The Federal Communications Commission quietly eliminated a recommendation for cell phone users worried about the health impact of the devices to buy phones with lower levels of radiation emissions, the Washington Post reports. The recommendation had been in place for 10 years.
The change, which came last week, was not formally announced, and instead was made by revising a fact sheet on the FCC’s website. The agency now says that emissions are not a reliable measure of potential risk and that all FCC-approved cell phones meet safety standards.
Critics attacked the revision. “A secretive change like the one that was just made raises questions of collusions with industry and does not help make the change credible,” wrote wireless industry expert Michael Marcus on the website Public Knowledge.
The FCC’s altered guidelines come just as many jurisdictions are focusing on concerns about cell phone radiation emissions. FairWarning reported in June about a landmark San Francisco law to require cell phone retailers to indicate the quantity of radiation that each model emits. The law is supposed to take effect in February, though it is facing a legal challenge from the cell phone industry.
Scientists are at odds over the dangers that cell phones may pose. Some experts say that frequent cell phone users may place themselves at increased risk of brain cancer, but many organizations, such as the World Health Organization, argue that there is not enough evidence to support such claims.