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2. Do wireless phones pose a health hazard?
The available scientific evidence does not show that
any health problems are associated with using
wireless phones. There is no proof, however, that
wireless phones are absolutely safe. Wireless
phones emit low levels of radio frequency energy
(RF) in the microwave range while being used. They
also emit very low levels of RF when in the stand-by
mode. Whereas high levels of RF can produce
health effects (by heating tissue), exposure to low
level RF that does not produce heating effects
causes no known adverse health effects. Many
studies of low level RF exposures have not found
any biological effects. Some studies have suggested
that some biological effects may occur, but such
findings have not been confirmed by additional
research. In some cases, other researchers have
had difficulty in reproducing those studies, or in
determining the reasons for inconsistent results.
3. What is FDA's role concerning the safety of
wireless phones?
Under the law, FDA does not review the safety of
radiation-emitting consumer products such as
wireless phones before they can be sold, as it does
with new drugs or medical devices. However, the
agency has authority to take action if wireless
phones are shown to emit radio frequency energy
(RF) at a level that is hazardous to the user. In such
a case, FDA could require the manufacturers of
wireless phones to notify users of the health hazard
and to repair, replace or recall the phones so that
the hazard no longer exists.
Although the existing scientific data do not justify
FDA regulatory actions, FDA has urged the wireless
phone industry to take a number of steps, including
the following:
Support needed research into possible biological
effects of RF of the type emitted by wireless
Design wireless phones in a way that minimizes any
RF exposure to the user that is not necessary for
device function; and
Cooperate in providing users of wireless phones
with the best possible information on possible
effects of wireless phone use on human health
FDA belongs to an interagency working group of the
federal agencies that have responsibility for
different aspects of RF safety to ensure coordinated
efforts at the federal level. The following agencies
belong to this working group:
National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Environmental Protection Agency
Federal Communications Commission
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
National Telecommunications and Information
The National Institutes of Health participates in
some interagency working group activities, as well.
FDA shares regulatory responsibilities for wireless
phones with the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). All phones that are sold in the
United States must comply with FCC safety
guidelines that limit RF exposure. FCC relies on FDA
and other health agencies for safety questions
about wireless phones.


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