Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced a bill in Congress last Friday that would examine force the FCC to investigate the potential side effects of radiation from mobile phones. The bill demands that the government “examine, label, and communicate adverse human biological effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields from cellphones and other wireless devices, and for other purposes.” On Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office also called for action, noting that the Federal Communications Commission set its maximum exposure limits more than 15 years ago during the early days of mobile technology. The GAO warns that federal cell phone radiation standards are outdated and may not protect public health.
“The FCC has been wearing a blindfold for more than a decade, pretending that while cell phones were revolutionizing how we communicate, the agency didn’t have to take a hard look at what this meant for its so-called safety standards,” said Renee Sharp, director of Environmental Working Group’s California office. “Finally, the FCC has been taken to task for this grave oversight, and we hope and expect it will use the GAO’s findings to update its safety standards for wireless devices.”
The GAO notes that the FCC’s current standards allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the body as a whole, and do not account for the possible risks to children’s developing brains. In addition, the agency did not consider the impact of frequent cell phone use over the course of many years.
“In 1996, tweens and teens were not consumers of wireless technology, but today it’s hard to find a group of young people who aren’t armed with the latest mobile device,” said Sharp. “Those populations who are now talking and texting daily were not considered by the FCC when it devised its safety standards fifteen years ago.”
The FCC announced in June that it was considering whether or not to evaluate its current standards, however no final decision was made. The agency has repeatedly spoken of confidence in its current guidelines and claims cell phone emissions pose no risk to consumers.
In the largest study of its kind, scientists from the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society and the International Agency for Research on Cancer found no clear evidence that mobile phone’s increase the risk of cancer, although the team noted that it could not predict long-term effects.