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Keep Base Stations Away From Schools: NCC
The China Post
April 6, 2007

Mobile phone base stations (MPBS) should not be established in elementary and high schools so as to prevent children and youths from exposure to risks associated with radiation, an official of the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.

Chen Kuo-lung, a deputy chief of the NCC Business Management Department, said that it is the consensus position of the government and MPBS builders as well as operators that mobile phone base stations not be established in elementary, junior high and senior high schools due to health concerns.

Chen described a recent NCC letter to public organizations in the central city of Taichung -- saying MPBS should be allowed to be established on public lands and in public-owned establishments as long as construction safety and fire-fighting factors are secured -- as an "unwittingly administrative error."

Chen said before the NCC had the letter delivered, it did not notice that elementary and high schools in Taichung City were also included in the list of "public organizations" mentioned in the letter.

He said the letter was written based on the requirements of operators of low-radiation personal handy-phone system (PHS). The PHS operators had probably unwittingly included Taichung elementary and high schools in the list of PHS base station establishments out of considerations that PHS poses only a marginal health threat to schoolchildren and youths due to its low-radiation properties, he added.

Chen said NCC Chairman Su Yung-chin has already called Taichung Mayor Jason Hu to clarify the NCC's stance on the matter and apologize for the "administrative fiasco."

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education also lashed out at the NCC yesterday for asking Taichung elementary and high schools not to oppose the establishment of MPBS in their areas "without proper reasons."

According to an NCC survey conducted in June 2006, there were 26,000 base stations for 2G mobile phones, 6,500 base stations for 3G mobile phones and 16,000 base stations for PHSs, for a total of about 48,000 base stations around the country.

NCC authorities said that under pressure of legislators and parents around the country, the NCC has worked to cut the number of MPBS islandwide by persuading MPBS operators to merge while allowing more low-radiation PHS base stations to be established.

The legislators have said that people in residential neighborhoods and schools must not be exposed to the risks associated with radiation from MPBSs, which might cause cancer, miscarriages, and diseases of the nervous system, and may even drive people to suicide, arguing that existing mobile phone base stations must be made to move out of such areas, as studies show that radiation levels at such facilities in Taipei in northern Taiwan and Tainan in the south all surpass reasonable levels.

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