FCC’s Genachowski looks to open new inquiry into cellphone radiation emissions

“The head of the Federal Communications Commission wants to open an inquiry into whether cellphone-emissions standards need to be changed amid concerns that the emitted radiation could cause brain cancer,” Amy Schatz reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“On Friday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a proposal for a formal inquiry into radiation standards for cellphones and other wireless gadgets. The proposal requires approval by a majority of the agency’s other commissioners,” Schatz reports. “If approved, the agency would also look into whether gadgets used by children should have higher emission standards.”

“FCC officials tried to play down news of the inquiry, calling it a routine review. However, the agency hasn’t examined emissions standards in 15 years. Environmental and health groups have raised concerns for years that the energy emitted from cellphones held close to the head could lead to brain tumors. The FCC has frequently been criticized for not looking into the issue,” Schatz reports. “The Government Accountability Office is expected to release a report soon on the issue raising the FCC’s inaction, according to two FCC officials.”

Schatz reports, “The wireless industry has long maintained that cellphones are safe to use and that studies have failed to show potential harm to health.”

Read more in the full article here.

47 Comments

      1. I only wish I saw more people using headsets. 1 in 100 maybe. Sad really. 99% of bad driving I witness is a person holding a cell phone.

        Full disclosure: I don’t own a cell phone. (:

        1. … does not BlueTooth emit radiation? If you need to struggle with that, the answer is “YES”. And is that not emitted from very nearly INSIDE your head? Again, the answer is “YES”. Less radiation, sure, but closer to your brain. This is Science. Not Faith.
          Now … about the phone, while you are using the head-set. Where is it? Pants pocket? Next to your “family jewels”? Oh! EXCELLENT choice. You may well live longer … but be sterile.

          1. Your argument fails on simple physics: not all emissions are alike. A cell phone operates on a different set of frequencies and a different power level than a Bluetooth device. A cell phone is trying to punch a signal through construction material, atmospheric water, vegetation, etc to try and reach a cell tower that could be several miles away. A Bluetooth headset is trying to talk to a device that is only 30 ft away. The different frequencies also have different effects on human physiology – some frequencies can’t penetrate human skin, so would not be unable to effect the brain.

            1. … I said: “Less radiation, sure, but closer to your brain. This is Science. Not Faith.”. Because I recognize that rather obvious fact.
              Now … about my second point: “about the phone, while you are using the head-set. Where is it? Pants pocket?”. Maybe it’s in your purse, instead? Safer, there.

      1. And for me (I’m 40) and my parents in their 70s, and for dozens of my friends and colleagues with ages ranging from 30s through 70s, and I could go on and on but why?

        Apparently you are a clueless judgemental narrow minded twit.

        Next time you have an opinion to share consider keeping it to yourself.

      2. The fat chick who almost ran me over last week was texting while driving, the cute girl who almost ran me over at the stoplight the week before was texting.

        It’s not just kids, but it’s effing ridiculous.

  1. I received cysts on my ear lobes consistently from two models of Nokia phones, also another burn type of injury fron having the phone on my hip. This all happened several years ago.
    I switched to Bluetooth with no issues untill I decided to listen to a podcast for several hours during the day. The next day my ear was completely wet inside, I’m assuming that is a defense response.
    Moral of the story always use a earpiece or a Bluetooth. (limited)

    1. I went to school with someone who had cysts on his ear lobes and he didn’t own a cell phone. What’s a burn type injury?

      For the record, I don’t object to further study of how microwaves and radiation from cell phones affect our bodies.

    1. cause and effect smart boy, you actually think that all these frequencies of microwave radiation have no effect on our bodies… Sooner or later some frequency is going to effect us more than the others. Is it 4g?

      1. Here is the proof ‘Christian’. Snapper shows all the signs of the unknowledgeable spouting off about something that they heard about but actually know little about. Snapper has never made the measurements of the radiation of a cell phone nor compared them to that of the sun we feel on a beach in the summer.

        1. 4
          Solar radiation is a known cause of skin cancer and degradation of skin quality. How many beaches are off limits in the summer?

          Maybe bikinis should be replaced by burkas??? OMG say it never will happen? 🙂

  2. I have a cyst on my skin just above my left ear that has been there since 2000. I am convinced it came from my mobile phone. I had the phone held to my head for years. Always on the phone talking to clients.

    We also know that in 2000 Motorola got in trouble with power emissions. We also know that cell phoned today emit much less power than in the past. Whereas phones used to have to transmit 5 miles, today with the number of towers available and the restrictions on distance with high speed data, distances are much less. Half mile or less.

    It hasn’t been 15 years, it’s been 10 to 12 since the last inquiry (close). I would welcome some information on this. I suspect power emissions are lower, and much safer.

    But, please do use a headset.

  3. But why focus on just cancer though, as if that’s the only risk that needs to be assessed? How about neurodegeneration? We already know that the blood brain barrier starts leaking quickly and things that shouldn’t be in the brain end up there. One problem with a focus on cancer is that it can becoming a “decoy” – if we can keep people distracted and guessing long enough about cancer risk then the more immediate risks to the brain will hopefully be lost in any conversation. Cancer can take a long time to develop and a long time to prove or disprove, as we see already. Meanwhile, other effects such as neuronal death may be occurring without any cancer.

  4. Re: “The wireless industry has long maintained that cellphones are safe to use and that studies have failed to show potential harm to health.”

    George Carlo, PhD. M.S. J.D. was made head (for 6 years) of the cell industry research/PR headquarters in Washington DC! They thought they had a “yes man” scientist and he had previously worked in favor of the tobacco industry and Dow Chemicals. He split with the cell industry as he became convinced of the danger.
    “They cannot guarantee that cell phones are safe. We’ve moved into an area where we now have some direct evidence of harm from cellular phones. The industry said that there were thousands of studies that proved that wireless phones are safe and the fact was there were NO studies that were directly relevant. They have shown total disregard for mobile phone users.”

    Lloyds of London will insure ANYBODY for ANYTHING — except cell phones. They won’t insure the cell industry and have recommended to other insurance companies to write in exclusion clauses against paying compensation for illnesses caused by continuous long-term low-level radiation.

    Olle Johansson, PhD, of the famous Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden:
    “Research show that electromagnetic radiation can affect behaviour, become problematic for short-term memory, cause concentration disturbances and confusion.” “It is a myth that a specific type of radiation or a chemical is harmless just because it happens to be below the official safety level.”

    It goes on and on.

  5. How is it that the office of the Surgeon General is not co-involved with the FCC on this ongoing issue? For that matter, how is that the WHO isn’t deeply involved in finding provable answers to this question?

    Until real scientific questions with subsequent scientifically-arrived-at answers are resolved, I see this as being the biggest global ecological question since fluorocarbons and their relevance to the ozone layer.

  6. This question has been answered. The research has been done. Cell phone emissions are not strong enough to alter genetic material or break bio-molecular bonds.

    1. @ Mr.White and KenC
      The science has been done – and done – and done, and the “non-ionizing radiation” myth is one of those pieces of bull to go with “lead is fine”, “chemicals in food are fine” and “here’s a happy housewife spraying DDT all over her house”. (Why are so many people so happy to HELP corporations poison them and their children?)

      George Carlo (see above) headed a SIX year study **FOR the cell industry**. It involved about fifty scientists in a dozen different labs and cost tens of millions of dollars. It was set up precisely to “prove” there was no harm. And he turned on his employers and declared, “We’ve moved into an area where we now have some direct evidence of harm from cellular phones. … They have shown total disregard for mobile phone users.”

      1. The science has been done – over and over again. Still no conclusive proof that the tiny amount of RF radiation emitted by cellular phones has any link to cancer of any kind. Seriously. Do some research on non-ionizing radiation, and what it actually does. It’s not the same as ionizing radiation. Some people prefer conspiracy theories and pseudo-science to reality. That’s your choice. Everyone else who is concerned about it, please read available scientific documentation. Understand the effects of non-ionizing radiation, and look at power levels involved. Then see if you still think there is a threat.

        Bottom line, unless you literally live underground in a cave, behind a lead door, you are exposed to RF energy all day, every day. WiFi, cellular, Bluetooth, cordless phones, AM/FM radio, DBS satellite transmissions, power lines, microwave ovens. A few minutes of exposure to very low levels of RF energy from you cell phone is seems pretty unlikely to have much of an impact. Don’t take my word for it, read the real research, not the conspiracy theories.

        1. What more science do you want besides a six-year study PAID FOR BY THE CELL INDUSTRY to “prove” there was no harm… that then found harm!!!!!!!!!! But besides that, there are numerous scientific studies from various countries. Lloyds of London won’t even insure the cell industry around this issue.

          Come on! This song and dance is exactly the same that happened around lead in gasoline, chemicals in food, chemicals in water, nuclear waste, air pollution in cities and so on. Every damn time, it’s the same thing. “That’s just pseudo-science.” “There’s no proof it’s dangerous.” “You have to prove it’s dangerous.” — No, you should have to prove it’s safe.

          If you think the following looks like a list of conspiracy nuts or pseudo-scientists, you’re a brain dead moron… Just a very few of the people who have studied this issue are:

          Dr. David Carpenter, Dean at the School of Public Health, State University of New York
          “This is really harming people, the association between residential exposure to EMF’s and cancer is in my judgment, strong and growing stronger. I believe that 30% of all childhood cancers are associated with EMF exposure.”

          Henry Lai, PhD, Dept. of Bioengineering, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
          “I have seen a lot of effects from electromagnetic fields. One is DNA damage, which is a concern because it can lead to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and is a cause of cancer.”

          Martin Halper, the EPA’s Director of Analysis and Support goes even further.
          “I have never seen a set of epidemiological studies that remotely approached the weight of evidence that we’re seeing with ELF [extremely low frequency] electromagnetic fields. Clearly there is something here”.

          Overall mortality of cellular telephone customers.
          Rothman K, Loughlin J, Funch D, Dreyer N
          Epidemiology 7 (3) 303-305 1996

          The acute effects of exposure to the electromagnetic field emitted by mobile phones on human attention.
          Edelstyn N, Oldershaw A
          Neuroreport 13(1):119-121, 2002

          A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans.
          S. Gangi & O. Johansson. Medical Hypotheses 2000, 54 (4). Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

          Investigation of brain potentials in sleeping humans exposed to the electromagnetic field of mobile phones. VIEW
          Lebedeva NN, Sulimov AV, Sulimova OP, Korotkovskaya TI, Gailus T,
          Crit Rev Biomed Eng 29(1):125-133, 2001

          Effect on human attention of exposure to the electromagnetic field emitted by mobile phones
          Lee TMC, Ho SMY, Tsang LYH, Yang SYC, Li LSW, Chan CCH,
          NeuroReport 12:729-731, 2001

          Exposure to pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field during waking affects human sleep EEG VIEW
          Huber R, Graf T, Cote KA, Wittmann L, Gallmann E, Matter D, Schuderer J,
          Kuster N, Borbely AA, Achermann P,
          Neuroreport 11(15):3321-3325, 2000.

          Exposure to extremely-low-frequency electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation: cardiovascular effects in humans.
          Jauchem JR
          Int Arch Occup Environ Health 70(1):9-21, 1997

          1. From the excellent Bob Park-

            “1. ALBERT WHO? DEAD PHYSICIST DISPELS MOBILE-PHONE MYTH.

            According to news reports last week: “There is still no evidence of harm to health from mobile-phone technologies,” or other wireless devices such as Wi-Fi. A study for the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) is said to be the most complete review yet and new evidence is still being examined, according to Professor Anthony Swerdlow of the Institute of Cancer Research, who chaired the study. I once had a rubber stamp made that said: “More research is needed,” since its found at the end of every science paper. The unanswered question is why anyone thought microwave radiation might be a cancer agent in the first place? Cancer is linked to the formation of mutant strands of DNA. More than 100 years ago in his 1905 paper on the photoelectric effect, Albert Einstein predicted an abrupt threshold for photoemission at about 5 eV, just above the lovely blue limit of the visible spectrum, demonstrating wave-particle duality. He was awarded the 1923 Physics Nobel Prize. Its also the threshold for the emission of invisible ultraviolet radiation that causes hideous skin cancers. The cancer threshold, is therefore, 1 million times higher than the microwaves band. The same enormous mistake was made in the 1980s when epidemiologists falsely warned that exposure to power line emission can cause cancer. Power lines abruptly stopped causing cancer in 1997 after the U.S. National Cancer Institute conducted a better study. Its painful to witness this sad history being replayed with mobile-phone radiation. Aside: My apologies to regular readers who have heard this 20 times before, but it has not gotten through to everyone.”

            1. I know, I know. 🙂
              One thing that is funny — people who live BATHED in the products of science every day… like their Macs… who then, selectively, don’t “believe in” certain small pieces of it.

              Anyway, let us pray…
              “Oh great ultra-rich overlords, your ‘right’ to make a profit at any cost is holy and beyond question. Please allow me to line up my children and myself and we’ll all just bend over to receive the blessings of your tobacco, lead in gasoline, red dye #1 through 1000, arsenic in the water, gamma benzene hexachloride, smog and so many more wonderful things that floweth from thine beneficence.”

              Re “Power lines abruptly stopped causing cancer in 1997 after the U.S. National Cancer Institute conducted a better study.” Actually, the REAL study to pay attention to came in Sweden, where they did a long-term study – 20 years, I think – of every young teenager in the country. And, surprise, they found an increased risk rear power lines.

            2. Cancer does not need a high dose- just a long time.

              Facial skin cancer is higher on the facial side exposed to the outside when driving all over the world. Otherwise in the UK it’s higher on the right and in the US it’s higher on the left. This phenomenon is not limited to people living in sunny climates or warm climates.

              Acoustic neuroma incidence is trending higher on the side favored by users with long histories of cell use. Since widespread cell use (and widespread HEAVY cell use) is a relatively new phenomenon, the numbers will doubtlessly become more significant over time.

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