For Immediate Release

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EWG Public Affairs: 202-667-6982;

FCC to Finally Review Cell Phone Standards

WASHINGTON - After years of neglecting to update its science, and refusing to even consider updating its safety standards, the Federal Communications Commission has made an about-face in announcing a review of its current position on cell phone radiation safety standards. The Environmental Working Group has been calling for this basic step to ensure adequate public health protection since 2009.

The current safety standards for cell phone radiation were developed in 1996, based off of research from the 1980’s. New research has rendered those studies obsolete.

“The FCC has had a blindfold on for more than a decade, pretending that while cell phones were revolutionizing how we communicate, the agency didn't have to take a hard look at what this meant for their so-called safety standards,” Renee Sharp, director of Environmental Working Group’s California office and senior scientist said. “This review is long overdue and it is impossible to imagine how the FCC will be able to retain its current standards which allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the body as a whole, do not account for risks to children’s developing brains and smaller bodies, and consider only short-term cell phone use, not frequent calling patterns over decades.”

In May of last year, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified cell phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use.

The WHO joins other scientific research bodies in raising concerns about the radiation from the devices, which have also been linked to sperm damage and other health effects.

In addition to calling for updated standards, EWG has lobbied for greater transparency in cell phone radiation exposure to consumers, supported right-to-know initiatives and recommended simple steps cell phone users can take to decrease their individual exposure, such as using a headset and texting rather than talking.


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The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.

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