants included officers in charge of regulatory and technical issues at a number of mobile carriers, as well as representatives of consumer groups, environmentalists and technologists. The congressional committee decided to vote at a forthcoming session on a proposal to investigate radiation further and also take a look at pricing in the mobile sector.
During the debate, telco executives emphatically stated that the World Health Organization (WHO) has so far failed to prove cellphone radiation is hazardous. The congressmen present were skeptical about this, however, arguing that the WHO?s failure to come up with categorical proof doesn?t mean health problems won?t become apparent over the years. Telcos should warn consumers about the possibility that radiation from mobile phones may constitute a health hazard, they said. It?s then up to consumers whether they moderate use of their phones accordingly.
Another issue raised by the congressional committee was the large number of antennas, many of which are set up without the requisite planning permission. Telcos blame Anatel, saying the compulsory coverage and quality targets imposed by the regulator force them to install excessive numbers of cellsites. Edilson Ribeiro dos Santos acknowledged Anatel?s rigor in this matter but pointed out that Anatel has taken care to issue rules allowing transmission infrastructure to be shared. Oi and TIM have in fact entered into such a sharing agreement, he noted.