Though a variety of studies over the years have failed to produce a consistent link between cell phones and radiation-induced health risks, questions over potential dangers have never really gone away.
Now the Federal Communications Commission will raise the question again, Bloomberg reports.
The FCC’s chairman, Julius Genachowski has requested that agency initiate a new study. An FCC spokesperson said that the chairman’s request constituted a simple review of current emissions guidelines and no new rules were being considered. The spokesperson added that the FCC was “confident” that the current guidelines were sufficient to protect consumers.
Existing FCC emissions rules date back to 1996. The FCC noted that mobile device use has changed markedly since those rules were created, particularly in regard to the rapid adoption and frequent use of smartphones.
Industry analysts said any emissions rules changes resulting from the study could have a dramatic effect of device makers, most of whom are based outside the U.S. – including South Korea’s Samsung and Finland’s Nokia (NYSE:NOK) – triggering potential trade issues. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) outsources its smartphone production to Asia.
Concerns have long been raised that prolonged exposure to radiation from cellular devices might cause cancer in human tissue. However, major studies from the National Institutes of Health have failed to find evidence of such a link.
In 1996, 44 million Americans used mobile phones. Today there are more than 332 million wireless device subscriptions in the U.S., according to wireless industry groups.