FCC plans to re-evaluate cell phone radiation safety standards

By on June 15, 2012, 6:00 PM

The FCC plans to re-examine its cellular phone safety standards -- a set of wireless safety guidelines chiseled out in 1996. The communications agency is expected to discuss its own testing methodologies and guidelines in order to determine if their aging recommendations jibe with research performed since current standards were struck nearly 16 years ago.

In a statement issued by spokeswoman Tammy Sun, the FCC reiterated their confidence in existing standards, stressing that current device guidelines pose no risk to consumers.

If there's no risk, then why re-evaluate cellular phone radiation standards in the first place? Sun says this is merely a routine review. The FCC also hopes to get other agencies, organizations and the public involved in the process this time around.

Currently, one of the key metrics used to determine cell phone safety is specific absorption rate or SAR for short. This measurement is determined by a formula which attempts to quantify the amount of electro-magnetic radiation expected to be absorbed by human tissue. For cell phones, the FCC currently requires that SAR levels not exceed 1.6 watts of energy per kilogram of tissue. 

However, researcher Henry Lai from University of Washington is surprised that the FCC has retained such a high threshold for SAR allowances. Lai pointed out that, since 1996, there have been at least 60 studies which illustrate biological changes at levels even less intense than current standards.

Lai said, "The SAR rating itself is not meaningful," adding, "It is surprising to me that the FDA and FCC have not changed their acceptable limits."

Despite Lai's concerns, numerous long-term studies have been unable to link cell phone usage and illness (e.g. cancer). On the other hand though, there have been a number of studies which do




User Comments: 9

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Guest said:

Have to please the crazies

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Its still way too soon to rule out any risk to all these young kids using cell phones. You're rarely going to find a pre teen using a cell phone before 2000, so any actual studies are going to be 60-70 years away from being complete. The oldest studies have to do with grown men using cell phones, not kids.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I would like to see how much time people actually spend talking on their cellphones now as compared to maybe 10 years ago. Ive found that when I first got a cellphone it was almost exclusively held up to my ear as I talk to someone. Now however I'm almost using it exclusively for txt, email, or web browsing. So my cellphone rarely sees the side of my head which may render this whole "brain cancer" thing useless, or at least more useless than I imagine it already is.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Now however I'm almost using it exclusively for txt, email, or web browsing. So my cellphone rarely sees the side of my head

Sounds like you're setting yourself up for a mean case of finger tip cancer though.

Guest said:

And what about multiple sclerosis or sterlity risks ? Cell phones and WIFI in general can be a serious threat to our health . It is a good thing having new standards.

I only hope this will be a deep and independant research from market players.

Zoltan Head said:

"Cell phones and WIFI in general can be a serious threat to our health" - really? based on what information? Certainly not the results of the zillions of carefully conducted tests and studies!

Guest said:

And where did you read those "zillions of test" ???? C'mon how about a link?

No? Right, go back to sleep *****.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

And where did you read those "zillions of test" ???? C'mon how about a link?

No? Right, go back to sleep *****.

Ironically I see no links in your original post claiming cellphones and wifi cause health problems. I would also like to mention that links do not prove anything (I don't have any links for that, sry.)

Also personal attacks are not generally welcome in te comments section, thanks.

Guest said:

The perpetual fear-mongering surrounding radiowaves (I.e.cellular phones, wifi etc.) really needs to stop.

Only Ionizing Radiation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation is harmful to living tissue.

Ionizing Radiation: cosmic rays, gamma rays, X-rays, neutrons, and in general all particles produced by radioactive decay and nuclear reactions

Non-ionizing Radiation: radiowaves, microwaves, infrared light, visible light, and most of the ultraviolet spectrum.

Unless smartphone manufacturers have started powering their phones with tiny nuclear reactors...

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