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FCC Revisiting Mobile Device Radiation Standards

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the enjoy-that-can-of-worms dept.

Cellphones 80

MojoKid writes "Did you know that the FCC hasn't updated its guidelines regarding maximum radiation levels in mobile devices since 1996? FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is apparently aware of this, because he's looking to launch a formal inquiry into the matter. In a statement that was recently circulated, the FCC isn't exactly concerned that current standards are too lax, but it makes sense to periodically review standards for an industry that changes and evolves so rapidly and dramatically. There has been much debate in recent years about the potential danger of radiation from cell phones, and although there has been some study on the subject, there is not yet a general consensus on whether there is a real danger from mobile device radiation, and if there is, what the acceptable levels might be."

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80 comments

makes sense (1)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339159)

Just the other day I was looking at my Galaxy Nexus and thinking "I wonder if this thing is safe, or if maybe I'm slowly frying my brain. After all the FCC hasn't updated their guidelines for maximum radiation levels for mobile devices since 1996".
You know I'm feeling relieved now.

Re:makes sense (0)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339437)

You're absolutely right to be concerned, bro. We have on of these mobile phone radiation emitters attached to the pole with the traffic light on the exit of town,and every time I stop to wait for the traffic light, the coffee in the cup holder in my car warms up. I can't stop wondering what this all is about while it is red. But when it goes green, I feel so happy and content that I forget to look it up.

Until the next morning.

Re:makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40373317)

No, it doesn't.

(feel free to test your hypothesis with an infrared thermometer)

Some of the Insurance Comapnies agree.. (1)

FirstOne (193462) | more than 2 years ago | (#40343685)

Considering that modern Cell phones operate near the frequency of uWave ovens, and the owners are placing the antennas next to their heads it would be prudent to limit your exposure.

Use a bluetooth headset or use the speaker phone setting. Get some distance between the antenna and your head. or just send a text message.

B.T.W.. A number of insurance co's now consider cell phone manufacturers to be Uninsurable Risks. [eon3emfblog.net]

Re:makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40344493)

You forgot to check whether or not you have a brain to fry.

Re:makes sense (1)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40345389)

Good point!

Uh... (2, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339161)

1. I'm assuming there hasn't been too much radical human evolution since 1996.
2. Considering that modern devices likely emit lower levels of radiation simply to save battery life compared to the bricks of '96, I doubt that you are getting cooked by your iPhone in any worse way than by your grandpa's Startac.

Re:Uh... (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40340039)

1. I'm assuming there hasn't been too much radical human evolution since 1996.
2. Considering that modern devices likely emit lower levels of radiation simply to save battery life compared to the bricks of '96, I doubt that you are getting cooked by your iPhone in any worse way than by your grandpa's Startac.

Grandpa!?? Listen, sonny, I represent that statement!!

My first cell was the MicroTac [wikipedia.org] , which predated both the StarTac and the FCC radiation standards by almost 10 years. This thing would fry your ear with heat on a call of any duration. Their anemic batteries pretty much limited duration to a medium broil.

Further, any effects of radiation from those old school phones should have been seen by now. The NRC states [nrc.gov] that

The effects of low doses of radiation, if any, would occur at the cell level, and thus changes may not be observed for many years (usually 5-20 years) after exposure.

And they are talking about ionizing radiation, not simple radio waves.

Contrary to the Summary's assertion that "there is not yet a general consensus on whether there is a real danger from mobile device radiation", there is simply no longer any debate, as every study finding even a remote statistical link has been deeply flawed, and pretty well debunked. Even the formerly hand wringing article over at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] has been forced to admit there is just no evidence. The historical/hysterical versions of that article were pretty comical at times.

Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339177)

your head is probably not too smart. I don't worry about it because my phone only comes with 30 minutes a month... my expsoure is minimal. But alot of people talk, talk, talk with the phone broadcasting into their brain.

I imagine there's also some effect on your hip, as the phone is hanging there ~15 hours a day, and broadcasting.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339353)

I imagine there's also some effect on your hip, as the phone is hanging there ~15 hours a day, and broadcasting.

Just make sure to wear tinfoil underwear, and you'll be fine.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339601)

You mean you don't? You people amaze me. What's next? Giving vaccines and antibiotics to your children and having them brush their teeth with FLUORINE?

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40341799)

Tagging along: I heard water is poisonous, people die from it every year!

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40342063)

You don't say! My brother drowned in a sewer when he was 8. A tragedy, I'm telling you.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339661)

Holding a broadcast antenna against your head is probably not too smart.

I'd say being afraid of doing that isn't smart All radio waves are "broadcasting into my brain". Even the sun! So what. It's non-ionizing. No one has even suggested a plausible process by which it's a danger. I know stupid fears when I see them. Therea re dozens of things that have been proven far more dangerous that people do without a care in the world.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40341723)

Yeah but there's a huge difference between microwatts of radio or TV waves passing through you, and 1/4 to 2 watts of cellphone waves passing through. (Plus the fact cellphone waves are small enough to interact on the cellular level, while radio/TV waves are many meters long and barely has any effect on your body.)

And as for the sun..... well we all know how dangerous it is. Best to avoid it, unless you want to end-up looking like that trucker where half his face looks "melted" and damaged.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

SciBrad (1119589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40343361)

If I recall cell phones operate somewhere between 0.8 - 3 GHz. This is a wavelength range of 10cm - 37cm. Not entirely small. Additionally the only likely effect would be some localized heating which is more than easily compensated for by our body's natural ability to dissipate and regulate heat.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 2 years ago | (#40343367)

Yeah but there's a huge difference between microwatts of radio or TV waves passing through you, and 1/4 to 2 watts of cellphone waves passing through.

No, there isn't a difference. They're all non-ionizing radiation and thus just heat the surrounding material.

Re:Holding a broadcast antenna against (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40341793)

Don't worry, cell phones use a lower frequency and less power than a fluorescent light-bulb. More likely to get cancer from EM radiation by being too close to your light-bulb than your cell-phone attached to the side of your head.

Stick a Banana in Your Ear (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339179)

Or wait, don't, far more radioactive than a telephone.

0.1 μSv per banana isn't it?

What sort of radiation? (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339197)

Ionizing or non-ionizing?

If ionizing, why are cell phones emitting ionizing radiation at all?

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless. No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.

Re:What sort of radiation? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339331)

>>>Non-ionizing radiation refers to any type of electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy per quantum to remove an electron from an atom or molecule. - wikipedia.

Okay.
That still doesn't mean they are safe. Who knows how the EM waves might disrupt internal cellular processes, like the duplication of DNA during cellular cloning. It is when that process goes wrong that cancer happens.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339401)

In fact, low grade EM radiation with a constant rate of delivery is used to treat cancers in lieu of chemotherapy now. Definitely has some effect on cell division.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339521)

Do you have a link or any evidence for this claim?

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40360087)

I could probably dig it up if I weren't at work.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

lurker1997 (2005954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339439)

Most retarded logic ever. Who knows if we are safe from monsters that live ion the other side of the moon and could swoop out and freeze us with their ice breath at any second. You can make up anything you want, but without evidence, or even a known mechanism for it, you are just talking out of your ass.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339723)

No what's "retarded logic" is saying "non-ionizing radiation never causes any harm". You can't make such blanket statements, especially since we know non-ionizing radiation can cause measureable effects (like stimulating currents in a piece of metal called an antenna).

Re:What sort of radiation? (4, Insightful)

tomhuxley (951364) | more than 2 years ago | (#40341113)

And the moon has massive effects on the tides, yet somehow seems to avoid getting blamed for causing cancer. Likewise, music makes your ear drums vibrate, yet where is the commission looking into rock 'n' roll 'n' cancer?

The reason it would be "retarded" to think those cause cancer is because there is no mechanism by which they could cause cancer. Likewise, there is no mechanism by which non-ionizing radiation can cause cancer. It is orders of magnitude to weak to have any effect.

It's not a blanket statement, it is a reasonable position to hold in the absence of any evidence to the contrary.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40341815)

I do agree with your anti-blanket statement argument as the intensity makes a large difference(don't stand in front of a radar or bypass a microwave's safety feature), but DNA damage is directly related to how high the EM frequency is, and EM from cellphones is lower than visible light.

Re:What sort of radiation? (4, Interesting)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339767)

Agreed. In fact there's very promising research underway in the use of electric fields to kill cancer - since cancer cells divide far more often than most other cells an aggressive "kill field" can be applied to an area making cell division a fatal process, thus damaging the cancer far more severely than the surrounding tissue, without the unpleasant side effects of radiation or chemotherapy. Potential side effects of the electric fields are still unknown.
http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_doyle_treating_cancer_with_electric_fields.html [ted.com]

The point of course is that we know for a fact that at least some electric fields can cause severe cellular trauma, it stands to reason that there are much larger number of field characteristics that would result in less obvious damage. In the face of that just assuming that all electric fields are safe is foolish. It's also worth noting that the nature of the transmissions has changed - in '96 analogue transmission was the norm, these days almost everything has gone digital, and that makes a considerable difference in the physical properties of the signal - assuming it will continue to interfere with cellular processes in the exact same (probably mostly harmless) manner is unfounded.

More to the point - while *nothing* is completely safe, it just makes good sense to reexamine the regulations governing fast-changing fields on a regular basis, if only to make sure there are no new developments that cast doubt on the wisdom of existing policy. 90's era cell phones were probably reasonably safe - today we have far more mobile devices in operation, so the level of background radiation generated is considerably higher with different spectral properties. Is that a problem? Probably not, but I'd just as soon have the question asked officially from time to time.

Re:What sort of radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339405)

Wrong.

There are plenty of ways that non ionizing radiation can be harmful. For example, you probably don't want to stick your head inside of a microwave that is running for a few hours. Your tissue would get heated up quite a bit despite the fact that the radiation isn't ionizing.

In fact, ionizing radiation isn't the only mechanism that causes cancer. There are circumstances where nonionizing radiation does cause cancer (usually by some kind of tissue heating).

The main concern about cell phones, IIRC, is that nonionizing radiation can cause dielectric heating (heating just like in a microwave), which can be bad. This is far from proof that radiation from cell phones is dangerous, but it does give a plausible mechanism for bad things. A fair number of prominent neurological doctors don't let their kids use cell phones because they have some concern about them.

I'm not saying that cell phones are dangerous. That evidence isn't there yet. BUT to dismiss the concerns immediately because the radiation isn't ionizing is ignorant (non ionizing radiation CAN cause cancer in some cases - go look up the medical literature), and some legitimate doctors are concerned about this.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339409)

Non-ionizing radiation is not necessarily "completely" harmless. After all, microwaves are non-ionizing, but I wouldn't want to stick my head in one. That also doesn't mean cell phones are dangerous, just that it isn't so simple as ionizing=harmful, non-ionizing=non-harmful.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Achra (846023) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339695)

Microwave ovens are non-ionizing radiation.. but it is a LOT of non-ionizing radiation and it is delivered inside of a resonant chamber. Microwave ovens also operate at roughly 2.4ghz. The higher the frequency, the more dangerous it is to people.. or so my FCC antenna exposure guidelines would have me believe. The bottom line is that cell phones have very low power output. Between 500mw and 1w, I believe. At that power and at cellular phone frequencies, there are no current studies to indicate that there is any harm being caused. Also, although there is not any positive data to indicate that cell phones cause problems, there is a lot of "negative" data that shows that RF doesn't seem to have much in the way of harmful effects. People have been working in radio stations in this country for almost 100 years and those stations often operate in the kilowatt and even megawatt range. There's been no studies that show that working in a radio station is certain death, I doubt there will be any studies to indicate that a cellphone is a _bad thing_.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339847)

There have been no conclusive studies, certainly, and studies haven't shown any connection to cancer (not surprising, since cancer is linked with ionizing, not non-ionizing, radiation), but there have been studies that indicate it is possible, if unlikely, even at the few watts a cell phone operates at, for it to cause damage (see Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ). I would certainly say the danger from them is negligible, given the health risks most people are exposed to, but that doesn't mean they are totally absent. Also, since radiation dissipates according to the square of the distance, being 10mm from a 1 watt transmitter (about where a cell phone in use is located) is like being 10 meters from a 1 megawatt transmitter (assuming I did my math right: a mistake would not surprise me). Obviously an oversimplification, but you get my point: despite the low power, the cell phone is also extremely close.

To anyone who is worried: don't. Cell phones intentionally limit their power to save battery life, so they are very unlikely to ever cause damage even without FCC regulations. But that doesn't mean the possibility of harm can be ignored entirely.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Misagon (1135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339415)

Does that mean that you don't believe that microwave ovens are able to heat food?

Re:What sort of radiation? (2)

Shagg (99693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339587)

Does that mean that you believe you can cook your dinner with a cell phone?

Re:What sort of radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40347867)

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

rhysweatherley (193588) | more than 2 years ago | (#40340311)

Even if we were to assume that cell phones put out sufficient radiation to heat up the water molecules in the brain enough to be noticeable, it still pales into insignificance compared to the heating your brain receives when you have a hot shower and wash your hair. Or walk around without a hat on a summers day. If low-level heat from everyday sources caused cancer then the human race would have gone extinct in 50,000BCE when we invented fire.

Re:What sort of radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339567)

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless. No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.
To a point, yes. Cell phones emit microwave radiation in small amounts. Microwaves can cause significant heating in large amounts, and microwave heating is known to cause cataracts. There's never been any link of cell phones to cataracts at their current power levels. A cell phone puts out power on the order of 1 watt. If that were 10 or 20 watts, would that be enough to cause cataracts?

Couldn't tell you, but I think the point is that even non-ionizing radiation is something to be concerned about if the exposure amount is high enough.

Re:What sort of radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339711)

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless. No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.

Looking into a waveguide antenna (actually, any high gain antenna) can make you blind. I wouldn't call that harmless.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339843)

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless.

So, you'd happily climb into an industrial microwave and turn it on. Right?

Re:What sort of radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40340275)

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless. No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.

Then explain why there's a standard sign for non-ionizing radiation hazard [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40340457)

Microwaves are non-ionizing radiation. Please, by all means, operate your microwave with the door open and interlock disabled, so you can see better when the food is cooked.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40340467)

Near-ultraviolet rays are non-ionizing radiation. Must be safe. Hmm, I guess we were wrong to worry about the hole in the ozone layer!

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#40340549)

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless. No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.

RF burns are a very serious matter. People very much worry about non-ionizing radiation strong enough to cause those.

Fortunately, cellphones don't emit that much :-)

Re:What sort of radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40341753)

Simple elaboration. Radio Waves = Sun = Sun Burn. You could get a tumor from phones but you would be getting burns first.

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 2 years ago | (#40342101)

No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.

That's not entirely true, but for the discussion of cell phones it is. However, you probably don't want to spend a whole lot of time close to the antenna hooked to a 1000W transmitter (or even 100W, depending on frequency). It's non-ionizing, won't give you cancer, but it could heat you up a fair bit.

On the other hand, my handheld amateur radio with the antenna right on top puts out 5W, which is a good bit more than a cell phone. I've not ever read any warnings against putting it close to any part of my body when transmitting. Why would anyone worry about an itty bitty cell phone transmitter?

Re:What sort of radiation? (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 2 years ago | (#40343393)

If non-ionizing, it's completely harmless. No sane person worrys about non-ionizing radiation.

non-ionizing isn't harmless. It just, based on the laws of physics, cannot cause cancer.

If the non-ionizing radiation (from a microwave or a huge radio [station] antenna) is high enough, it would never cause cancer. What it would do is heat up human tissue to uncomfortable levels, possibly killing cells (but never causing them to mutate).

It's why non-ionizing radiation can be used to "treat" cancer. It doesn't interfere will cell duplication, not exactly, it kills the cancer cells dead and all surrounding cells in the target area. Dead cells can't duplicate. RF cancer therapy is far easier to target a very specific area of tissue than chemotherapy or ionizing radiation therapy. Then again, the latter two destroy the immune system for a while.

Non-ionizing radiation (2)

sandysnowbeard (1297619) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339205)

Cell phones use non-ionizing radiation. I'm all for some studies to double-check our assumptions, but hypothetically isn't that the end of the story?

Re:Non-ionizing radiation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339301)

Microwave ovens also use non-ionizing radiation, yet you wouldn't stick your head in one, so it's not the end of the story. It's all about power, proximity and most importantly possible long term effects.

Re:Non-ionizing radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339359)

Fire is also non-ionizing radiation but I wouldn't stick my head in that either.

The point is cell phones and radio broadcast in general still seems like a mystical force to the layperson so they fear it irrationally.

Re:Non-ionizing radiation (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339463)

I will stand in front of it though. The power levels between a microwave and cell phone are quite different.

Re:Non-ionizing radiation (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339515)

I will stand in front of it though. The power levels between a microwave and cell phone are quite different.

But if you come up with a way to microwave a bag of popcorn using a rechargeable 2oz lithium-ion battery - it could be a goldmine.

Re:Non-ionizing radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40345613)

imho its really all about understanding or not understanding elementary physics, i bet you a dime nobody who advocates "cell phones might cause cancer" could even tell you in detail how ionizing radiation causes cancer and how your microwave oven heats the burger, simply beacause the drooled through their school years and have no idea what electromagnetic radiation even is.
"from ignorance cometh fear"

Re:Non-ionizing radiation (1)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40340473)

Near-ultraviolet is non-ionizing. Guess it must be safe, according to you. Seems stupid then that we were worried about that hole in the ozone layer, what were we thinking?

Finally (4, Insightful)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339207)

Hopefully they will get rid of these BULLSHIT regulations. Handheld two way radios can put out up to SEVEN yes SEVEN watts and the FCC doesn't have any problems with those. I don't need a seven watt transmitter, but damnit allow them use use efficient antennas in cell phones. If a cop can use a five watt transmitter, why can't everybody else?

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339349)

Don't worry, be happy.

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339531)

You are forgetting that cell phones are full duplex, when on a call they are constantly transmitting whereas a two way radio is only transmitting while the PTT button is pushed.

Re:Finally (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339589)

You are forgetting that 7 watts is many times the power that a cell phone puts out.

Re:Finally (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339729)

What do you mean 'efficient'? It's not like they use low gain or lossy antennas on phones to prevent them from radiating too much power.

Patch antennas are used for low cost and to save space compared to the dipoles you would see on old phones. Mobile phone antennas are going to be fairly omni-directional out of necessity (because you can't expect users to correctly orient a directional antenna relative to a base station), which means they're not going to have high gain.

Re:Finally (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339841)

Hopefully they will get rid of these BULLSHIT regulations. Handheld two way radios can put out up to SEVEN yes SEVEN watts and the FCC doesn't have any problems with those. I don't need a seven watt transmitter, but damnit allow them use use efficient antennas in cell phones. If a cop can use a five watt transmitter, why can't everybody else?

Because said transmitter operates on VHF and low UHF frequencies well under 1GHz? The lowest a cellphone goes is 800MHz right now - nominal is 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100MHz, the microwave band. Incidentally, your microwave oven works around 2.4GHz.

Plus, there usually aren't a ton of 7 watt transmitters hanging around and they're usually operated "handsfree" with a remote speaker/mic (i.e., the handheld is on the waist). Contrast this to a cellphone where it seems everyone is yammering away or using theirs.

Next, the cycle time for handheld radios is far lower than a cellphone - it's a half-duplex link rather than a full duplex one.

Re:Finally (1)

yabos (719499) | more than 2 years ago | (#40359139)

My aviation handheld radio has a 5W max output. There's actually a warning in the manual saying don't use it for prolonged periods in close proximity to your head.

...Supports capped, tiered pricing model... (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339333)

Chairman Genachowski believes that radiation, like data, should be looked at every couple years "to provide a better customer experience".

Genachowski said that

"usage-based pricing could be healthy and beneficial" for radiation providers. "There was a point of view a couple years ago that there was only one permissible pricing model for radiation," he said. "I didn't agree."

It makes sense that people who are exposed to more radiation should pay more to support the development and studies on radiation. Once we determine the correct amount of radiation that everyone can receive, then providers can work out plans that allow the consumer to share the radiation cap amongst all their devices.

General consensus (2)

Shagg (99693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339337)

You're right, there isn't a consensus:

Sane people: There is no danger.
Insane people: OMG, my cell phone is frying my brain! Hold on... I need to answer this call.

Re:General consensus (2)

lurker1997 (2005954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339403)

"there is not yet a general consensus on whether there is a real danger from mobile device radiation"

This is utter bullshit. As you say, there is a consensus among all non-nutjobs. A debate about whether low levels of non-ionizing EM are dangerous belongs in the same category in debates about the easter bunny or ghosts or something. It is pathetic the way media pretends there is a controversy. Some idiot at some point said "I don't understand this and it has radiation in its name, which i think is bad because I'm too dumb to understand the difference between electromagnetism and nuclear radiation". There is not controversy, there is not even a question.

PS. Guidelines are important because of heating; this is the only thing past standards address and if future standards address anything else, it is equivalent to changing the building code to make kids bedrooms ghost proof.

Re:General consensus (2)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339913)

Actually there is some evidence that heavy cell phone use may increase the odds of developing some forms of in-skull tumors. Not conclusive, but it's not a completely clear-cut "it's all good" either. Just because something would be inconvenient if true doesn't make it false.

Also, while the "dangers" research typically focus on cell damage there's another potential problem that could be much harder to detect: every single person on the planet is operating an extremely sensitive and poorly-understood analogue electro-chemical computer, aka "nervous system". We know for a fact that it transmits extremely low-amplitude radio-spectrum signals as part of it's normal operation, and as any engineer can tell you there's no such thing as a "transmit only" antenna. To assume that such an extremely complicated system can operate in the presence of a much stronger radio signal without being effected is completely foolish.

Re:General consensus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40345479)

Sorry to burst your bubble, but "evidence" which is not conclusive... is simply not evidence. Come back later when you have something solid.

Re:General consensus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40345519)

nerveous system does not operate on radio frequencies, chemical reactions are nowhere fast enough for that and nerve endings would make a very poor waveguides indeed.

"Actually there is some evidence that heavy cell phone use may increase the odds of developing some forms of in-skull tumors"

flawed logic, what some studies show is that there is slight correlation between some cancer forms and heavy cell phone usage, that does not indicate causation, maybe some cancer forms simply make people talkative? maybe drinking a lot makes people talkative and causes them to make many drunk calls? might be hundred different reasons behind such slight statistical correlations.

there simply is no cause and effect mechanism between cancer and cell phone radioation.
for ionizing radiation cause and effect mechanism is simple and clear, ionizing radiation knoks electrons off atom orbits(thus its name, its energetic enough to ionize atoms) and so breaks chemical bonds in molecules - including dna, and cells with flawed dna sometimes start multipling uncontrollably - a state where organism has cancer.
some toxins cause cancer similarly, uv radiation from sun is ionizing and sometimes a random flaw just happens during cell divisions and cancer happens naturally.

but there is no known mechanism that cell phone radiation could affect dna, non ionizing radiation simply does not affect chemical reactions. only real affect it has is inducing currents and magnetic fields in electric conductors(frequencies are way too high and amplitudes way too small to affect nerveous systems) and via that inducing resistive heating in objects(eg burger in your microwave), but the heating effect of your cellphone is many orders of magnitudes lesser than your body heat generation or even for example someone shining a flashlight in your face.

so in my proffesional opinion, "cell phones considered harmful" campain is just plain ignorance and hysteria caused by people not paying attention at school when electromagnetic fenomen was explained

Re:General consensus (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40441101)

Actually there is some evidence that heavy cell phone use may increase the odds of developing some forms of in-skull tumors

Nonsense. Where is this "evidence"?

FCC doing what it does best... (1)

PenquinCoder (1431871) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339421)

Absolutely nothing worthwhile. They should actually look into the rampant corruption and outrageous pricing model of the cellphone carriers instead of worrying about a few alpha particles.

Non-Ionising radition maybe interfering with cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40339487)

I read an article that proposed a new communication method between neurons, see here:
http://deepthought.newsvine.com/_news/2012/05/31/11924142-can-a-satellite-read-your-thoughts-plasma-antennas-and-the-binding-problem

Its update here:
http://deepthought.newsvine.com/_news/2012/06/11/12153461-can-a-satellite-read-your-thoughts-interim-investigation-summary

If correct, then non-ionizing fields at very low strength could be interfering with cell communication in the body. This could be source of cancer.

Different standards for different frequency bands (0)

Misagon (1135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40339611)

You can't just say that all cell phone radiation is harmless or not. The situation is not that simple.
Different generations of cell phones emit radiation in different frequency bands, and human cells could react differently to radiation in each band.

What the scientific community does know is that 800 MHz radiation cause stress on brain cells. With long-term exposure, this radiation break down the blood-brain barrier, killing brain cells.
However, most cell phones these days use other frequency bands, in the gigahertz range, and there has not been much work looking at the health effects of them. They could affect human cells in completely different ways, or not at all.

Therefore, new radiation standards for mobile phones need to be set individually for each frequency band.
But more importantly, there needs to be more research!

Re:Different standards for different frequency ban (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40345575)

its not really a question of different frequencies, its all the same electromagnetic band, it just happens that as frequencies increase photon energies also increase, until at point at UV part of spectrum photons get energetic enough to actually ionizise and atom(and there is no gradient there, there is very clear amount of energy needed to lift electron one band up, there is no half ionizing). what you are suggesting is pretty much as good as someone suggesting, okey we proved that red light does not cause cancer, but maybe green does...

what we need is not more research but simply more people like you bothering to learn elementary physics at school

Re:Different standards for different frequency ban (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#40360487)

Untrue. Frequency matters a great deal. Take a look at page 3 of this guide from the FCC [fcc.gov] - the max power an amateur station can run without having to perform an evaluation bottoms out between 10m and the VHF band (that's 10m to 2m or 28-144 MHz for amateurs in the US).

This is the Q and A document [fcc.gov] . Page 7 describes Specific Absorption Rate, which is the frequency-dependent rate at which energy is absorbed by tissue.

From OET 65: [fcc.gov]
As indicated by Table 1
in Appendix A, the most restrictive limits occur in the frequency range of 30-300 MHz where
whole-body absorption of RF energy by human beings is most efficient. At other frequencies
whole-body absorption is less efficient, and, consequently, the MPE limits are less restrictive.

You realize, of course, that stepping out into bright sunlight exposes you to 100-120 times the extrapolated maximum RF exposure level of 1mW/cm^2? [Page 15 of the second doc - extrapolating the established constant limit of 1mW/cm^2 that's defined from 1500 to 100,000 MHz out to light].

GSM Interference - da-dit-da-dit-da-dit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40340209)

GSM - da-dit-da-dit-da-dit should never been allow.

A few examples:

At work we use GSM blackberry devices.
For personal, I use a CDMA device.

When I'm talking on the CDMA device and an email, SMS, or call comes into the GSM device, my CDMA call drops. EVERY TIME. da-dit-da-dit-da-dit

At work, we sit on conference calls with people all around the world. Any GSM device within 12 ft (I've measured), will interfere with POTS telephone lines. da-dit-da-dit-da-dit you've heard this on your phone calls, right? That is GSM interference.

GSM devices interfere with radios. You can hear the da-dit-da-dit-da-dit over the speakers.

GSM devices interfere with many portable electronics like MP3 players - I hear the GSM da-dit-da-dit-da-dit on my Creative MP3 player.

I've never been kicked off a GSM call from the CDMA phone ringing. NEVER.

GSM devices should never have been allowed on US airways without much better radiation controls and filtering to ensure they aren't on the wrong frequencies. I'm not against GSM, just the interference it causes with other, common devices.

This isn't limited to just 1 type of GSM device either. I've had multiple blackberries, Android phones, motorola, Samsung --- all GSM devices appear to interfere.

Re:GSM Interference - da-dit-da-dit-da-dit (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#40341861)

CDMA runs as floor noise, which means it has a very very low power output. I can't say I've ever had my CDMA drop except when no bars and I hold the phone wrong.

complete BS, says Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40340259)

The summary is complete and utter bullshit. There has been consensus for about 100 years on this: the photons emitted by cell phones are way too low in energy to do damage to molecules. Some guy named Einstein got a Noble Prize for that. For a brief explanation see http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/press.html .

Re:complete BS, says Einstein (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#40349415)

> the photons emitted by cell phones are way too low in energy to do damage to molecules.
> Some guy named Einstein got a Noble Prize for that. For a brief explanation see
> http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1921/press.html [nobelprize.org] .

Quoting:
"Our present exposure to man-made microwaves is about a m10^18 times greater than our nature exposure to these frequencies

"The main reaction why microwaves are especially damaging is probably because of the ease with which the current that they generate penetrate cell membranes. Cell membranes have a high resistance to DC, but, because they are so thin (about 10 nm), they behave like capacitors so that AC pass through them easily. Since the effective resistance of a capacitor is inversely proportional to its frequency, [currents induced by] microwave radiation pass through the membranes of cells and tissues more easily, than [currents induced by] lower frequency radio waves, and therefore they can do more damage to the cell contents.

"Since it has been known since the work of Bawin et al (1975) that weak electromagnetic fields could remove calcium ions from the surfaces of brain cells, it seems likely that both the conditioned water and the eletromagmentic fields were working in the same way, i.e., by removing structurally important calcium ions from cell membranes, which then made them leak.

"EM effects on the Endocrine System and Obesity ... after three months exposure to power-line frequencies, the thyroid glands of rats showed visible signs of deterioration.

[ More at http://tinyurl.com/2nfujj [tinyurl.com] ]

Andrew Goldsworthy BSc, PhD
"Andrew Goldsworthy is an Honorary Lecturer in Biology at Imperial College London. He retired from full time teaching in 2004 but still gives occasional lectures there in specialist subjects such as food irradiation and the (exorbitant) energy cost of modern food production.

[http://www.radiationresearch.org/pdfs/cv/andrew_goldsworthy.pdf]

Do vaccines still cause autism? (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40343437)

Let's revisit that. In fact let's investigate this whole witchcraft thing. I don't think that's been settled yet.

Oh radiation (1)

kaws (2589929) | more than 2 years ago | (#40345047)

I find it ironic the amount of fear that there is against any sort of radiation. Remembering from my science class, radiation is basically any form of energy that doesn't need a medium to travel through. In other words, any form of energy that can travel through outer space can be considered radiation. There's only a very small spectrum of energy that can be considered "radiation" in how it's usually portrayed.

Acute Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40345523)

What passes for "journalism": [northshoreoutlook.com]

(an) estimated three per cent of Canadians who appear to suffer from acute electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, a crippling condition characterized by the onset of painful and debilitating symptoms in the presence or perceived presence of cellular, Wi-Fi and radio frequency radiation.

Versus what science tells us: [plos.org]

Earlier today, the British Medical Journal published an update on a study of more than 350,000 people that investigated whether there’s a link between cellphones and cancer. The conclusion? In this update of a large nationwide cohort study of mobile phone use, there were no increased risks of tumours of the central nervous system, providing little evidence for a causal association.

Call me old fashioned, but ten year study of 350,000 people trumps someone who imagines headaches from the WIFI at Starbucks.

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