Long-overdue look at cell phones considered

The cell phone debate rages on and it’s not about the Droid vs. the iPhone (although I know which one I would pick). I’m sure you’re aware of the ongoing concerns about the use of cell phones and the risk of brain tumors. Now, finally, an investigative arm of Congress has said it’s time to take a fresh look at the 15-year-old standards on radiofrequency energy from mobile phones.

It turns out the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set limits for “safe human exposure” to cell phone emissions. And all mobile phones must be tested to make sure they fall within those limits before they can be released into the U.S. market.

But, as we both know, what the FCC considers safe may differ significantly compared to what you and I consider safe. After all, how often is the government truly looking out for our health relative to the health of big business?

According to this latest report, the current limit may not reflect the latest research. And testing may not reflect the actual conditions under which mobile phones are used. For example, they haven’t considered the effects of the emissions when stored directly against the body in a pocket, while someone talks through an ear piece, or even the overall amount of usage that occurs now, especially in our children.

Amazingly, I am totally on board with this recommendation. If it’s approved, the FCC would consider changing its testing procedures and seek input on the need either to strengthen or ease the current standards. The proposal also considers whether emission standards should be different for devices used by children.

The sharp increase in mobile phone usage has fueled lengthy debate about the potential link to the main types of brain tumor, glioma and meningioma. And I am not sure if you knew this or not, but in May 2011 the World Health Organization added cell phone radiation to a list of possible carcinogens, putting it in the same category as lead, chloroform, and coffee and said more study is needed. Was it just me or did I miss the memo on that one?

At this point, from my perspective, the research just isn’t consistent enough to draw any clear conclusions. The only thing for certain is that this is a brand new world…one we have embraced from a technological standpoint. So we should be moving more quickly to figure out if it’s one that we should have embraced so whole heartedly.

Hmmm…I wonder if they said the same thing about radio or television waves?