FCC’s 23 Year-Old Cell Phone Radiation Test Allows Levels to Exceed “Safety” Limits

 

Current Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s 23 year-old testing guidelines allow manufacturers to test phones held up to 1 inch away from the testing device as a way to “cheat” to pass the radiation “safety” test. This means that when consumers carry or use their phone against their bodies (as in a shirt or pants pocket), they are getting more radiation than the federal exposure “safety” guidelines allow.

Phones must be tested with NO separation distance to simulate the radiation exposure received when phones are carried and used directly against the body as in shirt or pants pockets or tucked into waistbands or bras. However, cell phone manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, LG, etc. spend a lot of money lobbying the FCC to not require this as it would mandate more restrictive safety regulations on cell phone emissions.

On December 4th, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a formal proceeding stating, “Even though some parties claim that the RF exposure evaluation procedures for phones should require testing with a “zero” spacing – against the body – this is unnecessary.

The FCC’s justification for maintaining the “separation distance” in their 23 year-old, obsolete exposure testing procedures is quoted below:

“…Current evaluation procedures require consumer portable devices to be tested…at a separation distance of up to 2.5 centimeters (about one inch) from the body to represent phone use in other ways”.

Exactly what are the “other ways” of using a cell phone mentioned to justify manufacturers testing their phones up to 1 inch away from the body? Why would the FCC allow this separation distance at testing INSTEAD of requiring that phone manufacturers test them with no separation distance to more accurately simulate typical use directly against the body as in a pants or shirt pocket?

A technical FCC document that instructs manufacturers about RF exposure testing states,

This distance is determined by the handset manufacturer according to the typical body-worn accessories users may acquire at the time of equipment certification, but not more than 2.5 cm, to enable users to purchase aftermarket body-worn accessories with the required minimum separation….Devices that are designed to operate on the body of users…without requiring additional body-worn accessories must be tested for SAR compliance using a conservative minimum test separation distance ≤ 5 mm to support compliance.

And, the “body-worn accessories” that manufacturers claim their customers must use to keep the radiating phones at the “as-tested” distance from their bodies?…. From the FCC’s own document, “….belt clips and holsters for cellphones”.

Huh? How many consumers under the age of 60 still use belt clips and holsters to keep their cell phones up to an inch away from their bodies?!

None of the most popular cell phones sold in the U.S. today provide their users with these required “body-worn accessories” – nor do they warn their customers about the danger of carrying or using their phone directly against the body when RF exposure levels can exceed the federal “safety” guidelines (as reported in the Chicago Tribune August, 2019 article, “We tested popular cell phones for radio frequency radiation.”)

The FCC’s testing regulations must be changed to require that phones be tested held directly against the body with no separation as they are used when in pockets or tucked into waistbands and bras, rather than to continue allowing cell phones to be tested with a separation distance that simulates use in belt clips and holsters.

The FCC is failing in its regulatory duties to protect consumers and instead is setting policy to protect the cell phone manufacturers whose phones exceed the federal safety exposure guidelines by over 500% in some cases when tested as consumers are using them: directly against the body in shirt and pants pockets and tucked into waistbands and bras.

Cell phone health and safety advocates are calling on Congress to investigate these fraudulent actions by cell phone manufacturers as well as the failure of the FCC to provide the regulatory oversight required to protect public health.

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