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FCC To Update 1996 Cell Phone Radiation Standard 90

An anonymous reader writes "It's been more than a decade and a half since the FCC adopted a set of standards for radiation exposure from cell phones. The guidelines set in 1996 (and based on studies from the '80s) have applied to all cell phones released in the U.S. since then. Now, the FCC has decided that modern devices are just a tiny bit different than models from the '90s (where did those suitcase phones go?), so they're going to review and update the standard. 'Even though the FCC hasn't changed its standards for evaluating the safety of cell phones, it has provided consumers with information about how to minimize the risk of exposure to cell phone radiation. For example, the FCC recommends people use the speakerphone feature or an earpiece when talking on the phone, since increasing the distance the device is held from the body greatly reduces exposure. But the agency has not advocated for stricter warnings nor has it even endorsed these safety measures as necessary. The current review of the standards could change that as the agency will look at its testing procedures as well as the educational information it provides to the public about cell phone safety.'"
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FCC To Update 1996 Cell Phone Radiation Standard

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  • Change the name (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simonbp ( 412489 ) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @01:03PM (#43318969) Homepage

    The general public doesn't know the difference between RF EM radiation and ionizing/nuclear radiation. That's why it's some common to call microwaving a foodstuff "nuking it" (hydrogen bonding it would be more appropriate).

    So, just don't call it radiation. Call RF emission or RF power. Just as accurate, just as technical sounding, but less scary to the illiterate.

  • idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @01:17PM (#43319051) Homepage

    Cell phone radiation is non-ionizing. There is no known, plausible mechanism by which non-ionizing radiation can cause cancer. That puts the burden of proof on the people who claim there's harm. No such effect has been documented in animals. No such effect [] seems to exist in epidemiological studies in humans.

    It's depressing that science education is so poor that ordinary citizens don't seem able to evaluate these facts appropriately.

    It's depressing that journalists do such a lousy job that they keep on reporting on a manufactured controversy as if all evidence were of equal value.

    It's depressing that funding agencies such as NIH continue to give money to this type of junk science, and that scientific journals continue to publish it.

  • Re:idiocy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @01:51PM (#43319269)

    The research for this kind of stuff is pretty weak and inconclusive. What's more, the results regularly go back and forth and are generally done in a post hoc fashion after the data is collected. Now, when they take that data and start making reproducible predictions about who will and won't get sick, then I'll take it seriously. Until then it's just pseudoscience at best.

    Alcohol is a poison, there is no quantity which isn't poisonous, however in sufficiently low concentrations it's not likely to do much harm to the body. Nobody should be recommending that people take up drinking for health benefits as the evidence is shaky at best.

    This isn't the same as when people suggest that it's a bad idea to kill all the bacteria around them, there's a reason to be nice to the bacteria, they often times do helpful things for us, and it's mostly just certain strains that cause problems and cases where the immune system is weak that harsher measures are needed.

  • Re:Oblig... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j-beda ( 85386 ) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @02:40PM (#43319515) Homepage

    And this one is also widely relevant: []

  • Re:Basic summary: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @04:52PM (#43320239) Homepage Journal

    Penis cancer was strongly related to a career in chimney cleaning and like mesothelioma, it takes a few decades to show up. The book 'The Emperor of Maladies' gives a good account of how major causes for both these diseases were identified. By the time the link was shown, chimney cleaning as an major industry was going away and the problem was fixing itself.

    The rising rates of Alzheimers disease may be related to glutamates in the diet, but it's going to take some huge studies to show this to be true, even though the basic chemistry of how it occurs at the cell level is textbook stuff.

    Since we generally don't start looking until the disease rates start going up, there's not a lot you can do beyond massive data collection and tracking today in the hopes that something pops up. That data collection is happening, but more for the purpose of selling you things that identifying disease causing behaviors.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.