Over the years there’s been a constant debate whether or not the radiation cell phones emit is dangerous for users. The FCC has been asked to review its cell phone radiation limit, to correspond today’s smartphone usage.
In the past 16 years, cell phones have evolved a lot. In fact, it’s enough to compare the last two years smartphones with today’s handsets to find there’s a huge technological gap in such a short time. People are using their handsets more often and for many other usages and in many other ways than the standard the FCC originally had in mind.
On Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office released a report asking the FCC to review its standard on cell phone radiation. The report reads that the current standard is just outdated. The FCC last reviewed its phone radiation limit, 16 years ago, ages since the first smartphone hit the markets.
“Current testing requirements for mobile phones may not identify the maximum radio frequency energy exposure when tested against the body” reads the report from the Government Accountability Office. “FCC testing requirements state that mobile phone tests should be conducted with belt-chips and holsters attached to the phone or at a predetermined distance from the body” the report adds.
But through these testing techniques, the FCC might not fully identify the exposure “since some users may hold a mobile phone directly against the body while in use”. And while most of today’s cell phone / smartphone users still use the handsets primarily for talking, many others spend hours browsing the Internet, playing games, reading books, listening to music and so on.
According to today’s FCC guidelines on cell phone radiation limit, the maximum exposure is 1.6 watts per kilogram. The measurement of the radiation amount that the body absorbs is called “maximum specific absorption rate” or SAR. It is the sort of information, all phone manufactures are required to deliver to their consumers in the United States.
While the FCC hasn’t updated its cell phone radiation limit or SAR in 16 years, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers released its own standard 10 years later. The international organization’s guidelines read that the maximum SAR is set for 2.0.
Consumer groups accuse the FCC of protecting phone manufacturers from additional costs by not updating its limit on cell phone radiation limit.