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Phones

FCC to review mobile radiation stance

New standards could be put in place, if the FCC carries out its inquiry.

The FCC is to review its stance on whether there is any link at all between mobile phone use and brain tumours.

Chairman Julius Genachowski sent a proposal to fellow commissioners calling for a formal inquiry into the mobile emissions standards which were set in 1996, Reuters reports. A spokesman said the FCC still believes there is no link between mobile use and cancer, headaches, dizziness, or any other health problems. Presumably it just wants to be doubly sure, seeing as the number of mobile phones in use has skyrocketed over the last few years. It rests around 5 billion at the last count.

The FCC's five commissioners would need to approve the proposal before the agency could release it for public comment. If it was approved, the FCC would then consider changing its assessment methods, and investigate whether current standards are too lax or too strict. It's early days yet, and there's a possibility that nothing could come of it.

A big part of the concern is children's increased use of phones, and whether devices for kids should have different standards than for adults. So we could potentially see a range of handsets aimed at children.

Last year, the World Health Organisation listed mobile phone radiation as a possible carcinogen, putting it in the same category as lead, chloroform and coffee. It also said that further study into the matter was needed.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation -- the type emitted by mobiles -- causes cancer. Whereas ionizing radiation from the likes of X-rays are known carcinogens.

Last July a study showed children who used mobile phones weren't at any more risk of getting cancer than those who didn't. Cancer rates also haven't increased along with phone use, though because the mobile is a relatively modern innovation there have been no studies into the effects of long-term use.