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.
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.
| |cdruGo ColtsPremium,MVM
Fort Wayne, IN
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.
Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!
said by tkdslr:Really? A one degree centigrade rise or fall in body temperature will kill you? And you presume to call me clueless?
Oh, if your body temperature shifts by more than two percent, you will die.
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....
| || |said by cowboyro: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.
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.
said by cowboyro: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.
Remember asbestos was considered a perfectly safe wonder material for over 100 years...
Re: My Gods, GIVE IT A REST ALREADY!
said by Crookshanks:As I've said before... lab studies have shown that it can be harmful...
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.
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...
| |said by Crookshanks: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.
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.
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.
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.
Ever hear of crystal radios ? They work completely off the signals own RF energy, no external power involved. No heat involved there either.