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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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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