U.S. GAO asks FCC to reevaluate its radiation labeling for mobile phones

U.S. GAO asks FCC to reevaluate its radiation labeling for mobile phones
The United States Government Accountability Board has issued a recommendation to the FCC that it reassess how it tests and labels mobile devices for the amount of radio-frequency (RF) energy that is given off. It is apparently coincidental that this recommendation comes directly on the heals of Rep. Kucinich’s bill requesting that the FCC apply more explicit labels to phones to show off the amount of RF they give off.

The GAO request is not about any newly posited dangers of RF – the very first sentence of their findings states:

Instead, the GAO is concerned that the methods the FCC uses to test for exposure are out of date – for example, the current testing guidelines assume that phones are held in holsters rather than in a pants pocket. That might seem like a small different, but RF exposure increases as the distance decreases, so the resulting numbers are incorrect. The GAO also wants the FCC to update the recommendations on exposure – they note that in some cases current standards would actually allow for more RF exposure than is currently recommended, but the main point is to get the FCC to update all of their recommendations to the latest findings of various government research bodies that investigate RF.

Hopefully this report won’t be used to scare-mongering people, as the GAO is making a sober and practical point: while there is no substantiated health concern from RF at this time, the FCC should make sure that its testing methods are up to date and its recommendations reflect the latest research, so that consumers can make informed decisions whenever new information comes out. The FCC, for its part, was already planning an overhaul of its guidelines, and will most likely incorporate the GAO findings into that process.

source: GAO Findings via Engadget

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4 Comments

1. superguy

Posts: 386; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

This report might not be scaremongering, but Kucinich is with this bill.

4. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Yeah, it appears Representative Kucinich doesn't have have a good grasp of physics. He probably has a lot of company in Congress.

2. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

I call b.s on this one... It's on the same level as those people that claim power lines and microwave ovens cause cancer.

3. Scott_H

Posts: 167; Member since: Oct 28, 2011

Sort of the same - none of those types of radiation can cause cancer (since they don't have enough energy to ionize molecules) but microwaves can still have significant negative effects on living tissue if they aren't screened off well enough (by our atmosphere when it comes to cosmic background radiation, by metal grills and such in the case of the kitchen appliance). It's conceivable, thought not very likely, that RF emissions could have some non-cancer-related health impact via the heat effects on cells.

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