Entries in FCC (2)


GAO: FCC Needs Better Cell Phone Radiation Tests

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Standards in the U.S. for mobile phone radiation exposure are lacking in comparison to international guidelines and need further review, according to report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  

The GAO Tuesday released a report calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to “formally reassess and, if appropriate, change its current RF energy exposure limit and mobile phone testing requirements related to likely usage configurations, particularly when phones are held against the body.”

The agency said in the study that the current radiofrequency limits and testing requirements for mobile phones were set in 1996 and may not reflect the latest research.  Furthermore, the GAO says exposure limit recommendations in countries abroad, contrary to the U.S., have been updated in recent years based on new research reflecting new exposure factors.  For example, the FCC does not test for devices being held against the body.

"This new recommended limit could allow for more RF energy exposure, but actual exposure depends on a number of factors including how the phone is held during use. FCC has not adopted the new recommended limit," the agency said in the report.

The report concludes the FCC “cannot ensure it is using” the safest possible limit for cell phone radiation exposure.
But the FCC told GAO that it, "relies on the guidance of federal health and safety agencies when determining the RF energy exposure limit, and to date, none of these agencies have advised FCC to change the limit," the GAO report said.  But the FCC has not formally requested reassessment by these agencies, the agency said.

CTIA, a mobile industry trade group, responded to the requests by GAO congressional Democrats to reassess the current standards, saying, “The FCC recently announced that it will soon begin a review of its safety standards for wireless phones, and that it is confident that its emissions guidelines for wireless devices pose no risk to consumers. CTIA welcomes the Commission's continued careful oversight of this issue.”  

Health organizations and the FCC agree there is no evidence to date linking health issues with the use of mobile devices:

"To date, no adverse effects have been established for mobile phone use." -- World Health Organization

"There is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects … " -- FCC

" … to date there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radio frequency energy can cause cancer." -- National Cancer Institution

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FCC Test to Measure Cellphone Radiation Flawed, Group Says

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A government test used to measure the radiation people absorb from their cellphones might underestimate the levels to which most adults and children are exposed, according to a group of doctors and researchers whose stated mission is to promote awareness of environmental health risks they believe may be linked to cancer.

Researchers from the Environmental Health Trust released a report Monday morning noting that the Federal Communications Commission test to determine radiation exposure is flawed.

The reason for the discrepancy, the group says, is that the process to determine radiation exposure from cellphones involves the use of a mannequin model that they say approximates a 6-foot-2, 220-pound person. Because the model represents only about three percent of the population, the authors report, the test will not accurately predict the radiation exposure of the other 97 percent of the population, including children. The group is pushing for a new testing system to measure radiation exposure in a wider range of consumers.

"The standard for cellphones has been developed based on old science and old models and old assumptions about how we use cellphones, and that's why they need to change," said Dr. Devra Davis, former senior adviser in the Department of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration and one of the report's authors.

A different study cited in the report says a child's bone marrow absorbs 10 times the radiation as an adult. The authors also raise questions about long-term side effects, such as infertility in males who carry phones in their pockets, an exposure unaccounted for in the traditional certification process.

The authors suggest an alternative certification process, one that uses MRI scans to test real humans, including children and pregnant women. Such an approach would provide exposure data on a "Virtual Family," representing all ages, the authors say.

The U.S. government has had no specific comment on the report. The cellphone industry group CTIA-The Wireless Association said that because members "are not scientists or researchers on this topic," the news media should contact experts instead.

But whether the low level of radiation from cellphones actually causes cancer is a question that has yet to be answered. "No scientific evidence currently establishes a definite link between [cellphones] and cancer or other illnesses," the FCC says on its website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio