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RF Radiation Policy US vs Global

Goals

Provide insight into the differences between the US and the rest of the world when it comes to accepting the results of RF radiation studies, and acting on those studies to make associated policy and health recommendations.

Early Findings

It was found that the US lags considerably behind other countries in regulating RF radiation levels, due to the US reliance on a different set of recommendations than other countries and accusations of the FCC being influenced by the Wireless Telecommunications industry.

United States

  • The United States maintains that they base their recommendations on RF radiation levels on "standards developed by expert non-government organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP)."
  • The US FCC directly addresses the public concern about research that potentially shows RF radiation as cancer-causing, however, they dismiss these concerns, stating that they are the result of incorrect interpretation of the studies by "interest groups."
  • Therefore, the FCC maintains that "currently no scientific evidence establishes a causal link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses" They call for more long-term studies to be done before different standards would be considered, but assure readers that they "closely monitor" all new study results.
  • Additionally, the FCC provides "optional" measures for concerned consumers to take, if they wish.
  • The only potential risk that the FCC acknowledges is that wireless devices may interfere with cardiac pacemakers if used "within eight inches of the pacemaker."
  • Some researchers have called into question the FCC's neutrality on the issue, most notably Norm Alster of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
  • Alster asserts that the FCC is a "captured agency", at the whim of the lobbyists it supposedly regulates. This is due to the size and monetary power of the wireless industry, as well as the revolving door between Washington, the FCC and industry bodies.

Global

  • 32 countries have issued "policies and health recommendations concerning exposure to RFR."
  • France has some of the most strict policies to limit RF radiation, including removing Wi-Fi from preschools, limiting Wi-Fi in elementary schools, banning cell phones in schools for students under 16, and recalling some cells phones with high radiation emittance.
  • Most European countries utilize standards set by the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), which differ from the US followed recommendations as noted above, however, there have been concerns that even the European guidelines are too old to be utilized.
  • The International EMF Scientist Appeal, which included the signatures of 244 scientists from 41 countries that have published research on the topic of RF radiation, have called upon the WHO and the UN to reduce limits, based on more recent studies.
  • Russian and East European countries rely on their own research into RF radiation, which differs from Western research in that it relies on less quantifiable results and more general concepts that are generally understood in those countries. Using their own research, Russia and other Eastern European countries have opted for more strict standards around RF radiation than the US, and even than some EU countries.

Harmonizing

  • Calls have been made to develop a set of global standards for RF radiation, however, researchers note that doing this would involve more than simply agreeing upon scientific results. It would take understanding different medical traditions and different standards of proof.
  • Experts suggest that more strict regulations may come only from political and economic pressures, and not from the results of scientific research.

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