Was FCC Cell Phone Radiation Advice Altered at Behest of Industry?

Following pow-wows with members of the cell phone industry, including the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, Nokia, AT&T and Motorola, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) quietly changed a statement on <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Cell-Phones-Cause-Cancer-Radiation-Exposure-Lawsuit-Lawyer">cell phone radiation that appears on its website. Where it once recommended that consumers choose cell phones with lower SAR (Specific Absorption Rates), the FCC statement now states that while “. . . some parties recommend taking measures to further reduce exposure to RF (radio frequency) energy. The FCC does not endorse the need for these practices . . .”

According to a report on AOLNews.com, some consumer advocates believe the change in wording indicates the FCC has put the wishes of the cell phone industry ahead of public safety. After filing a Freedom of Information Act Request, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the FCC met with representatives of the cell phone industry three times last year — in January, June and July. The commission made the change to the statement on its website in September. The EWG points out that the new FCC cell phone statement echoes the industry’s position on radiation risks.

According to AOLNews.com, an FCC official told the EWG it altered its website statement because of “public confusion” regarding cell phone radiation risks. But it was also acknowledged that an industry trade group had separately asked the agency “to review the same pages.”

AOLNews.com points out that the Government Accountability Office has faulted the FCC in the past for accepting industry recommendations without peer review by independent scientific experts. The same report also points out that other countries offer their citizens stronger advice than what the FCC is currently presenting. For example, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health cautions: “When buying a mobile phone, make sure it has a low SAR.” Meanwhile, in Germany, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection urges consumers to minimize individual exposure by, among other things, advising that they use a land line when it is available, and choose phones with low SAR value. Health agencies in Switzerland, Germany, Israel, France, the United Kingdom and Finland have all recommended reducing children’s exposure to cell phone radiation.

Exactly how dangerous cell phone radiation might be has long been an issue of dispute, with the industry, not surprisingly, insisting the devices are safe. However, the EWG points out that some studies have found a significantly higher risks for brain and salivary gland tumors among people who have used cell phones for 10 years or longer.

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