By Jasmin Melvin
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. regulators should take a fresh look at 15-year-old standards on radiofrequency energy from mobile phones, an investigative arm of the U.S. Congress said on Tuesday amid lingering concerns the devices may cause brain tumors.
Before a mobile phone comes on the U.S. market, it is first tested to ensure its emissions are within a limit determined by the Federal Communications Commission to be safe for human exposure.
But that limit may not reflect the latest research, and testing may not reflect the actual conditions under which mobile phones are used, such as when stored directly against the body in a pocket while someone talks through an ear piece, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
The report concludes a year-long investigation prompted by Democratic Representatives Edward Markey, Henry Waxman and Anna Eshoo.
“While the GAO report indicates there is not evidence to suggest using a cell phone causes cancer, it’s important that safety standards are current and account for changing trends in cell phone use and technology,” Eshoo said.
The GAO recommended that the FCC conduct a formal reassessment of its emissions limit and testing requirements and change them if appropriate.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in June circulated a proposal to his fellow commissioners calling for a formal inquiry into the mobile phone emissions standards set in 1996.
If it is approved by a majority of the FCC’s five commissioners, the agency would consider changing its testing procedures and seek input on the need either to strengthen or ease the current standards. The proposal also considers whether emission standards should be different for devices used by children.
The FCC would solicit input from a variety of experts, including federal health agencies, and take the GAO’s report into consideration as part of its review, FCC spokesman Neil Grace said.
The agency has stressed that it believes there is no evidence tying cancer, headaches, dizziness, memory loss or other health problems to mobile phones.
NO CONSISTENT EVIDENCE OF LINK
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