FCC proposes first cellphone radiation investigation in 15 years

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission Julius Genachowski released a proposal on Friday to formally investigate whether wireless radiation is carcinogenic and should thus be regulated more strictly.

If the proposal is approved by a majority of the FCC's four other commissioners, the inquiry will move forward with an investigation of existing cellular radiation regulations as well as whether wireless devices used by children should carry be subject to higher standards, reports The Wall Street Journal. It has been 15 years since the commission last examined the issue.

A number of independent studies have raised concern over wireless radiation emission and its possible role in causing brain tumors, though a lack of conclusive evidence has kept the debate from being resolved. The proposed inquiry is not meant to put these questions to bed and an FCC official said that the agency has no plans to create new rules based on any possible findings.

"The great weight of the most credible scientific evidence tells us there is no causal link between cellphone usage and brain tumors," said FCC commissioner Robert McDowell (R-Va.). "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."

While wireless industry proponents have downplayed any perceived link between cancer and cellular radiation environmental and health groups have repeatedly called for a formal government investigation. Those requests have thus far fallen on deaf ears and the FCC has been criticized for not looking into the issue sooner. According to two FCC officials, the Government Accountability Office is investigating the commission's lack of action and will release a report soon.

Genachowski
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.


"We fully expect that 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," said CTIA Vice President of Public Affairs John Walls. The CTIA is an international nonprofit organization that represents the wireless communications industry.

The FCC's commissioners are expected to green light the inquiry, though it is unclear how it will conduct the investigation or what it will do with the subsequent results.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 103
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    They're going to do this until they finally find someone they can pretend died from cancer in that area and then ban all cell phones, aren't they?
  • Reply 2 of 103
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member


    If discovered to be true, Apple should be be held fully accountable.


     


    Nobody else. Just Apple.


     


    The bastards.

  • Reply 3 of 103
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Well, the iPhone [I]does[/I] rank pretty high on the spectrum of radiation, or so says a test done not too long ago.
  • Reply 4 of 103
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,467member


    Cell phone radiation tested levels published here (FWIW)


     


    http://reviews.cnet.com/2719-6602_7-291-2.html?tag=

  • Reply 5 of 103
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post



    Well, the iPhone does rank pretty high on the spectrum of radiation, or so says a test done not too long ago.


     


    Not if held a certain way...

  • Reply 6 of 103
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member


    They’re investigating the FCC to find out why the FCC failed to act on a lack of evidence?


     


    Then they’ll investigate why the FCC was investigated for no good reason, I suppose....


     


    Eventually maybe they’ll get around to action on things that have actual evidence... like whether the recent increase in sugar (yay corn lobby!) in everything from bread to sauces promotes cancer and heart disease. (Wait, that’s already known... I won’t spoil it for you.)


     


    Also, I’d like to note that people (even scientists) use the term “radiation” for two very different things:


     


    1) Ionizing radiation. Atoms splitting into particles. The scary stuff from bombs and nuclear waste! Also certain e-m frequencies like X-rays. Danger!


     


    2) Non-ionizing radiation. This includes everything from visible light to TV signals to microwave ovens and—yes—cell phones.


     


    Cell phones are one of many sources of NON-ionizing radiation. This is not in dispute: atoms are not getting split here :)

  • Reply 7 of 103


    First test in 15 years? Your tax dollars at work.

  • Reply 8 of 103
    Ionizing radiation does NOT "split atoms" (fission), it knocks electrons off of atoms/molecules causing ions to form which can be damaging to biological systems


    nagromme wrote: »
    They’re investigating the FCC to find out why the FCC failed to act on a lack of evidence?

    Then they’ll investigate why the FCC was investigated for no good reason, I suppose....

    Eventually maybe they’ll get around to action on things that have actual evidence... like whether the recent increase in sugar (yay corn lobby!) in everything from bread to sauces promotes cancer and heart disease. (Wait, that’s already rknown... I won’t spoil it for you.)

    Also, I’d like to note that people (even scientists) use the term “radiation” for two very different things:

    1) Ionizing radiation. Atoms splitting into particles. The scary stuff from bombs and nuclear waste! Also certain e-m frequencies like X-rays. Danger!

    2) Non-ionizing radiation. This includes everything from visible light to TV signals to microwave ovens and—yes—cell phones.

    Cell phones are one of many sources of NON-ionizing radiation. This is not in dispute: atoms are not getting split here :)
  • Reply 9 of 103
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    They’re investigating the FCC to find out why the FCC failed to act on a lack of evidence?


     


    Then they’ll investigate why the FCC was investigated for no good reason, I suppose....


     


    Eventually maybe they’ll get around to action on things that have actual evidence... like whether the recent increase in sugar (yay corn lobby!) in everything from bread to sauces promotes cancer and heart disease. (Wait, that’s already known... I won’t spoil it for you.)


     


    Also, I’d like to note that people (even scientists) use the term “radiation” for two very different things:


     


    1) Ionizing radiation. Atoms splitting into particles. The scary stuff from bombs and nuclear waste! Also certain e-m frequencies like X-rays. Danger!


     


    2) Non-ionizing radiation. This includes everything from visible light to TV signals to microwave ovens and—yes—cell phones.


     


    Cell phones are one of many sources of NON-ionizing radiation. This is not in dispute: atoms are not getting split here :)



     


    Light Spectrum is Radiation. I'd like to point out you don't understand that. Go take some Applied Heat Transfer Classes and you'll get it. It's the diffusion into the Earth's atmosphere that protects us from all the high frequency/high energy spectrum or we'd all have to wear space suits.

  • Reply 10 of 103
    normmnormm Posts: 653member


    If people would spend their time worrying about things that are worth worrying about, instead of crazy shit, the world wouldn't be in such a mess.  There is no amount of evidence that will shoot down this idea, which continues to make money for authors and alarmist "journalists," that cell phones can cause cancer.  For example, all of the cell phone users in Denmark have been followed since 1985 in various studies, showing there is no correlation.  In fact some studies have found that cell phone users are less likely to get brain tumors!


     


    But the real reason this is crazy is because we know a lot about electromagnetic radiation, and there is no plausible physical mechanism: radio frequency photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds, which is necessary to cause cancer.  A strong enough signal could cause heat damage, but the power levels are much too low for this to be a problem.  Sunlight is known to cause cancer, but only the ultraviolet photons are energetic enough, and they are a million times more energetic than cell phone photons!

  • Reply 11 of 103
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member


    It's probably not a great idea to talk on a cell phone all day with the thing pressed against your ear. But let's keep some perspective. I'm more worried about the girl who's texting while driving, putting us all in grave danger.

  • Reply 12 of 103


    Every time I use a cell phone for a longer period of time, I get a headache. Have been using all kinds of cell phones since the mid 90s. Since the headache goes away soon after a call is finished, "there's nothing to worry about", the experts and economically conscious authorities say. They also say my observations have no (scientific) value whatsoever since I'm not a proper expert. "Maybe it's just tension neck or something similar? Maybe I'm just imagining things, and subconsciously "hate" the cell phone as a symbol of stress.."


     


    The iPhone gives the mildest headaches of all the many phones I've tested ;)


     


    Still, these things are worth looking into.

  • Reply 13 of 103
    starbird73starbird73 Posts: 538member
    nagromme wrote: »
    Eventually maybe they’ll get around to action on things that have actual evidence... like whether the recent increase in sugar (yay corn lobby!) in everything from bread to sauces promotes cancer and heart disease. (Wait, that’s already known... I won’t spoil it for you.)

    Let's not forget liver disease and obesity! The fact that we've gotten fatter during that same time? No correlation! Pure coincidence!
  • Reply 14 of 103
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    We here at Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, Inc. have concluded that cellphone use causes aging.

    Using sciency sounding techniques we have determined this phenomena is a real threat. We have pictures of people with cellphones over several years and you can see a progression of them aging.

    It's not just those with cellphones that are aging but those around cellphones, like babies and children. Not only does this secondhand cellphone exposure seem just as dangerous but perhaps more so because they haven't built up a tolerance. You can see this in the considerably faster rate of growth of children v. adults.
  • Reply 15 of 103
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Light Spectrum is Radiation. I'd like to point out you don't understand that. Go take some Applied Heat Transfer Classes and you'll get it. It's the diffusion into the Earth's atmosphere that protects us from all the high frequency/high energy spectrum or we'd all have to wear space suits.

    Nagromme said "Non-ionizing radiation. This includes everything from visible light to TV signals to microwave ovens and—yes—cell phones." He was clearly pointing out that light is radiation.

    So what did he say that was wrong? If you think he's wrong, then you're the one who needs classes. In fact, your last sentence suggests pretty strongly that you are very confused.

    solipsismx wrote: »
    We at Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc, Inc. have concluded that cellphone use causes aging. Using sciency sounding techniques we have determined this phenomena is a real threat. We have pictures of people with cellphones over several years and you can see a progression of them aging. It's also not just those with cellphones that are aging but those around cellphones, like babies and children. Not only does this secondhand cellphone exposure seem just as dangerous but perhaps more so because they haven't built up a tolerance. You can see this in the considerably faster rate of growth of children v. adults.

    I think you're onto something. My related research shows that it also causes obesity, diabetes, divorce, and the birth of ugly kids.
  • Reply 16 of 103

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


     


     


    Also, I’d like to note that people (even scientists) use the term “radiation” for two very different things:


     


    1) Ionizing radiation. Atoms splitting into particles. The scary stuff from bombs and nuclear waste! Also certain e-m frequencies like X-rays. Danger!


     


    2) Non-ionizing radiation. This includes everything from visible light to TV signals to microwave ovens and—yes—cell phones.


     


    Cell phones are one of many sources of NON-ionizing radiation. This is not in dispute: atoms are not getting split here :)



     


    Apparently the FCC doesn't already know this!

  • Reply 17 of 103
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post



    They're going to do this until they finally find someone they can pretend died from cancer in that area and then ban all cell phones, aren't they?


    Do you think holding a device with a transmitter up against the side of your head everyday for a fair amount of time could possibly has long term affects on that area? I think so. Remember the mobile phone industry is worth BILLION of dollars with huge investments in R&D, advertising, production, and infrastructure. Do not think it is possible that this industry really isn't looking for any answers that would either destroy it or make it start all over from scratch. Cell phones may be the tobacco of the 21st century.

  • Reply 18 of 103
    celemourncelemourn Posts: 769member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by winterspan View Post



    Ionizing radiation does NOT "split atoms" (fission), it knocks electrons off of atoms/molecules causing ions to form which can be damaging to biological systems


    What Nagrome said is correct, as is what you just said.  Ionizing radiation COMES FROM emission of particles from atoms through radioactive decay, and causes ionization.


     


    C

  • Reply 19 of 103
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,697member


    A lot seem eager to dismiss out of hand the possibility that cell phone radiation could be harmful. But, there are a lot of things that we know today that the possibility of them being true was dismissed out of hand or even unimaginable. Not investigating and pretending we understand everything about it is simply wallowing in ignorance.

  • Reply 20 of 103
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    anonymouse wrote: »
    A lot seem eager to dismiss out of hand the possibility that cell phone radiation could be harmful. But, there are a lot of things that we know today that the possibility of them being true was dismissed out of hand or even unimaginable. Not investigating and pretending we understand everything about it is simply wallowing in ignorance.

    I don't think it's being dismissed out of hand. The fact is that there have been extensive studies which show no correlation.

    That doesn't mean that we shouldn't do additional research to find out if new evidence shows a risk, but it does mean that there should be no presumption of harm (such as kerryb's post above).
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