Mark Lerner
Mark Lerner

August 13, 2013

Talk To The FCC About SAR!

On September 3 the FCC will begin looking at comments from the public regarding mobile radiation and its negative health effects.

Recently, under much pressure, the FCC has decided to reevaluate the (outdated) limits it has set on SAR levels for mobile phones. Currently, the FCC sets a limit of 1.6 W/Kg SAR, Specific Absorption Rate, which is the standard measurement of radiation exposure from mobile phones.

The FCC created these regulations 17 years ago using what many believe are outdated and incorrect assumptions during their testing. For example, the FCC conducted their testing based on the assumption that: The user was holding their phone 6 inches from their head during a call, people use their phones only a few times a week, and that only full grown adults use mobile phones.

As you probably know, these assumptions are false in modern day. Most people have their phone glued to their ear (not 6 inches away from it) for hours upon hours each day. Many young children now have their own smartphones, or use them often. It would seem only logical that a reevaluation and revision of these guidelines be done, soon.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been lobbying to have these standards changed for many years.

The GAO  issued a report following year-long investigation into the adequacy of the FCC’s rules that was requested by Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that has oversight authority over the FCC and the telecommunications industry.

Among GAO’s top findings: The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) radiofrequency (RF) energy exposure limit may not reflect the latest research, and testing requirements may not reflect maximum exposures in all usage conditions. FCC set its RF energy exposure limit for mobile phones in 1996 based on recommendations from federal health and safety agencies and international organizations.

Along with the GAO, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) was a little more forceful in its opinions of the current FCC standards.  “The FCC has been wearing a blindfold for more than a decade, pretending that while cell phones were revolutionizing how we communicate, the agency didn't have to take a hard look at what this meant for its so-called safety standards,” said Renee Sharp, director of Environmental Working Group’s California office and senior scientist.

The FCC has published a notice of inquiry for the public and has set the date of September 3 for all public comments, so you have to act soon.

So what can you do? Send your stories to the FCC. How has mobile radiation affected you? What fears do you have regarding exposure to mobile radiation, particularly your young ones? What are your suggestions on how the FCC should go forward with their new radiation standards?

You have until September 3 to get your stories in so the FCC can see that there is an overwhelming desire from the public to revamp the current regulations in order to meet the realities of current mobile phone use trends. 

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