Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) chairman Vallabhbhai Kathiria on Monday, 12 October unveiled a “chip” made of cow dung and said that it reduces radiation from mobile handsets, a claim which wasn’t backed by research or proof.
While unveiling the “chip” named ‘Gausatva Kavach’, Kathiria claimed that it is “scientifically proven that cow dung is anti-radiation”, adding that it is medicinal in nature.
"“Cow dung will protect everyone. It’s scientifically proven that cow dung is anti-radiation. This is a chip that can be used in mobile phones to reduce radiation. It’ll safeguard people against diseases.”" - Vallabhbhai Kathiria, Chairman — Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog
We spoke to several experts about Vallabhai Kathiria’s claims who demanded proof for this assertion.
It is important to note that Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is a government body under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying which is aimed at “conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny”.
Scientists & Physicists Ask ‘Where’s The Proof?’
“In science, demonstration is the key,” said Professor Amol Dighe from the Tata Insitute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. Dighe, whose work focuses on Nuclear and Particle Physics, further added that if the “chip” is scientifically proven to have reduced radiations coming out of mobile phones, then Kamdhenu Aayog should simply make public the details of the experiments which were conducted.
We went through Kamdhenu Aayog’s website to search for documentation of the experiments conducted to arrive at the conclusion that cow dung “chip” can absorb mobile phone radiations, but found no mention of it. We’ve also sent our query to them via email.
Further, Dr S Krishnaswamy, a senior professor of Bioinformatics from Madurai Kamaraj University, says, “Such practices should be called out. While cow dung might have some antiseptic properties, there is no record of it preventing any sort of radiations.”
Dr Krishnaswamy added that such mythical claims about the utility of cow dung have been there in the past as well and even then the scientific community has categorically questioned them.
He referred to a claim made by physicist KN Uttam in a report carried by the Times of India in 2011. In this report, Uttam had claimed that cow dung can potentially absorb the emission of alpha, beta and gamma rays.
Dr Krishnaswamy said that even if Uttam’s claims are to be taken at face value, the radiations coming out of mobile handsets are not alpha, beta or gamma rays but non-ionising radio waves.
"“There is no evidence or reason to expect cow dung to cut the radiation. Also, though Uttam is quoted as saying cowdung cuts ionising alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, there is no publication by him on this.”" - Dr S Krishnaswamy, Senior professor of Bioinformatics‘There’s Zero Possibility of this Chip Actually Working’
Speaking to The Quint, Dr Raghunandan, Director at the Centre for Technology Development, says that there is zero possibility of this “chip” actually working.
"“It surprises me that we are even calling this thing a chip. It does not have any micro-electronics in it, as a real chip does. At best, it’s a rectangular piece of cow dung. How does anybody expect a piece of cow dung to prevent radiations?”" - Dr Raghunandan, Director — Centre for Technology Development
Adding to this, Professor Amol Dighe said that there is no reason to suspect that organic matter is going to be any more useful than anything else in this case.
“We’ve known about radiations for the past 50-100 years and from whatever I know, there is no reason to believe that organic matter can work better than anything else to absorb these radiations,” he said.
Which Radiations Are They Claiming To Stop?
Stating that there are different types of radiations which serve different purposes, the experts also questioned which radiations the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog is referring to.
According to Dr Raghunandan, if the Aayog feels that the radiations from mobile handsets are dangerous, they should take it up with their NITI Aayog counterparts and the Ministry of Telecom, and demand action against telecom companies asking them to reduce the radiation levels.
“When we look at this claim, we must also understand what is radiation and what are they claiming to stop. They must answer that. Even the light coming out of a phone is radiation. What will cow dung protect us against?” asked Professor Dighe.
Clearly, the claims put forth by the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog fall short on facts and find little to no backing from domain experts.
The Quint has reached out to the Kamdhenu Aayog for a response. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.
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