Consumer Reports is well known for its policies on editorial independence, since first being published in 1936 the organization has had no agenda other than the best interests of consumers.
An article in the August 2014 issue of Consumer Reports on Health has put the consumers attention on “How to cut your exposure to cell-phone radiation”. The well-known American magazine with approximately 7.3 million subscribers, accepts no advertising, and pays for all the products they test. This commitment has maintained a reputation that Consumer Reports supplies only independent and impartial information with only the best interest of consumers in mind.
So when this question is asked, “Is it true that cell phones emit dangerous levels of radiation?” – The non-bias answer that you can bank on as being unswayed by any conflict of interest or corporate influence is, Possibly!
The article explains how cell phones emit “non-ionizing” levels of electromagnetic radiation similar to what’s emitted from a microwave oven. This comparison may sound extreme, but it’s true that the only difference between cell phone radiation and microwave oven radiation that cooks food is out-put power. The frequencies of RF radiation involved between the two are almost identical.
Consumer Reports points out that some studies on cell phone radiation have suggested that cell-phone use alters brain function and may increase the risk of some cancers. Also mentioning that more studies are needed to determine the health effects of cell-phone use, and what constitutes a safe level of use.
4 Consumer Reports tips for how you can reduce cellphone radiation exposure:
- Limiting talk time
- Using a speakerphone or headset
- Holding the phone away from your ear; and
- Replacing some calls with text messaging or e-mail.
The 4 Cell Phone Safety Tips Offered By Consumer Reports isn’t Enough
An expert in this field, Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley agrees with Consumer Reports but insist their warning for readers doesn’t go far enough.
In response, Dr. Moskowitz sent the following to Consumer Reports:
“… Although I approve of CR’s recent post (7/12/2014), “How to cut your exposure to cell-phone radiation,” it does not go far enough. Based upon the research, I have generated a more extensive list of risk reduction tips. At the very least, I would recommend that CR forewarn its readers not to keep their cell phones near their genitals. We have substantial evidence that cell phone radiation damages sperm in males and some evidence of reproductive health effects (i.e., neurological disorders) in human offspring as well as mice for females exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy. We also have preliminary evidence of increased breast cancer risk for women who kept cell phones in their bras.”
Moskowitz points out that over the last 3 years, Consumer Reports (CR) has been quiet on the issue of cell phone radiation. CR failed to mention cell phone radiation health risks or the need to reduce RF exposure in their 2012, 2013, and 2014 annual cell phone issues.
“Hopefully, the new piece that CR posted on July 12 is a sign that CR has decided to once again warn its readers to take precaution to reduce their cell phone radiation exposure. Also, I hope CR will once again inform its readers about the latest scientific evidence. Moreover, CR should warn its readers that the research evidence for carcinogenicity that has been published since WHO declared cell phone radiation “possibly carcinogenic” in 2011 is now considerably stronger.” Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D stated on his blog www.saferemr.com
Between Jan, 2009 and Oct, 2011 Consumer Reports regularly informed readers on emerging news regarding the risk from cell phone radiation exposure. Often citing very concerning meta-analysis research on cell phone use and tumor risk first published in 2009.
Cell Phone Radiation – Consumer Reports News
Jul 12, 2014 –
…your exposure to cell-phone radiation Find Ratings Cell phones Q. Is it true that cell phones emit dangerous levels of radiation?
” Possibly … Some studies have suggested that cell-phone use alters brain function and may increase the risk of some cancers, although the overall evidence hasn’t found a clear link. More study is needed to determine the health effects of cell-phone use, and what constitutes a safe level of use.
GAO: Time to reassess limits on cell-phone radiation
Aug 9, 2012
“… Current limits may be based on out-of-date research, and its test requirements may underestimate the maximum exposure users experience when holding phones against the body, according to the GAO review, done at the request of members of Congress …
The agency has also not reassessed its testing procedures used to certify cell phones’ compliance with SAR limits to ensure that they measure the maximum exposure a user could experience …
Bottom line. “We agree with the recommendations and concerns raised by the GAO report,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “Consumers who want to take precautions should be aware of the ways to reduce their radiation exposure while using their mobile phones.” Here’s how: • Limit cell-phone use, particularly by kids. • Hold the phone away from your head and body, especially when a call is connecting.• Text or use a speakerphone or headset to reduce absorption in your head.:
Do current cell-phone radiation rates underestimate exposure?
Oct 19, 2011
“safe exposure” limits for low-level radiation absorbed from cell phones operating at their highest possible power level—known as…
“Bottom line: Despite the many questions this article raises about SAR values and whether they adequately protect cell phone users from the potential effects of cell phone radiation, the Food and Drug Administration, which shares regulatory responsibilities for cell phones with the FCC, maintains that the “weight of scientific evidence” has not linked cell phones with harm except through heating tissue.
However, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classified cell-phone radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” The IARC action is based on limited evidence and doesn’t convincingly link typical cell-phone use with cancer. But it does increase the need for further study, as well as better and more visible guidance to consumers on the issue. (We contacted the FCC for this article but did not hear back by the time of publication.) “
Details emerge on possible cell-phone radiation risk
Jun 23, 2011
Cancer, which last month classified low-level radiation from cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” provided more details yesterday…
“A group of scientists at the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which last month classified low-level radiation from cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” provided more details yesterday about how they arrived at their conclusions in a report published online in The Lancet Oncology.
Cell-phone radiation ‘possibly carcinogenic’
Jun 1, 2011
…for Research on Cancer yesterday classified low-level radiation from cell phones “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence linking…
“The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer yesterday classified low-level radiation from cell phones “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based on limited evidence linking cell-phone use with an increased risk of glioma, a type of brain cancer. While that’s certain to raise the level of discussion about the health effects of cell phones, government regulators remain reassuring about the potential risks …
In a statement released yesterday, John Walls, vice president of public affairs for CTIA The Wireless Association, said that the IARC classification “does not mean cell phones cause cancer.” …
Bottom line: The IARC action is based on limited evidence and doesn’t convincingly link typical cell-phone use with cancer. But it does increase the need for further study, as well as better and more visible guidance to consumers on the issue.
We will continue to monitor the research on cell-phone safety. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about radiation, you can minimize exposure by using a speakerphone or hands-free headset, holding the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reducing use, especially by children. Of course, you can also text.”
Study shows cell phone radiation can alter brain function
Feb 23, 2011
…a new wrinkle to a long-standing concern of cell phone users, the Journal…that low-level radiation from cell phones…
“…Although, as the FDA has stated, the “weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems,” consumers continue to be concerned. The city of San Francisco recently enacted an ordinance requiring that cell phones disclose the amount of radiation emitted, and Consumer Reports has called for a national research program and more guidance for cell phone users on potential risks.”
Cell phones alter brain function, but health effects still unknown
Feb 22, 2011
-Low-level radiation from cell phones can affect brain function during short-term use, according to a report in the Feb…
“Low-level radiation from cell phones can affect brain function during short-term use, according to a report in the Feb. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association…
Bottom line: We will continue to monitor the research on cell-phone safety. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about radiation, you can minimize exposure by using a speakerphone or hands-free headset, holding the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reducing use, especially by children.”
How risky is cell-phone radiation?
“The Food and Drug Administration says the “weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems,” including brain tumors from the low-level radiation that phones emit in normal use. Yet in the past year San Francisco lawmakers have enacted an ordinance requiring that cell phones disclose the amount of radiation emitted, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced plans to push for radiation warnings on all cell phones.
Phone manufacturers are required by federal law to package every cell phone with information about its specific absorption rate (SAR) values. The higher the SAR value, the more radiation the body absorbs. But there’s usually no explanation provided with those numbers, not even the fact that all phones sold have levels lower than what the FDA considers a concern …Consumers Union believes a number of measures would benefit consumers:
The U.S. needs a national research program on cell phones and health. Rep. Kucinich has called for such an effort as part of his cell-phone safety proposals.
The FDA and the FCC should step up their efforts to provide better and more visible guidance to consumers on the risks, if any, of cell-phone radiation.
The FCC should mandate that the SAR information included with phones be more consistent. The information that’s currently provided varies greatly in its format and detail, as the photographs below illustrate.
Bottom line We will continue to track the research. In the meantime, if you are concerned about radiation, minimize exposure by using a speaker phone or hands-free headset, holding the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reducing use, especially by children.”
New cell phone models fit changing lifestyles
Consumer Reports Magazine. Latest on Cell phones and services Overview…of cell-phone radiation continues. A recent…
“Research into the possible risks of cell-phone radiation continues. A recent article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, based on research involving about 38,000 people, found a slightly increased risk of head and neck cancer among longtime cell-phone users. But more evidence is needed to understand the link, if any, between phones and cancer. We’ll keep tracking the research. If you want to minimize exposure, use a speaker phone or hands-free headset, hold the phone away from the head and body (especially when a call is connecting), and reduce usage, especially by children.”
Gauging cell phones’ possible cancer risk
…on the way. Questions have been raised about whether cell phones might elevate cancer…non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. Most studies have…
“… Bottom line The Federal Communications Commission advises that if there is any risk, and at this point we do not know that there is, it is probably very small. Until more is known, people who want to minimize potential risks of radio waves from cell phones should use the speakerphone mode or a hands-free set while on calls and ask kids to do the same. They should also limit time spent on the phone and keep the antenna away from the head and body.”