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GAO Wants FCC to Update Cell Radiation Guidelines
As Pressure to See Cell Warning Labels Grows
by Karl Bode 08:43AM Thursday Aug 09 2012
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:
quote:
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:
quote:
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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mworks

join:2006-06-13
Faison, NC

Don't expect anything to change

The FCC is connected to telecom money so closely that nothing telecom doesn't like will be done. Currently microwave ovens have a lower leakage requirement for health reasons than cell phones and there is a good reason for that. The cell phone industry cannot operate phones at the leakage limits for a microwave oven so the limits were tweaked to values they could operate within. I responded in the other thread about the whole debate of health issues, but the truth really is that even if it were found that cell phones caused peoples brains to explode the industry would find a way to continue selling them because the revenue stream is too large for them to give it up.

For the curious here is the FDA page on microwave oven limits:
»www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingPr···2762.htm
A Federal standard limits the amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface.
A cell phone output limit is 6.2mw/c2 but that is at 2 inches, so the tighter you hold the phone to your head the more the radiated signal increases. For people that hold the phone really tight to their ear they can be 2 to 3x that of the microwave oven limit.

The biggest factor in how much microwave energy the body receives is distance from the source, the further away the better and that becomes problematic with something that you hold to your head.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Don't expect anything to change

Becoming less of an issue as most users(especially young people) use cellphones for text and data access and rarely TALK on a smartphone. Holding a phone tight to an ear is rare. Even when a phone is used for talking, a bluetooth ear piece is often used.
--
»www.mittromney.com/s/repeal-and-···bamacare
»www.mittromney.com/issues/health-care
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

2 recommendations

My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

This is simple physics people, it's called non-ionizing radiation for a reason. RF photons lack the necessary energy to liberate electrons, their effect when absorbed is simply to increase the temperature of the object that absorbed them. When you're talking about a transmitter with a maximum output of 25dBm this effect is quite meaningless. Sunbathing for half an hour will do more damage to your body than a lifetime of cell phone use.

The comparison to microwave leakage limits is absurd, microwave ovens don't need to communicate with a distant radio receiver. Stopping leakage from them is a requirement to prevent interference with other devices in the 2.4Ghz band. The safety of the operator is a secondary consideration, and the inverse square law tells us that the operator would be perfectly fine even if the microwave leaked many times the allowed limit of RF energy.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

Hey, take your scientifically based reasoning out of here. There's no room for such truthful drivel. We only want to hear knee-jerk reactionary the-sky-is-falling will-someone-think-of-the-children discussion.
tkdslr

join:2004-04-24
Pompano Beach, FL

1 edit
Clue to clueless... Your body is dependent on organically catalyzed reactions.
Even a few milli-volts in the wrong place can shift a reaction equilibrium.

Oh, if your body temperature shifts by more than two percent, you will die.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

said by tkdslr:

Oh, if your body temperature shifts by more than two percent, you will die.

Really? A one degree centigrade rise or fall in body temperature will kill you? And you presume to call me clueless?

Better not fall asleep tonight, your body temperature will drop and YOU WILL DIE! Better not jump on the treadmill either, your body temperature will rise and YOU WILL DIE.

If you're female I'd be careful about ovulating too....

cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
said by Crookshanks:

This is simple physics people, it's called non-ionizing radiation for a reason. RF photons lack the necessary energy to liberate electrons, their effect when absorbed is simply to increase the temperature of the object that absorbed them. When you're talking about a transmitter with a maximum output of 25dBm this effect is quite meaningless.

You may want to reconsider that.
It was proven beyond any doubt that RF from cellphones causes harm in lab animals. It's a question of what levels are unsafe in humans for long term exposure, and this is where we don't have enough data. It is very well possible that the current levels are safe for the vast majority of people. We'll only be able to conclude that in 50-60 years.
Remember asbestos was considered a perfectly safe wonder material for over 100 years...

firephoto
We the people
Premium
join:2003-03-18
Brewster, WA

Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

As I eat some of my stockpile of 70's red colored cereal from an asbestos bowl with some DDT sprinkled on top to keep my insides bug free with these modern safe technologies.

Throughout history you see people taking a rigid stance based on specific facts which in this case are can only be based on research that received enough funding before the technology was mainstream and making companies billions of dollars. It's also just as much the fault of every idiot who would sue because their phone might harm them. The middle ground of people knowing something might harm them and they use it at their own risk is pretty limited these days.
--
Say no to astroturfing. actions > Ignore Author
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY
said by cowboyro:

It is very well possible that the current levels are safe for the vast majority of people. We'll only be able to conclude that in 50-60 years.

Amateur radio has been around for the better part of a century, operators work with transmitters thousands of times more powerful than your cell phone, and no study I've ever read has found a statistically significant difference between their disease/mortality rates and that of the general population.

said by cowboyro:

Remember asbestos was considered a perfectly safe wonder material for over 100 years...

The laws of physics aren't terribly likely to change that much in the next hundred or even thousand years. RF photons simply do not contain enough energy to have any effect outside of a thermal one. Visible light photons contain a much greater amount of energy but I don't see anyone warning against the supposed dangers of light exposure.

cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

said by Crookshanks:

The laws of physics aren't terribly likely to change that much in the next hundred or even thousand years. RF photons simply do not contain enough energy to have any effect outside of a thermal one.

As I've said before... lab studies have shown that it can be harmful...
»www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20355324
»www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21780540
»www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21575531

Is it going to give you brain cancer in 5 years? Very likely not. Maybe not in 10 or 20 years... maybe never... But long term exposure is still something that has not been studied.
And just like asbestos, it may take 20-50 years for a disease to show up...
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

No, the studies that you linked show it might be harmful to plant seedlings and rat sperm production rates, both of which could be duplicated with heat sources other than electromagnetic radiation. This topic can be spun a million different ways, unless we've got the laws of physics completely wrong (exceedingly unlikely at best) the only physical consequence of RF absorption is heating. Whatever extra heat cell phone radiation may impart on a localized section of the human body is very quickly carried away the bloodstream.

Just give up already, you absorb far more electromagnetic radiation (in the form of infrared and visible light) from the 40 watt light bulb in your reading lamp than you do from your cell phone. The implied comparison with asbestos is absurd, one is a mineral dug out of the Earth and inhaled into the lungs, the other is something we're exposed to from conception until death.

cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!

Sorry, but it is foolish to say that because it is non-ionizing then it is harmless. There are also currents induced by EMR. Currents cause molecular changes. DNA changes caused by exposure to cell frequencies were proven beyond any doubt. We know certain levels cause harm, we don't know what the safe levels are.

I dare you to go in front of a TV broadcasting antenna. When you feel you're getting warm just leave, after all it's just heat.

Yeah, I thought so...
mworks

join:2006-06-13
Faison, NC
said by Crookshanks:

No, the studies that you linked show it might be harmful to plant seedlings and rat sperm production rates, both of which could be duplicated with heat sources other than electromagnetic radiation.

Ever taken the time to see who paid for the studies showing no damage was done ? Find some studies not paid for by telecom or telecom shell companies or ones where the telecom companies themselves dont say things like 'we care so much we did this study to show how safe our products are'.

I don't think people are going to die from RF , but I do want to see it investigated by researchers who have nothing to gain from the work.
mworks

join:2006-06-13
Faison, NC
said by Crookshanks:

Just give up already, you absorb far more electromagnetic radiation (in the form of infrared and visible light) from the 40 watt light bulb in your reading lamp than you do from your cell phone.

So when I use my RF detector and it can point me to where a wifi unit or cell phone tower, microwave ovens, are located but it can't do that if none are around you are saying that all the 40 watt bulbs must be off too ?

Turned on the lights, nope, still no RF.

cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
said by Crookshanks:

Amateur radio has been around for the better part of a century, operators work with transmitters thousands of times more powerful than your cell phone, and no study I've ever read has found a statistically significant difference between their disease/mortality rates and that of the general population.

You haven't read much, have you?
»www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entre···ggestion
»articles.latimes.com/1988-01-03/···operator
One of my college professors has been heavily involved with RF (sure, high levels you won't find in day to day life). He warned us of the lurking dangers... before dying of leukemia.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

1 edit
said by Crookshanks:

Amateur radio has been around for the better part of a century, operators work with transmitters thousands of times more powerful than your cell phone, and no study I've ever read has found a statistically significant difference between their disease/mortality rates and that of the general population.

That is all true but it is a little more complicated than that.
(Edit: Actually, it's not true... thanks for those links cowboyro, I wasn't aware of those studies)

- Amateur radio operators don't operate with the antenna pressed against their heads, they are many feet away.
- They are more educated about proper RF safety than the general public.
- Very few hams operate in the microwave frequency range.
- Very few hams operate for periods of an hour or two every day.

If you consider the relevant factors, the sample size of hams to determine a relationship is so small that it would be statistically insignificant.
mworks

join:2006-06-13
Faison, NC
said by Crookshanks:

Amateur radio has been around for the better part of a century, operators work with transmitters thousands of times more powerful than your cell phone, and no study I've ever read has found a statistically significant difference between their disease/mortality rates and that of the general population.
..

As a HAM operator for 20+ years I know it better than most and one of the first things anyone who builds , repairs, and uses transmitters will tell you is you don't use them sitting in front of the antenna. Ask a HAM why you don't sit near a 100Mhz antenna.

The laws of physics aren't terribly likely to change that much in the next hundred or even thousand years. RF photons simply do not contain enough energy to have any effect outside of a thermal one. Visible light photons contain a much greater amount of energy but I don't see anyone warning against the supposed dangers of light exposure.

Do you know how an RF receiver works ? It doesn't work by a thermal process. Antenna capture the signal where it excites a device tuned to the correct frequency. The signal can be so strong that bringing a receiver closer to a transmitter wreaks havoc on the receiver because the RF energy is so strong , energizing the coils so much that an overload condition results.

Ever hear of crystal radios ? They work completely off the signals own RF energy, no external power involved. No heat involved there either.
mworks

join:2006-06-13
Faison, NC
said by Crookshanks:

The comparison to microwave leakage limits is absurd, microwave ovens don't need to communicate with a distant radio receiver. Stopping leakage from them is a requirement to prevent interference with other devices in the 2.4Ghz band.

Ovens have been lowered to 1mw in the UK when the USA still allows 5mw, 5mw was deemed unacceptable after years of testing.

The FDA regulates microwave oven leakage and they set the limits on leakage not the fcc.

The effects of microwave energy is not bad completely because of heat, that is the old way of thinking. Newer research shows that when cells are exposed to 1/10th the amount of energy that is allowed the cells and the fluid around them becomes polarized causing those cells to lose the ability to function. It is even used in labs to propagate cells, keeping the cells they want while targeting the ones they don't with microwaves. DNA is also changed by microwave energy, Yale university showed that low level microwaves were able to break DNA strands.

MovieLover76

join:2009-09-11
kudos:1

Re: Don't expect anything to change

I'm not sure if your aware of this but microwaves don't need to communicate with devices wirelessly at all. Common sense says that a cell phone is going to need to emit more radio waves.

For microwaves set the limit as low as possible just to be safe, cell phones need to communicate with towers.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: Don't expect anything to change

Actually, microwave ovens operate in the 1000 watt range... he was talking about safe levels of leakage.