• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Ignore the Spin: GAO Says to Ease Cell Phone Rules

    According to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, federal health standards limiting radiation from cell phones are outdated and don’t reflect the latest research in the field. The watchdog agency urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reassess its current rules.

    The Members of Congress who requested the study—Representatives Edward Markey (D–MA), Henry Waxman (D–CA), and Anna Eshoo (D–CA)—released a statement along with the report calling for the FCC to take action, with Markey warning that the health of American children was at stake. The FCC responded with assurances that theU.S. had the tightest standards in the world. By day’s end, the regulatory ball was rolling at a pretty good clip.

    But apparently, no one thought to actually read the GAO report.

    Yes, the cell phone radiation standard now in place—1.6 watts per kilogram—is based on old research and does not reflect the current scientific consensus, which is that cell phone radiation is less dangerous than previously thought.

    In 2006, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) eased its standard to 2.0 watts. That is now the standard in most of the world but not in the U.S.

    The GAO also criticized the methods used by the FCC in testing cell phones for radiation. Current tests stress phones held against the head. Today, however, with users doing less talking and more texting, phones are spending more time on the torso rather than against the head. Changing the test procedure would thus seem to make sense. Nevertheless, IEEE told GAO researchers that it is unlikely that phones approved under the current procedures present any dangers given the low power levels involved.

    There’s no hint in the report of the imminent danger to adults and children that the three Members of Congress described. In fact, the overall message of the GAO report was a positive one. “There is no convincing evidence that [radio frequency] energy below guideline levels causes health effects in adults or children.”

    There was, however, one danger the GAO did warn about: Overly restrictive federal regulations on cell phones not only raises the cost but could also limit wireless performance and functionality. And given the safety benefits of cell phones, that is more than just an economic concern.

    Now, as Markey, Waxman, and Eshoo said, it is time for the FCC to act to resolve the problem.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Ignore the Spin: GAO Says to Ease Cell Phone Rules

    1. KJinAZ says:

      Electromagnetic radiation is EVERYWHERE! It is in every electrical device. Cell phones have transmitters, so they do put out more radiation at one frequency. If they are worried about cell phones, then what about their antenna towers with hundreds of times the power. They are going everywhere now in churches, homes, and schools. How about the ham radio folks, or what about CB radios. They all have strong transmitters as well. There is also huge amounts of radiation from the high power transmission lines that cross this nation. 40% of all the power put into the grid is lost to radiation. There are studies that suggest living near these power lines causes cancer in some people.

      The GAO IS NOT a scientific board of standards we should let manage anything. One thing is for sure, the government is not always looking out for YOUR best interests. We know the libs who are pushing these regulations don't have a clue! If you want to cut cell phone power then it means more towers are necessary, so it only makes that problem worse. If we follow their logic we should go back to the dark ages.

    2. common sense says:

      This is not a partisan issue. You should do your homework: CELL PHONE RADIATION IS THE CIGARETTES ISSUE OF OUR DAY.

    3. Bobbie says:

      the miscommunication by government officials evolves a necessary call to reprimand. They continue to use their positions to fear the public at their liberty, to destroy ours! If there was/is a probability they'll use it without researching updated facts. Please clean this man made filth out of America's house!

    4. Lab Rat says:

      The article missed a crucial piece of information that was stated in the GAO report on cell phone safety. The GAO report pointed out that the FCC's obsolete testing procedure allows the phones to be tested for compliance to the federal safety standard while held up to 1 inch away from the torso – therefore, if a phone is used against the body (as in a shirt or pants pocket) the user may be exposed to radio frequency energy that exceeds the FCC safety standard.

      The GAO explicitly recommended that the FCC's testing procedure be updated to test phones the way they are typically used today – directly on the body – to avoid this potentially unsafe situation.

    5. AD-RtR/OS! says:

      Yes, action is required.
      Waxman, Markey, and Eshoo prove that something causes brain damage.
      We need to find out what.

      • labrat4sar says:

        Waxman, Markey and Eshoo are simply echoing the concern raised by the International Agency for Research on Cancer which reviewed all the independent studies and concluded that the microwave emissions from cell phones are a possible human carcinogen as studies showed a correlation with malignant brain cancer after just 10 years of use.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×