The Federal Communications Commission should review its cell phone radio-frequency (RF) exposure limit, which was set 15 years ago, because it does not include testing for potential harm from holding phones directly against the body or factor in the latest research, a government report recommended today.
When the RF exposure limit of 1.6 watts per kilogram specific absorption rate (SAR) was established in 1996, phones were bigger, bulkier, and carried in holsters outside of clothes and not in pockets, said Marcia Crosse, director of health care at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and co-author of the report. The report adds to mounting concern that the FCC standards are not the best measure of safety.
"The expectation was that people weren't holding it against their head for long periods of time," Crosse told CNET in a phone interview. "They have gotten slimmer, thinner, and more readily able to be put into a pocket. The exposure is different. Even a short distance from the body can dissipate the extent to which you are getting RF or the thermal effect, the heat you get from the phone. We think they need to consider how phones currently are being used and carried around."
The FCC RF energy exposure limit "may not reflect the latest resea... [Read more]