“People with medical implants like pacemakers must not keep their cellphones on their shirt pockets.”
The latest directive by the department of telecommunication (DoT) says that “people having active medical implants should preferably keep the cellphone at least 15cm away from the implant.”
An office memorandum, circulated by the ministry of communications and IT on January 25, says manufacturer’s mobile handset booklets will have to contain the safety precaution.
MoS for communications and IT Sachin Pilot said this was one of the recommendations made by the inter-ministerial committee that the DoT has accepted.
“Necessary changes in the design and packaging for compliance with this instruction will have to be in place on or before September 1,” Pilot told TOI.
Senior cardiologist at Escorts Heart Research Centre Dr Aparna Jaswal said it is safe for patients with implants to talk on a cellphone, but they must avoid placing it directly over the pacemaker implantation site when the device is turned on.
“The pacemaker could misinterpret the cellphone signal as a heartbeat and withhold pacing, producing symptoms such as sudden fatigue. The mobile phone must be kept six inches away from pacemaker site and the patient must talk on the phone from the other ear and not the one close to the site,” Dr Jaswal said.