A committee to establish a center for examining the influence on public health of electromagnetic radiation has been established by the Science and Technology Ministry.

A center for national research knowledge in the field – waiting in the wings for almost eight years – will be set up this year to perform and coordinate scientific studies, provide the general public with information and make practical recommendations to the public, the ministry said on Monday.

The committee will be headed by ministry deputy director-general Avi Anati, with additional members from the Infrastructure, Environmental Protection, Finance, Defense and Communications ministries, as well as representatives from the Research Center at Nahal Sorek, green organizations, the Israel Consumer Council and academia.

The government decided in 2004 to establish a center for checking electromagnetic radiation, but that has yet to be done, the ministry admitted. It added that it is determined to lead this year a national project that will result in action. The minister of science and technology will receive an annual report on the activities of such a center, it said.

A steering committee on the subject began on Sunday to take measures leading to the establishment of such a center.

In the next few weeks, the Science and Technology Ministry will issue a request for proposals for its founding.

The committee will be part of the opening of the center on an ongoing basis, and determine how it will operate and the conditions for performing research in the field.

In the first stage, the ministry said, an information unit will be opened, followed by a center for epidemiological studies, basic research and risk assessment. The initial budget will total NIS 3 million for the first three years and be funded by the Science and Technology and Environmental Protection ministries.

Officials said that a main task of the center will be to respond to worries among the population about health dangers from electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones, high-tension electric wires, cellular phone company antennae and the like. The public will be advised on how to minimize exposure to any dangers, including cancer risks, posed by the technology.

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