GAO Wants FCC to Update Cell Radiation Guidelines – As Pressure to See Cell Warning Labels Grows
A new GAO report (pdf) report urges the FCC to update the standards used to determine how much cell phone radiation is safe. The 46-page report urges the agency to update its sixteen-year-old radiation standards to better match health agency standards. According to the FCC, phones sold in the U.S. can’t have a specific absorption rate (SAR) higher than 1.6 watts per kilogram, and the GAO is interested in seeing that standard raised to 2 watts per kilogram, with a broader focus on whole-body exposure instead of the FCC’s current focus solely on the head.
The gist of the GAO report is that we’re just not 100% certain yet that cell phones are completely safe for everyone — and all parts of the body:
Studies we reviewed suggested and experts we interviewed stated that epidemiological research has not demonstrated adverse health effects from RF energy exposure from mobile phone use, but the research is not conclusive because findings from some studies have suggested a possible association with certain types of tumors, including cancerous tumors.
In essence, the GAO essentially wants guidelines that are a little more sophisticated than the ones adopted way back in 1996:
In 2006, IEEE published its updated recommendation for an RF energy exposure limit of 2.0 watts per kilogram, averaged over 10 grams of tissue. the only proven health effects of RF energy exposure and was set at a level well below the threshold for such effects. FCC noted that the limit provided a proper balance between protecting the public from exposure to potentially harmful RF energy and
allowing industry to provide telecommunications services to the public in the most efficient and practical manner possible. This new recommended limit could allow for more RF energy exposure from mobile phone use, although actual exposure depends on a number of factors, including the operating power of the phone, how the phone is held during use, and where it is used in proximity to a mobile phone base station.
Earlier this week we noted that Representative Dennis Kucinich is pushing for new cell radiation warnings, while urging the EPA to update the standards used for determining how much wireless phone radiation can be considered safe. The FCC already recently stated they’re conducting a routine review of the agency’s safety standards.
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