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Cell phone radiation exposure violates FCC standards using current methods

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Methods used to measure radiation from cell phones violates FCC standards.

New research suggests radiation standards for cell phone use exceeds FCC standards, putting children especially at risk. Study results published in the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine finds the standard used by manufacturers to measure mobile phone exposure to radiation is inadequate and should be replaced with a tool that is more accurate.

The Specific Anthropomorphic Mannequin (SAM), which is the standard used by cellphone manufacturers to assess ”Specific Absorption Rate”, known as the SAR, finds children and smaller adults are getting much more radiation from mobile phones placed in the shirt or pants pockets. The result is actually a violation of FCC guidelines.

The study authors write, “…when phones are placed in the pocket or against the body the current FCC guidelines for radiation heating effects are presently being violated, and suggests that different SAR exposure guidelines should be established for people who are smaller than the mannequin, including children and smaller adults.”

The researchers say the tool currently used should be replaced with a method called the FDTD ((Finite Difference Time Domain) computer simulation cellphone certification process that uses a combination of SAM and MRI to determine how much cellphone radiation is being absorbed into the head.

FDTD uses real human beings to determine the amount of cell phone radiation absorbed in every tissue.

“It is possible that as many as half of the cell phones on the market today will not pass muster, and instead, that many phones will be in violation of the FCC exposure limits. The authors say, “If that is the case, steps must be taken to make phones safer if they exceed the FCC safety guideline.”

The authors say the recommended change is about engineering, not health. They say guidelines used to measure cell phone radiation by the industry are not in alignment with the FDTD computer simulation used by the FDA when investigating radiation levels from mobile phones.

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Using the current standard, children absorb twice the cell phone radiation to their heads, up to 3 times more in the brain’s hippocampus and hypothalamus, higher absorption in their eyes, and up to 10 times more radiation in their bone marrow when compared to adults, the researchers explain.

The study authors say, “The new paper, showing dramatically greater evidence of risk from cell phones, and especially for children, with the MRI approach, will prompt a call for use of the MRI-based computer simulation method of cell phone risk assessment.”

Lloyd Morgan, B.S, one of the study authors, said the study should prompt public health officials to call for cell phones to be manufactured without the option of using them against the head and without a speakerphone.

Instead, Morgan says, a wired headset would “…dramatically lower risk of biological, and genetic, damage to the population, and to children and other especially vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, by keeping the radiation, thereby, away from both the head and body.”

The report concluded cell phone radiation exposure is underestimated in 97 percent of the population; especially children.

The authors say cell phone manufacturers are in violation of FCC compliance because they don’t take into account radiation absorbed when phones are placed directly to the head and when they’re in pockets.

The study authors also note concern about the non-heating effect of radiation that is not measured by SAR and varies with modulations in mobile phone signals and frequencies.

The researchers urge the public to contact their Congressional representatives to request that the FCC require cell phone safety testing using the more accurate FDTD (Finite Difference Time Domain) SAR assessment methodology. The new study shows cell phone radiation exposure is underestimated and may especially put children at risk.

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