Offbeat

After 15 Years, FCC Proposes First Cellphone Radiation Investigation

Source: Federal Communications Commission logo/ Wikipedia

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski released a proposal last Friday, asking to formally investigate the link between wireless radiation and cancer. The chairman is asking its fellow commissioner to review the organization’s stance on radio frequency emitted on mobile phones, in line with the pressing issue that these devices can cause brain tumors. In addition, Genachowski would also want to call a formal inquiry into their mobile phone emission standards set in 1996.

If the proposal will be approved by the majority of FCC commissioner, an investigation will proceed. Thus, the commission would consider whether they need to strengthen or ease their current standards. The investigation will take a look on their existing cellular radiation regulations, and whether wireless devices used by children should be subjected to high standards.

The Need for Conclusive Evidence

For the past 15 years, a number of independent studies have raised concern over the possible role of wireless radiation emission to the development of brain tumor. However, there were only less conclusive evidences, which have kept the debate from being resolved. FCC also stated that there is no evidence that ties cancer, headache, dizziness, memory loss or other health problems to mobile phones.

But the proposed inquiry is not meant to put this issue to rest. As stated by FCC commissioner Robert McDowell:

The great weight of the most credible scientific evidence tells us there is no casual link between cellphone usage and brain tumor. Nonetheless, it is prudent to reassess our methodology and procedures from time to time, provided we don’t cause unwarranted concern among cellphone consumers along the way.

Although the wireless industry has downplayed any link between handset radiation and cancer, environmental and health groups have repeatedly called for formal investigation by the government. But the pleas have fallen on deaf ears, while the FCC has been criticized for not looking on the issue.

Thus, the Government Accountability Office is investigating on the commission’s lack of action, and they are expected to release a report soon. CTIA Vice President of Public Affairs John Walls revealed:

We fully expect the FCC’s review will confirm, as it has in the past, that the scientific evidence establishes no reason for concern about the safety of cellphones.

CTIA is an international non-profit organization that represents the wireless community. On the other hand, FCC is expected to give the investigation a go signal, although it is still unclear how are they going to conduct the investigation and what will they do on the results.

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