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Report urges new rules on cell phone exposure

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office is urging the Federal Communications Commission to take another look at old rules on cell phone exposure in light of new scientific studies on long term health risks, including cancer.

The report said that the old rules, which were established in 1996, “may not reflect the latest evidence on the thermal effects of radio-frequency energy exposure.”

A lawsuit brought by cell phone users alleging that radio-frequency (RF) radiation causes cancer was recently revived by the D.C. Circuit, which struck down some of the cell phone manufacturers’ preemption arguments. A hearing on a motion to compel in the case, Murray v. Motorola, is expected next month.

Last year, a working group of scientists commissioned by the World Health Organization found that the RF electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to human based on an increased risk of glioma, a malignant brain cancer, linked to wireless phone use.

The GAO report noted that the FCC regulates RF radiation emitted from mobile phones by relying on federal health and safety agencies, but has not formally asked the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency for their assessment since 1996.