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Do Cell Phone Emissions Pose a Health Risk?

The Food and Drug Administration continues to report that based on the “current scientific evidence” cell phones are considered safe for use. However, at the same time the FDA implies the need for further studies, leaving some consumers still pondering the health risks. When the sources you seek seem shaky, to whom do you turn for the truth?

Use Your Critical Eye

The truth on radio frequency emissions and cell phones is that until extensive studies and long-term health effects can be measured, consumers are on their own. This means you must become a critical thinker, a self-proclaimed researcher able to weigh the value of each source. This issue is deeply divided and there exist extremists on either end of the debate.

FCC and FDA Policies

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Drug Administration make interesting bedfellows when it comes to policies on wireless cell phone radio frequencies. The joint site, Consumer Information on Wireless Phones, attempts to distill both agencies’ policies on radio frequency dangers as well as offer basic information on a wide range of topical information.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is entrusted with the heady task of keeping American workplaces safe and employees educated. Part of that responsibility includes assurances that employees have the information and safety protection they need when handling dangerous materials and work in a potentially dangerous environment. OSHA includes information on cell phone radio wave emissions in its publications and links generously to outside authorities on the topic.

Consumer Reports

For unbridled truth-isms from the most reputable leader in consumer information, check out Consumer Reports for their latest take on the health risks associated with cell phone use. CR gives a good overall plug to all the major players in the cell phone controversy, from the flimsy FCC policies to international research findings.

Get an International Perspective

The international scene is much more proactive on the RF topic. A lot of studies and research have come out of Europe. The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains a webpage with some significant information on cell phone electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The International EMF Project is WHO’s leading program that is designed to “assess the scientific evidence of possible health effects of EMF.”

What is Your Cell Phone’s SAR Number?

A number of different sources collate and publish an impressive array of SAR numbers, or Specific Absorption Rate data. There are two ways SAR is typically measured: the head and for the body. In the U.S. phones must come in under 1.6 watts per kilogram in SAR level to be acceptable for widespread use. The CNET Quick Guide to Cell Phone Radiation, offers users the chance to find their SAR number. The guide is laid out by manufacturer and then by model. Two enlightening lists include the “10 Highest-Radiation Cell Phones” and the “10 Lowest-Radiation Cell Phones.” These lists only cover phones manufactured in the U.S.

Don’t Let Others Prey On Your Fears

The Federal Trade Commission may also be a solid resource for consumers possibly researching related “safety” products. cell phone RF accessories such as shields are not tried and tested. A company that claimed to sell a protective cell phone shield was ordered to cease and desist. The FTC reported that the company’s claims were completely unsubstantiated.

The cell phone RF debate is played out in hundreds of leading periodicals and occasionally makes its way into current events. Pick and choose wisely the sources you consider reputable and remember that no one has yet to generate unadulterated evidence that supports RFs as benign or dangerous.

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