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- Wireless Communications and Health
Do mobile phones pose a health hazard?
No, not in the view of scientific experts who review this issue on a continual basis. Their conclusions have been consistent over many years: the signals from wireless telephones, two-way radios or other wireless communications devices pose no known health risk.
What support does Motorola Mobility have for the position that these products are safe to use?
Research on the possible health effects of radio waves dates back more than 60 years. That substantial research and numerous evaluations by the world's leading scientific experts establish a sound basis for public confidence in the safety of these products. Motorola Mobility designs, builds and tests its mobile phones and other communications products to meet nationally and internationally recognized science-based safety standards that provide wide margins of protection against any known adverse effects from human exposure to radio waves.
What does the International Agency for Research on Cancer's classification of RF fields mean?
The IARC classification does not reflect new research or new findings. After its review of published data, IARC did not classify RF electromagnetic fields as carcinogenic (classification 1), or probably carcinogenic (classification 2A). Instead, IARC has concluded that such fields should be classified as possibly carcinogenic (classification 2B). Some other examples in this category include magnetic fields (extremely low frequency), coffee, pickled vegetables, engine exhaust and the pesticide DDT. IARC calls for more research in order to be able to make a better evaluation.
Commenting on the IARC announcement, Dr. Jack Rowley, Director for Research and Sustainability for the GSM Association (EU-based industry association) said:
“The IARC classification suggests that a hazard is possible but not likely. Put simply, this comprehensive scientific review identified some suggestive evidence in the human studies but no consistent support from animal and cell studies.”
A spokesperson for U.S.-based CTIA (The Wireless Telecommunications Association) noted:
"The IARC working group did not conduct any new research, but rather reviewed published studies. Based on previous assessments of the scientific evidence, the Federal Communications Commission has concluded that ‘[t]here’s no scientific evidence that proves that wireless phone usage can lead to cancer.’ The Food and Drug Administration has also stated that ‘[t]he weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems.’”
Motorola Mobility takes seriously the health of our employees and customers. All Motorola mobile phones comply with national and international safety guidelines for RF energy exposure. These standards provide wide margins of protection for users and the general public. IARC has called for additional research into the effects of long-term, heavy mobile phone use. If you have personal safety concerns pending the outcome of that research, IARC suggests you limit exposure by using hands-free or texting.
Additional information can be found in the following industry statements:
CTIA statement: http://ctia.org/media/press/body.cfm/prid/2083
GSMA statement: http://www.gsmworld.com/newsroom/press-releases/2011/6261.htm
MMF statement: http://www.mmfai.org/public/docs/eng/MMF_PR_310511_IARC.pdf
How do these standards work?
Scientists establish guidelines for safe human exposure to radio waves. They first identify an intensity level below which radio-frequency (RF) energy is not known to cause adverse health effects of any kind. Standard-setting bodies then set exposure limits far below this threshold – by an order of magnitude or more – as substantial margins of safety. These limits have the support of government agencies and international organizations around the world.
How does Motorola Mobility measure exposure to radio waves from mobile phones? What is SAR?
Motorola Mobility subjects all of its mobile products to laboratory testing that measures user exposure to radio waves. This is expressed in a term known as specific absorption rate, or SAR. Science-based safety standards establish SAR limits intended to keep exposures far below levels known to pose any health risks. In view of these large, built-in margins of protection, differences in SAR within accepted limits have no health implications. Information about SAR in general and the SARs of specific Motorola mobile phone products are available on this site.
How can I learn the SAR of my phone?
Motorola Mobility has a Web site for SAR information on its mobile phone products. For an explanation of SAR and Motorola's commitment to the provision of SAR information, see the SAR Information page on this site.
What specific studies prove that Motorola Mobility products are safe?
Evidence of safety is found in the substantial number of scientific studies, papers and expert reviews that underlie RF safety standards in place around the world. The online database maintained by the World Health Organization lists more than 1,800 peer-reviewed publications on possible RF bioeffects. An additional several hundred studies are ongoing or completed but not yet published. In recent years, new research has continued to strengthen the scientific basis for confidence in the safety of our products.
No single piece of research can definitively answer any scientific question. Conclusions must be drawn from the cumulative evidence in any given field. Scientific expert panels, standard-setting organizations and others have examined the extensive research in this area and have found no demonstrated risk from the use of wireless phones, two-way radios or other portable communications devices. At the same time, these expert reviews have recommended continued research to further strengthen the scientific basis for public health judgments and standards related to the safety of wireless communications.
Does Motorola Mobility support research on this issue?
Yes. Motorola Mobility has decades of experience in the design of RF devices and for more than 25 years has maintained an active program of in-house and sponsored independent research on the potential effects of RF energy. On its own and in cooperation with national and international organizations, Motorola Mobility has devoted considerable resources to this issue, with a constant emphasis on quality research and sound science.
In addition to its own research program, Motorola has supported independent research with other parties in Europe, the Asia/Pacific region and the United States. We have every reason to believe that additional research meeting accepted rules for scientific rigor will continue to strengthen the basis for confidence in the safety of wireless communications. For more information on research in this area, visit the online database maintained by the World Health Organization (WHO) and click on the "Project Database". For more information about Motorola-commissioned research, select "Motorola" under the "Funding Agency" category.
Can wireless phone use cause brain cancer?
For years, scientists have explored ways that radio waves might be involved in the initiation or promotion of cancer. Research has not established such a relationship or a mechanism to support the existence of one.
The recently published INTERPHONE study is the largest epidemiological study conducted on mobile phone use. The results were summarized in a statement by Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who stated, ”An increased risk of brain cancer is not established from the data from INTERPHONE. However, observations at the highest level of cumulative call time and the changing patterns of mobile phone use since the period studied by Interphone, particularly in young people, mean that further investigation of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk is merited.”
The unfortunate truth is that brain cancer occurs naturally – and often without ready explanation. In the United States, government authorities report an annual incidence of somewhat more than six new cases per 100,000 people. With more than 200 million wireless phone subscribers in the U.S., statistics alone suggest that more than 12,000 of those individuals could be expected to develop brain cancer in a given year. Though tragic, that possible statistical occurrence is not and cannot be related by sound science to the use of wireless phones. For a fuller explanation, see: "Cell Phones and Brain Tumors — A Neurosurgeon's Thoughts," by Theodore H. Schwartz M.D.
What has happened to the lawsuits alleging risks from mobile phones?
The lawsuit that first raised this issue was filed in 1992 against NEC and a U.S. service provider. It was dismissed in May 1995 for an absence of credible scientific evidence to support the claim of a causal relationship between brain cancer and wireless phone use. Other courts that have evaluated these claims have reached similar conclusions.
There are more than two billion wireless phone subscribers worldwide. Over time, a small number of lawsuits have questioned the safety of wireless phones. Some claimed actual health effects. The rest raised other legal issues. These cases gradually have been dismissed or withdrawn. No case has succeeded, though some await further consideration in U.S. courts.
Are mobile phone base stations safe?
Fixed transmission facilities are covered by exposure guidelines based on the same scientific knowledge as the limits applied to portable and mobile radio products. Because of their physical or operating characteristics, the transmission facilities used in wireless communications networks produce radio wave exposures that typically are hundreds and even many thousands of times below limits established for the general public. The World Health Organization (WHO) and numerous expert reviews around the world maintain that the exposures from these facilities are too low to pose any known health risk.
Do mobile phones or base stations pose special risks to children?
The safety of children is important to everyone. Motorola products adhere to internationally recognized science-based guidelines that take into account the welfare of all members of the population, including children. Many parents value wireless phones for the personal comfort afforded by being connected with members of their families. We believe they can continue to do so with confidence in the safety of these products. As stated by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Health Council of the Netherlands and others, there is no health-related reason to adopt special precautionary measures for usage by children. Parents should feel free to decide whether their family members should use mobile phones and, if so, on what terms.
Do technologies, such as WLAN (Wi-Fi), Bluetooth, Third Generation (3G), TETRA, GPRS or UMTS, pose any health concerns?
These “new technologies” are also covered by the same rigorous, science-based safety guidelines – incorporating substantial margins of protection for users and the public – as current technologies. Motorola Mobility tests all product models that send out radio waves in order to assure that they meet the RF emission safety limits adopted or recommended by regulatory agencies around the world. While tomorrow's products may differ from today's in some respects, they will continue to be designed, manufactured and tested by Motorola Mobility to meet all applicable safety guidelines based on this large and ever-growing body of scientific knowledge.
Do mobile phones interfere with heart pacemakers, hearing aids or other devices?
As documented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other expert sources, interference with medical devices can result from many everyday sources, including radio signals, power line disturbances, airport metal detectors, electromagnetic fields from other medical devices and electrostatic discharges. Assuring that potentially susceptible devices are designed and built to be compatible with radios and other everyday sources of electromagnetic energy best prevents interference.
Fortunately, this is a phenomenon that can be identified, managed and often prevented. This can be done through proper design, installation and operation of devices that may be exposed to emissions from electronic or electrical sources that may include but are not limited to radio products. In recent years, many medical device makers and hospitals have become more sensitive to this simple fact and have taken steps to enhance compatibility among electronic and electrical devices.
What advice does Motorola Mobility provide to consumers with pacemakers or hearing aids?
Laboratory and clinical tests have found a potential for some digital wireless phones to interfere under certain conditions with some pacemakers and some hearing aids. Users should consult any advice provided by the manufacturers of pacemakers or hearing aids. Often, there are steps users can take to minimize or prevent interference, such as keeping an operating phone six inches (15 cm) from an implanted pacemaker or adopting other measures to accommodate the use of hearing aids.
What has Motorola Mobility done to address the issue of interference?
Electromagnetic interference is well-understood, manageable and often preventable. This depends in large part on design, construction and installation guidelines for devices that might be susceptible to interference from radio signals or other sources of electromagnetic energy. Motorola Mobility supports national and international standards to promote electromagnetic compatibility. Such standards require medical devices and other products to have built-in minimum levels of immunity to potential interference.
Motorola has supported research and technical collaboration on possible interference issues, including those related to medical devices, hospital equipment and automotive components. We work with industry partners and others to promote the compatible operation of electrical and electronic devices.
Does the use of mobile phones pose a hazard in gas/petrol station?
Motorola and others, including petroleum industry organizations, have studied mobile phone use at gas/petrol stations at length. There has been no documented incident anywhere in the world where the use of a mobile phone or portable radio was found to cause a fire or explosion at a gasoline station. Additionally, there is no credible reason, based on technical evaluation, to believe that the use of these products poses any such hazard.
I switched from a land line to mobile phone use only. Is it safe to use my mobile phone this much?
Yes. The national and international guidelines for exposure to radio waves by consumers anticipate continuous exposure, so people can use mobile phones with confidence whether a call lasts two minutes, two hours or much more.
Is there a health risk if I use a wireless headset, a wired earbud, or wear mobile communications devices on my body?
No. All Motorola portable product models and their accessories, whether handheld or worn on the body or head, are evaluated to ensure that they meet the RF safety limits adopted or recommended by regulatory agencies around the world. Motorola recommends that portable products always be placed in or used with Motorola-supplied or approved accessories to ensure that safety guidelines are not exceeded.