Some Key Things To Know
We can take comfort in knowing that all cell phones sold in the United States are required to meet government regulations that limit their radio frequency fields to levels the government has determined to be safe see (FCC’s 4th Q&A).
Cell Phones Use Radio Frequency Waves
Cell phones are small two-way radios that that work by using low level radio frequency waves to transmit and receive the sounds of our voices. Radio frequency (RF) energy is another name for radio waves. Therefore, they have low levels of radio frequency fields around them.
Other technologies that use radio frequency waves are portable radios, cordless phones, radio and TV broadcasting, and WiFi and Bluetooth devices.
A wide array of national and international health organizations and government agencies have assessed the health research and have independently reached the same basic conclusion:
- “To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use.” — World Health Organization
- "There is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects ..." — Federal Communications Commission
- "[T]he weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems.” — Food and Drug Administration
- "Individual national and multinational results published thus far do not indicate an elevation of the risk of cancers in the head with cell phones within 10 years of first use." — International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection
- "...to date there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radiofrequency energy can cause cancer." — National Cancer Institute
For links to more resources, please visit our Resources section.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Imposes Nationwide Safety Standards for Both Cell Phones and Base Station Towers
The FCC’s safety standards were derived from the recommendations of two expert organizations, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Those recommendations were developed by leading experts after extensive review of the scientific studies. http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html#Q9
The FCC's safety standards include a 50-fold safety factor.
The FCC consulted with and obtained support for the safety standards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html#Q9.
The FCC has pointed out that its safety standards represent the “best scientific thought and are sufficient to protect the public health.” See In re Guidelines for Evaluating the Environmental Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation, Release No. 96-326, 11 F.C.C.R. 15123, 15184 ¶ 168 (1996).
The FCC describes its safety limits for cell phones on its website:
“The FCC's exposure guidelines specify limits for human exposure to RF emissions from hand-held mobile phones in terms of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of the rate of absorption of RF energy by the body.
The safe limit for a mobile phone user is an SAR of 1.6 watts per kg (1.6 W/kg), averaged over one gram of tissue, and compliance with this limit must be demonstrated before FCC approval is granted for marketing of a phone in the United States.” http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html#Q10
The FCC points out that the limits in Europe and most other countries are “somewhat less restrictive” than the FCC’s limits. http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html#Q10
The FCC also established safety standards for wireless base stations towers and antennas. As the FCC points out on its website:
“Measurements made near typical cellular and PCS installations, especially those with tower-mounted antennas, have shown that ground-level power densities are thousands of times less than the FCC's limits for safe exposure. This makes it extremely unlikely that a member of the general public could be exposed to RF levels in excess of FCC guidelines due solely to cellular or PCS base station antennas located on towers or monopoles.
When cellular and PCS antennas are mounted at rooftop locations it is possible that a person could encounter RF levels greater than those typically encountered on the ground. However, once again, exposures approaching or exceeding the safety guidelines are only likely to be encountered very close to and directly in front of the antennas.” http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/rf-faqs.html#Q16