Doctors' Rx for FCC: Tougher RF Standards

Over 400 medical professionals have told the FCC it was wrong not to update its RF human exposure guidelines to keep up with the science. 

The letter was signed by doctors, both medical and PHDs, nurses and others, but no medical associations and submitted as comment on a recent FCC decision. 

The FCC last December decided not to change its RF emission exposure limits or how it evaluates those limits for mobile device use, resolving a 2013 order and notice of inquiry into the issue.  

Saying it "takes to heart" the FDA's findings that "t]he weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems," the commission voted unanimously--with commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel concurring, which is short of a full-throated "aye," to retain the current limits, but to adjust the rules" to ensure the health and safety of workers and consumers of wireless technology, while also clarifying and streamlining rules to reduce regulatory burdens on licensees."  

But in the letter to the FCC, dated June 17, the medical professionals said the FCC "completely ignores the documented adverse health effects that can occur at the FCC’s current radiofrequency (RF) exposure limits, much less those that may occur at the expanded range of frequencies contemplated in the proposed rule."

They said averaging the exposure over time is convenient for manufacturers but not the way people experience exposures. "To our knowledge, there is no scientific basis for the claim that periodic, high-level exposures are not harmful."  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.