U.S. Congress to consider bill requiring cell phone radiation labeling

Meanwhile, Austrian researchers point to link between mobile phone use and tinnitus

1 min read
U.S. Congress to consider bill requiring cell phone radiation labeling

Last month, San Francisco’s city council established a law requiring that cell phone retailers prominently display the Specific Absorption Rate—SAR—of the various models on sale. This number, which ranges from 0.2 to 1.6 watts per kilogram, measures how much of the microwave radiation emitted from a cell phone penetrates human tissue. The cell phone industry was outraged.

But over in Congress, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) seems to think it was a good idea. On 30 June he announced his intent to introduce a bill making an SAR labeling law national. In addition, the bill will, if passed, create a new national research program to study cell phones and health.

“Some studies find links. Some don’t. But studies funded by the telecommunications industry are significantly less likely to find a link between cell phones and health effects. We need a first class reserch program to give us answers,” Kucinich said.

Meanwhile, he indicated, “a labeling law will ensure that cell phone users can decide for themselves the level of risk that they will accept.”

Also in late June, researchers in Austria released the results of a study that found that the risk of tinnitus—ringing in the ears—doubled after four years of cell phone use. The study, from the Institute of Environmental Health at the Medical University of Vienna, found that the risk is higher on the ear in which the phone is used. Researchers said that the link between mobile phone use and tinnitus is plausible, given that the inner ear is in the path where much of the cell phone radiation is absorbed, but didn’t discount other possible factors, such as blood flow constraint because of the way the phone is held.

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The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

13 min read
Photo: George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

We've all been told that 5G wireless is going to deliver amazing capabilities and services. But it won't come cheap. When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. That enormous expense will be borne mostly by network operators, companies like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and dozens more around the world that provide cellular service to their customers. Facing such an immense cost, these operators asked a very reasonable question: How can we make this cheaper and more flexible?

Their answer: Make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices. At the same time, they sparked a schism within the industry over how wireless networks should be built. Their opponents—and sometimes begrudging partners—are the handful of telecom-equipment vendors capable of providing the hardware the network operators have been buying and deploying for years.

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