FCC looks into cell phone radiation, decides to keep limitations same as before

Our cell phones go with us just about everywhere: at school, work, in our pocket, in bed. Those who have been around long enough will have heard ever-changing stances on the health safety of the handsets, with some claiming that the radiation causes brain tumors and others claiming that there are no health problems associated with phone use. All was quiet on the health front until last year, when the government said it was time to take another look at acceptable RF levels.

In 2012, the Government Accountability Office released a report after spending a year researching the health aspects of cell phone usage that stated the radiation limit needed to be reevaluated, the first time such a required had been made in nearly two decades. At the time of the report, the FCC had the SAR (specific absorption rate) set at 1.6W/kg.

The FCC reevaluated the radiation limit after the report was published, and has now published its own response, in which it states that the SAR limit is staying the same as it has been for many years. However, all is not staying unchanged. Per the report, the outer part of the ear has been reclassified as an extremity, a designation that legally allows it to absorb more radiation under current specifications.

The effects of cell phone radiation on humans is mostly unknown, but is typically regarded to be safe and to not cause some of the speculated conditions that populate conspiracy boards. Still, more research is needed on RF radiation and its potential health effects, something that could be prodded by the ever-increasing use of smartphones in our digital, mobile world.

[via The Verge]