Report on Cell Phone Radiation

  More Tests Needed On Cell Phone Health Effects
By Kristy Bassuener
Wireless Week - May 22, 2001

  Current research does not show radio-frequency emissions from cell phones have adverse health effects, according to a report released today by the United States General Accounting Office. But the report, titled Telecommunications: Research and Regulatory Efforts on Cell Phone Health Issues, includes a caveat: There is not enough information to prove that cell-phone use poses no health risks.

The report also points out that although the FCC has set limits for RF exposure, there are no standardized testing procedures for assessing how much radiation a phone emits. The data, provided to Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., on May 7, is the along the lines of many other studies released in the last several months.

Among the key recommendations in the report is a suggestion that the FDA provide less technical consumer information on RF emission that currently are included with cell phones.

  Although wireless phones do not emit the type of high-power RF signals that cause burns, the question at hand is whether there are adverse health effects from long-term exposure to the phones' low-level signals. Several scientists claim that cell use may cause cancer or other health problems in humans, and wireless carriers, vendors and even the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association have been named as defendants in lawsuits blaming physical ailments on wireless use.

'Today's report is both balanced and fair,' says Tom Wheeler, CTIA president and CEO. 'As an industry, we concur with the report's conclusion that further research is needed. Hence, we have entered into an agreement with the FDA to pursue additional research.'

CTIA and the Food and Drug Administration will work together to provide more definitive evidence on the health effects of cell-phone use, with CTIA funding the procedures and all costs incurred by the FDA. Exact cost figures for the research have not been released.

CTIA has the authority to pick and choose which proposals receive the funding. CTIA says it will follow FDA's recommendations concerning the research agenda.

Wireless Week Washington Reporter Allyson Vaughan contributed to this story.



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