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U.S. GAO says FCC should revisit cell phone radiation limits


News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday August 07, 2012.

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The U.S. Government Accountability Office thinks it might be time to take another look at cell phone radiation limits. Though ongoing research hasn't established a link between cell phone usage and adverse health effects, the GAO suggests enough time has passed to reexamine limits on radio-frequency (RF) energy.

After spending a year speaking with scientists, consumer advocacy groups, government agencies, and trade groups, the GAO concluded that the FCC has not considered new information made available since it set standards in 1996. Therefore, the agency recommends that the FCC revisit the issue by examining newer research and setting limits based on today's conditions. The GAO's report contends:

By not formally reassessing its current RF energy exposure limit, FCC cannot ensure that it is using a limit that reflects the latest evidence on thermal effects from RF energy exposure, and may impose additional costs on manufacturers and limitations on mobile phone design. FCC's current limit was established based on recommendations made more than 20 years ago. According to IEEE, the new recommended limit it developed is based on significantly improved RF research and therefore a better understanding of the thermal effects of RF energy exposure.

The GAO's report goes on to state that the prevalence of mobile phones today and advances in science further warrant a renewed look at RF limits. It doubts there would be much opposition because three of the four manufacturers who spoke to the GAO favored a standard RF limit because it would reduce development costs and curb some phone features being removed in the U.S. in order to comply with the FCC's current limits.

The report follows calls from Rep. Dennis Kucinich to put RF warning labels on cell phones. Kucinich argues that consumers should be made aware of RF levels until there is a solid consensus on how mobile phones affect health.

source: US GAO

 
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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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