FCC Taking Another Look At Mobile Phone Radiation

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?

Mobile-Phone Radiation Safety To Be Reviewed By U.S. FCC [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hungry Dog says:

    I was looking into radiation reducing phone cases but there are very few on the market, but I’m sure these phones are perfectly safe as stated by the reports funded by the large companies.

    • Zowzers says:

      You mean like the studies done by the National Cancer Institute?

      “But the Institute also said studies of cells, animals and humans haven’t provided any evidence that such energy can cause cancer.”

    • jsempey says:

      It could always be long term exposure type deals, in which case how will we even really know for quite some time?

      • DrPizza says:

        “It could be”? No, it can’t be. Period. Take your ignorance & fearmongering to another planet, please.

    • Weakly says:

      I only trust reports funded by the radiation-reducing phone case manufacturers.

    • Cerne says:

      and the reports conducted by countless independent health organizations, universities and cancer research institutes. But by all means go and waste your money on a useless case to soothe your fear and paranoia.

    • Jer in Denver says:

      When you use the radiation reducing phone case, don’t complain when you don’t get bars of signal. As that radiation is of course the radiation that _carries your voice to the tower and the responses back_. :) :) :)

    • Raider Duck says:

      Nobody’s asking you to believe reports funded by big companies. Instead, go to your local research University and talk to any physicist. They will tell you that cellphones simply do not cause cancer. AT ALL.

    • Villnius says:

      The problem with “radiation reducing phone cases” is that the radiation they’re talking about is EM radiation — specifically the signal that you’re using to talk and transfer data on. If you block that, your reception will be crap or non existent.

    • nafhan says:

      I’m guessing the reason why there aren’t many radiation reducing cases is that putting off radiation is basically a cell phone’s job. A radiation reducing case would be similar to a flashlight darkener. Incidentally, the stuff your cell phone puts off is closer to the radiation that comes from a flashlight* than x-rays or other things that have a known method for causing cancer.

      *Visible light IS radiation, and it’s actually more energetic than microwave range radiation that comes from phones. If you’re worried about cell phone radiation, you should also plan to hide in a dark closet, and DEFINITELY stay out of the sun. The “radiation” in sunlight (i.e. UV) has at least been shown to cause cancer, premature aging, and other issues.

  2. smo0 says:

    For the most part, until we know for sure – use a wired headset, like the head phones that come with the device or speakerphone.
    Most states have hands free laws while driving, it’s best to get used to the idea all together.
    I can think of only a handful of instances where I’ve head the phone to my head. If I’m sitting at my computer and I get a call, I tap speaker phone. Out in public I use my headphones.

  3. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Texting causes finger cancer.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      I hear sticking a recently recalled Samsonite bag handle into your ear could cause cancer, too.

  4. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    Reynold’s Wrap® caps.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I wrap my phone in foil instead of my head. That way every time I get a call, it’s like unwrapping a freshly baked potato.

  5. vnlindstrom says:

    I think it’s really interesting that neither of these stories that the FCC review could easily reduce wireless emissions standards as much as they could tighten them.

  6. Judah says:

    I like the youtube vid where 4 phones ring and then the microwave popcorn kernel pops.

    • Amp says:

      I guess it’s okay for a free YouTube vid, but I prefer my fictional entertainment from Hollywood instead – the special effects are just that much better.

      • Judah says:

        You got it wrong. It isn’t fiction. While you can’t cook an egg with two cells, it is simple to pop an unpopped popcorn kernel using 4 or 5. I’ve watched it at a party.

        • My lawyer made me change my screen name says:

          I would like to go to that party! The mind altering drugs you guys were taking sound extraordinary.

  7. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Forget my brain. I usually keep my cell phone in my pocket. I’m worried about Medium SteveDave. I don’t want anything bad to happen to him!

  8. Claybird says:

    Seems like a waste of dollars and time…what is it now, like the 11th time radiation from cellphones has to be verified as bunk?

  9. PsiCop says:

    Re: “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.”

    If that’s what they said, then they contradicted themselves. That there have been studies done, and that they’ve shown no evidence of harm, means they should not have any concerns.

    Still, it’s refreshing to see that even scientists can fall into the trap of illogic. They’re motivated to … after all, they can use the work … !

  10. Cerne says:

    “Better safe than sorry, right?”

    No, Countless studies have shown no link between cellphone use and cancer at worst cellphones are as carcinogenic as coffee or green vegetables. This study is simply a waste of money and resources.

    • Mozz says:

      And decaf never used Benzene to remove the caffeine and vegtables are never sprayed with bug spray.

      • Cerne says:

        Wow you totally missed my point. Cellphones have being classified in the same category as cellphones and green vegetables as cancer hazards. That is it causes no statistically significant increase in cancer rates.

  11. proscriptus says:

    Juuust when the hysteria is dying down. Don’t we live in a bath of solar radio emissions far stronger than anything our phone is emitting?

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Thanks to the atmosphere, no you don’t. And you’re not holding the source of cosmic radiation directly to your head either. That said, I don’t have much of an opinion on this until some more studies are done.

  12. dicobalt says:

    If they want to shut people up they will intentionally increase radiation to silly levels and see if they can intentionally cause cancer in animal cells.

  13. Raider Duck says:

    More wasted money on scare-mongering. The electromagnetic waves emitted by cellphones are completely (as in COMPLETELY) different from the waves that can cause the cell mutations that lead to cancer. It is quite simply impossible for cellphone “radiation” to cause cancer.

  14. FLConsumer says:

    And I can predict how this study will turn out: Not a threat.

    In 1996, most cell phones in the USA were analog. Today’s digital cell phones put out about 80% less power than their analog counterparts. If it wasn’t a threat back then, it won’t be now either.

    /have spent too many hours around 50kW xmitters. Not worried about a .0005kW transmitter.

    • phsiii says:

      Yeah, if only Einstein had addressed this…oh, wait, he did. But he’s old and dead, and nobody believes anything HE wrote, right?

  15. DrPizza says:

    Anyone who believes that the radiation from cell phones is dangerous is an uneducated moron, period. It’s a shame there are so many people willing to take advantage of the irrational fears held by morons and profit off of those fears. No doubt, the chairman promoting this investigation has a friend who is going to be making a lot of money for nothing.

    In an attempt to educate the morons, and this includes the blogger who posts “better safe than sorry, right?” (I.e., better to waste more money on something that scientists are 99.9999999999% certain of, right?): there are many different names for electromagnetic radiation, based on the frequency of that radiation. x-rays, gamma rays, radio waves, microwaves, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays AND VISIBLE LIGHT are all examples of electromagnetic radiation. Are you afraid of visible light? Are you afraid of the light given off by light bulbs? Are you afraid of going outdoors during daylight? Are you afraid of going outside at night when the moon is out (reflecting light from the sun?” Are you simply irrationally afraid of the word “radiation” because we don’t call it “visible light radiation”? That’s what visible light is – electromagnetic radiation of a specific range of frequencies.

    It’s been known since the early 1900s that the energy of the radiation is directly proportional to the frequency. The higher the frequency, the higher the energy. High frequency waves can effect changes – the photons of light are able to knock electrons loose from materials. This is what Albert Einstein won his Nobel Prize for (not for the theory of relativity.) X-rays, gamma rays – high frequency thus high energy waves that are dangerous. Ultraviolet radiation – again, they’re just “another color” of light, though not a visible color to human eyes (though some animals can see a portion of the ultraviolet spectrum.) And, ultraviolet radiation DOES have enough energy to harm cells. Visible light – slightly lower frequency, and thus slightly lower energy than ultraviolet radiation = harmless to cells. Einstein showed that this does not depend on intensity, but rather the frequency. Though, since energy is “neither created nor destroyed” and waves transfer energy, a high enough intensity will cause heating. Any damage done by heating is via a completely different mechanism than the damage done by ionizing radiation. If you don’t heat to the temperature at which changes occur, then you’re not going to get any damage.

    On to the radiation emitted by cell phones. Again, they are simply a different “color” of electromagnetic radiation; a color that our eyes certainly cannot perceive. Their frequency is about 1 MILLIONTH that of visible light, meaning their energy is one millionth that of visible light. They are absolutely harmless. If you’re worried about how much total energy is emitted, then something like a cup of hot coffee would be deadly.

    It’s an irrational fear that stems from ignorance. People with a “better safe than sorry” mentality for throwing money at this issue are a problem in society.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I reject your reality and substitute my own.

    • Mozz says:

      Chances are you know nothing about radio and transmitters. Your wireless router is on the same frequency as your microwave, who is to say 20 years from now they don’t find a link and prove your brain cooks each time you nuke that popcorn? AM or FM radio might be found as a cause of cancer in the future, you gonna tell me i am definetly wrong? At one time, abestos was the very best you could find in insulating properties, what happened there? You want to hold a transmitter against your head for hours at a time, be my guest.

      • DrPizza says:

        Sure, if you want me to, I’ll be happy to. You’re definitely wrong. Asbestos still is a good insulator – they didn’t get that wrong. Asbestos was found to be carcinogenic when inhaled to the lungs. There is a mechanism by which asbestos can cause cancer. There is no physical mechanism known to science by which cell phones can cause cancer, period. I know, you’re going to say that “science doesn’t know everything.” But, on the hierarchy of scientific knowledge, thus stuff would rank around kindergarten level, while the vastness of scientific knowledge is post-doctoral.

        Or, to perhaps put it into an analogy into mathematical terms that might make more sense, it’s like telling mathematicians, “how do you know that there aren’t two non-zero numbers that multiply together to give you zero? You haven’t written down every single number yet.” They’re just going to roll your eyes at you. As far as scientists go though, most of them will ignore you, some of them might attempt to inform you, and still others, they see “jackpot! I get to do a long term study. I’m guaranteed employment for the next 30 years and don’t have to do a damn thing.”

  16. Takeshi says:

    One thing i want to know… I have seen many teenagers prefer to listen to music by using earphone connected to their cell phone. Does that produce any sort of radiation while listening to music for a longer period. Another thing the government should take in to account- that is smoking… researchers need to find out at more convincing and simple ways to quite smoking.