By B.N. Frank
Many of us are guilty of not reading manuals and safety guidelines for commonly used personal products such as cell phones, cordless landline phones, WiFi routers, and other personal wireless WiFi radiation-emitting products.
Because this technology doesn’t operate via magic, manufacturers are legally obligated to provide safety guidelines for them. Examples of guidelines and warnings were highlighted by CNN in 2011 when they announced that The World Health Organization had classified sources of cell phone and WiFi radiation as a Possible Carcinogen.
- Manufacturers of many popular cell phones already warn consumers to keep their device away from their body…
- The Apple iPhone 4 safety manual says…”When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 millimeters (5/8 inch) away from the body.
- BlackBerry Bold advises users to “keep the BlackBerry device at least 0.98 inch (25 millimeters) from your body when the BlackBerry device is transmitting.”
- The logic behind such recommendations is that the further the phone is from the body, the less radiation is absorbed.
- Finally, cell phones emit the most radiation when they are attempting to connect to cellular towers. A moving phone, or a phone in an area with a weak signal, has to work harder, giving of more radiation. So users can avoid using their cell phones in elevators, buildings and rural areas if they want to reduce their exposure, experts say.
Samsung warns users to keep the devices at least eight inches away from people, in compliance with FCC RF exposure guidelines.
Increasing concerns about radiation exposure from WiFi operating products and infrastructure (cell towers, digital and wireless utility “Smart” meters, etc.) have been reported by various media sources.
Sometimes these sources make mistakes and/or omit noteworthy information. For example, earlier this year, a Forbes contributor provided a list of smartphones that emit the most radiation. However, he was not correct when he stated that there was no conclusive scientific research on the impact of cell phone radiation. He also didn’t mention the WHO Possible Carcinogen classification in 2011 and that many experts feel it should be reclassified as a Carcinogen.
What makes little sense is that Fitbits and other activity trackers are made to be worn on the body despite the fact that they operate using WiFi radiation. Many users have complained of rashes and more and some Fitbits have already been recalled.
Of course, current federal “Safety” guidelines, laws, and standards make little sense anymore because they were written over 20 years ago long before these products were made and marketed to be used 24/7 by almost everyone from cradle to grave.
These outdated guidelines, laws, and standards are how The Telecom Industry continues to divide and confuse us about research, regulations, safety guidelines, testing, and harm from exposure to cell phone and WiFi technology. Many elected officials and government employees are in no hurry to correct this.
Current marketing campaigns, films, and TV shows also display these products being used in ways that violate safety standards.
EHTrust.org highlighted and detailed the many issues with these outdated safety standards. Here are excerpts:
Fact: There Are No Safety Standards
Currently there are no national or international “standards” for safe levels of the radiation emitted by wireless or microwave devices. Instead, the US government adopted “guidelines” developed by industry based on decades old research. Guidelines have a much lower certainty than a “standard” as proper long term safety testing was not done to ensure the public was protected from all possible harm.
In fact, no “safe” level has been scientifically determined for children or pregnant women. Therefore, the claim that a device “meets government standards” or that radiation levels are “FCC compliant” gives a false impression of safety.
The FCC guidelines rest on five fallacies (false assumptions) and therefore renders FCC guidelines obsolete. Compliance with “federal safety standards” does not assure your nor your family’s safety. In fact, our federal safety limits are in essence meaningless when it comes to our health.
Fallacy 1: The only adverse biological effect from exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is heating.
Fact: Heating is not the issue. Hundreds if not thousands of studies show adverse health effects from headaches and sperm damage to many types of cancer including brain cancer.
Fallacy 2: Only immediate (acute) adverse biological effects are important to consider; long-term (chronic) effects are not a concern.
Fact: The FCC’s exposure limits did not consider the health effects to people if they are exposed to hours and hours of this radiation over several years. Cancers can have long latency periods, and several significant research studies show links between long-term exposure and brain tumors..
Fallacy 3: Measuring radiation power levels by averaging over time allows us to understand the impact to our health. Peak radiation exposures are not necessary to measure to understand the potential impact from an exposure.
Fact: Peak millisecond radiation bursts impact our bodies at the cellular level. FCC’s exposure limits average the radiation exposures for 30 minutes, rather than consider the intense pulses that people are exposed to. Many scientists are concerned that it is the erratic nature of the wireless signal that can cause the harmful biological effects. If you report averages then those are numbers determined by calculation instead of reporting the actual peak levels. How much lower are the averages than the peaks? Averages can report numbers that appear to be far lower than peak levels.
Background: In the U.S., the FCC regulations (mostly for IEEE C95.1-1991) averaged exposure to the public over a 30 minute time period, and for workers a 6 minute time period. ICNIRP defines the averaged exposure to the public and to workers over a 6 minute time period.
Fallacy 4: Assessments of the unique vulnerability of children and the fetus is not necessary—only the radiation absorption into a large man is important.
Fact: FCC compliance testing utilizes a model of a 220 pound male head. Research repeatedly indicates that the radiation penetrates deeper into children’s smaller bodies and brains. The current FCC exposure limits did not consider the higher energy absorption in fetuses, children and women.
Fallacy 5: All body tissue uniformly absorbs radio frequency radiation. The ability of radiofrequency radiation to be absorbed differently into different body tissues and to have different biological effects due to the unique makeup of different body tissues and organs is not important to consider in understanding risks to public health.
Fact: The FCC’s exposure limits do not consider how this radiation is differentially absorbed by various body tissues.
Some other examples of how FCC exposure limits have not kept up with the times:
- FCC exposure limits are based on the assumption that wireless signals at a human body from a distance are from only one transmitter antenna.
- In the 21st century, we are not exposed to one Wi-Fi transmitter antenna. One typical school classroom might have dozens of radiation streams from dozens of transmitting antennas: 30 laptops, 30 cell phones, a wireless printer, a wireless security system, an overhead internet access point and a cell tower located in line of sight outside the window.
- FCC “standard operating positions” do not reflect the way we use our devices today.
- FCC regulations specify what are called consumer “standard operating positions”, such as that laptops are distanced at least 20 cm (8 inches) from the user. Placing a laptop on the lap is then in violation of this “standard operating position”. Devices are radiation tested at these distances, and when we violate these “standard operating positions” we can be exposed to radiation levels in excess of the FCC exposure limits.
If you haven’t yet read the safety guidelines for all the wireless-emitting sources in your life (including your vehicle’s GPS system), it may be something you want to do sooner rather than later.
For more information, contact the following websites:
- Center For Safer Wireless
- Center For Electrosmog Prevention
- Citizens for Safe Technology
- Clear Light Ventures
- Dr. Sam Milham
- Environmental Health Trust
- Generation Zapped
- In Power Movement
- National Association for Children and Safe Technology
- Parents for Safe Technology
- Scientists for Wired Tech
- We Are The Evidence