For the first time in 15 years, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission says it’s planning on asking if its standards protect people from mobile-phone radiation, partly because of how often we use smartphones now and since we yak away on them for longer periods of time than we used to.
The agency’s chairman is asking his fellow commissioners to approve a notice commencing a formal inquiry, said an agency spokeswoman. No rules will be proposed in the notice.
“Our action today is a routine review of our standards,” she said, according to Bloomberg News. “We are confident that, as set, the emissions guidelines for devices pose no risks to consumers.”
In 1996, the FCC updated its guidelines, setting maximum radiation-exposure levels, based on heat phones emit. Back then, 44 million people had mobile phones. Today that number stands at 332 million wireless subscribers.
The National Cancer Institute has voiced concerns that radio-frequency energy from phones cradled close to our craniums could affect brain and other tissues. But the Institute also said studies of cells, animals and humans haven’t provided any evidence that such energy can cause cancer.
Other scientific studies have also said there’s no danger of cancer from phones, and industry experts seem confident that this new update will go along with that.
“We fully expect that the FCC’s review will confirm, as it has in the past, that the scientific evidence establishes no reason for concern about the safety of cellphones,” John Walls, a spokesman for CTIA-The Wireless Association, said in an e- mailed statement today.
Better safe than sorry, right?