Group Raises New Cell Phone Radiation Concerns

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October 17th, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — A new report raises concerns about cell phone radiation exposure. It says federal tests to determine exposure to cell phone radiation use models with heads larger than the average person’s or child’s.

The report from Environmental Health Trust says the mannequin skull used to test for cell phone radiation is the size of a 6-foot-2, 220-pound man. Researchers say only 3 percent of people have that size of a skull or larger.

Dr. Devra Davis, one of the report’s authors, said, “Ninety-seven percent of Americans have heads smaller than the one that is used to set standards for cell phone safety.”

Researchers say the Federal Communications Commission determines “maximum allowed exposures” and the agency uses the size of a large man to determine that. As a result, there are special concerns about children.

Scientists say children’s heads are exposed to double the cell phone radiation than adults and 10 times the radiation to their bone marrow.
“We believe that there’s enough evidence we ought to move ahead to take precautionary actions,” Davis said. “That belief is what has guided France and Israel and Finland and a number of other nations today to issue precautionary advice.”

The group is calling for new federal standards for testing. It wants a testing model that’s more in line with several of those European countries — something that takes into account the average size of most people’s heads.

The FCC website explains that testing uses “standardized models of the human head and body that are filled with liquids. They simulate the RF absorption characteristics of different human tissues.” Read more about that here.
According to ABC News, the U.S. government has had no specific comment on the report. The FCC and independent scientists have said in the past there’s no conclusive evidence that cell phone radiation is tied to cancer.

Good Morning America Chief Health and Medical Editor, Dr. Richard Besser, says the measurements for government testing are a separate issue from whether the radiation involved is dangerous.
“When you hear the word ‘radiation’ it’s scary,” he said. “But one thing to realize is there are different kinds of radiation.”
“The radiation from X-rays is something called ionizing radiation. That’s clearly shown to increase your risk of cancer,” he continued. “What you get from cell phones is the same radiation you get from microwave ovens. That’s called non-ionizing radiation and it produces heat. There’s no good evidence that that radiation causes cancer.”

He says although there is no proven link between cell phone radiation and cancer, if people don’t want to take any chances they can do the following:
• Limit the number of minutes you or your children are talking on a cell phone
• Use a hands-free device or speaker phone
• Text instead of talk

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