Questions Arise Over Cellphone Radiation Guidelines

Researchers said on Monday that measuring radiation exposure using current Federal Communication Commission (FCC) guidelines understates how much radiation most people receive from their mobile devices.

The researchers said one reason why is that the current assessment method bases evaluations of how much radiation people are exposed to from their phones on measurements taken using a large, liquid-filled plastic model of the adult human head.

The authors of the study published in the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine said 97 percent of the population will have higher proportional exposure than what is assessed.

The team said the current assessment uses a model of a person that is 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds.  This body-type only represents 3 percent of the population.

The researchers from several members of Environmental Health Trust said children will receive twice as much microwave radiation to the head from phones as adults, and 10 times the amount to bone marrow.

The study said current assessments do not examine exposure to parts of the body other than the head.

The researchers said the cellphone industry should stop using the SAM-based system to certify phones for use.  Instead, they believe the industry should begin using the computer-based “virtual family” simulation approach. 

This approach assesses the radiation absorption for 10 different-sized people, including: a 5-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy, an 8-year old girl, an 11-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy, a 26-year-old woman, a 35-year-old man, an obese man and three women at different stages of pregnancy.

“The SAM-based certification process should be discontinued forthwith,” the authors wrote in the paper. “Because billions of young children and adults with heads smaller than SAM are now using cell phones extensively … it is essential and urgent that governments around the world revise approaches to setting standards for cell phone radiation.”

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