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Pai to Hill: Smart Phone RF Limits Are Sufficient

FCC chair Ajit Pai has reassured Congress that the FCC knew what it was doing when it decided not to change its emissions standards for radiofrequency (RF) exposure.

"I am satisfied that the United States’ radiofrequency exposure limits for handheld devices are safe for consumers," Pai told Rep. Peter DeFazio in a letter earlier this month.

Related: GAO, FCC Agree Review of RF Radiation Testing of Mobile Devices Is Needed

The symbiotic and close relationship between humans and their smart phones has raised fears of long-term RF exposure, but in a draft circulated to the other commissioners, Pai has proposed maintaining the existing exposure limits while providing for more uniform guidelines and transparency.

Pai pointed out that the FCC decision came after six years of input and review and consultation with other expert agencies, including the FDA, whose director advised the FCC that “[the available scientific evidence to date does not support adverse health effects in humans due to exposures at or under the current limits” and that no changes to current standards were warranted.

Pai also pointed out to DeFazio that the U.S. standards were already among the world's toughest.

The item seeks input on establishing uniform guidelines for compliance with exposure limits "regardless of the service or technology, replacing the Commission’s current inconsistent patchwork of service-specific rules."

Devices that exceed those limits are another story. Following a Chicago Tribune investigationthat found such excesses, the FCC told the paper earlier this month it would be investigating.

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.