Do wireless phone accessories that claim to shield the head from RF radiation work?
Since there are no known risks from exposure to RF emissions from wireless phones,
there is no reason to believe that accessories that claim to shield the head from those
emissions reduce risks. Some products that claim to shield the user from RF absorption
use special phone cases, while others involve nothing more than a metallic accessory
attached to the phone. Studies have shown that these products generally do not work as
advertised. Unlike ¡°hand-free¡± kits, these so-called ¡°shields¡± may interfere with proper
operation of the phone. The phone may be forced to boost its power to compensate,
leading to an increase in RF absorption. In February 2002, the Federal trade Commission
(FTC) charged two companies that sold devices that claimed to protect wireless phone
users from radiation with making false and unsubstantiated claims. According to FTC,
these defendants lacked a reasonable basis to substantiate their claim.
What about wireless phone interference with medical equipment?
Radio frequency energy (RF) from wireless phones can interact with some electronic
devices. For this reason, FDA helped develop a detailed test method to measure
electromagnetic interference (EMI) of implanted cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators
from wireless telephones. This test method is now part of a standard sponsored by the
Association for the Advancement of Medical instrumentation (AAMI). The final draft, a
joint effort by FDA, medical device manufacturers, and many other groups, was
completed in late 2000. This standard will allow manufacturers to ensure that cardiac
pacemakers and defibrillators are safe from wireless phone EMI. FDA has tested wireless
phones and helped develop a voluntary standard sponsored by the Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). This standard specifies test methods and performance
requirements for hearing aids and wireless phones so that no interference occurs when a
person uses a compatible phone and a compatible hearing aid at the same time. This
standard was approved by the IEEE in 2000.
FDA continues to monitor the use of wireless phones for possible interactions with other
medical devices. Should harmful interference be found to occur, FDA will conduct testing
to assess the interference and work to resolve the problem.
Additional information on the safety of RF exposures from various sources can be
obtained from the following organizations:
• FCC RF Safety Program : ttp://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/
• Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) : http://www.epa.gov/radiation/
• Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) :
• National institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) :
• World health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int/peh-emf/
• International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection: http://www.icnirp.de
• National Radiation Protection Board (UK): http://www.nrpb.org.uk
• Updated 4/3/2002: US food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/cellphones