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Reps Call for GAO Cell Phone Safety Study

On the same day the wireless industry was making a pitch to Congress for more spectrum, Democratic congressmen Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) were calling on the GAO to do more research into the health impacts of mobile phone usage.

That came after a report from the World Health Organization that it was classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a possible carcinogen.

"The announcement by the World Health Organization makes clear that additional research is needed to fully understand the long-term impact of mobile phone use on the human body, particularly in children whose brains and nervous systems are still developing," said Markey in a statement.

"Based on previous assessments of the scientific evidence, the Federal Communications Commission has concluded that ‘[t]here's no scientific evidence that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer,'" said CTIA: The Wireless Association, in a statement.  "The Food and Drug Administration has also stated that ‘[t]he weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems.'"

The trio wants the GAO to begin "a thorough review of the status of existing research on the health risks of long-term mobile phone use, adequacy of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) safety standards for mobile phone radiation, and what actions are being taken to inform the public of potential risks."

In a report on cell phones in advance of the WHO report, CNN chief medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Dr.  Sanjay Gupta pointed out that the FCC guidelines for exposure to those radio frequencies are based on holding the phones a certain distance from the ear, as opposed to holding them right up against the ear, as many people do.