Mixed Messages In Cell Phone Radiation Issue


The new law, which passed by a vote of 10 to 1, will be enforced starting in February 2011 and will require device makers to reveal information about the “specific absorption rate" (SAR) in their products. SAR is the barometer for the amount of radiation people absorb from using mobile devices, and the maximum SAR for any cell phone sold in the country is 1.6 watts per kilogram.

Currently, cell phone owners can find the SAR details of their handset on the Federal Communications Commission Website. San Francisco would be the first city to enact such a law, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

There have been constant warnings from cell phone makers, scientific studies and media outlets in recent years connecting cell phone use with an increased risk for cancer, especially in the brain. Heavy cell phone use has also been linked to benign and malignant tumors of the salivary gland.

More recently, however, this correlation has been downplayed. An Interphone study released last month found no increased risk for common types of brain cancer.

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Additionally, as the FCC states on its Website, "there is no scientific evidence to date that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer or a variety of other health effects," although studies are still ongoing.

Al Hilwa, program director for Applications Development Software at research firm IDC, says without solid evidence that links cell phone use to cancer, organizations shouldn't make these kinds of claims.

“In this case, my concern is that the science of countless studies is very weak, so I am not sure it is worth the trade-off of scaring people unnecessarily,” Hilwa said.