by Brendan Sasso
June 17, 2012
The Federal Communications Commission
is considering whether to change its cellphone radiation standards.
Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated an order on Friday
that would launch a formal inquiry into the levels of radiation that
the commission allows devices to emit.
Recent studies have indicated that radiation from
cellphones could increase the risk of cancer,
lower bone density or alter brain activity. But numerous other
studies have found no harm.
An FCC official said the commission's decision to explore the issue
was not triggered by any particular event or study. He noted that
after the commission's probe, it could choose to maintain its
current standards, make them more lax or make them more stringent.
The official said the inquiry is a routine procedure to review the
commission's standards. The FCC last updated its radiation
guidelines in 1996.
If the five-member commission votes to move forward with the
inquiry, it will begin accepting comments from the cellphone
industry, consumer groups and the public.
The wireless industry has long argued that regular levels of
cellphone radiation pose no danger to consumers.
John Walls, vice president of public affairs for wireless
CTIA, said he welcomes the
commission's continued oversight of the issue.
"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," he said in a statement.
He noted that an advisory group to the
United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency recently found that
cellphones are 'safe.'
"Expert agencies and scientific
advisory groups around the world have concluded that cellphones
operating within government standards pose no known health
effects and are safe for normal use,” he said.
CTIA sued San Francisco last year when
the city tried to require warnings on cellphones about the risks of
A federal court sided with CTIA, and
blocked the warnings.