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FAQs About Wireless Communication and Health

FAQs about Wireless Communication and Health

 




What support does Motorola Solutions have for the position that these products are safe to use?

Motorola Solutions is confident in the RF safety of the products we provide based on:

Science – There have been more than 60 years of research and thousands of published studies on RF energy exposure and health. The WHO states “scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals,” and concludes “…current evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences from exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.”

Standards – Recognized science-based standards have exposure limits that provide large margins of protection for workers and the public. Expert groups and health authorities around the world have regularly reviewed the research results and consistently agree that no proven evidence of adverse health effects at exposure levels below the internationally accepted limits of the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines and IEEE standards.

Stewardship– All Motorola Solutions wireless products are tested and certified compliant with the recognized, science-based standards and applicable regulations related to human exposure to RF energy, before they are shipped to the market. Motorola Solutions is committed to ensure that our wireless products and our workplaces are compliant with applicable standards and regulations and to communicate with our customers, employees and the public, key facts and information about the science, the standards and the compliance of our products. 

How do the standards work?

They establish guidelines for safe human exposure to radio waves. Scientists first identify an intensity level below which radiofrequency (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 Solutions measure exposure to radio waves from two-way radios, other wireless devices and base stations?

Motorola Solutions requires all of its portable radio products to pass laboratory testing that measures anticipated user exposure to radio waves. For portable devices used near the body, this is expressed in a term known as specific absorption rate (SAR) which is the rate of RF energy absorption in tissues. For exposure to base stations or an antenna site at a far distance, power density in air is used to set the limit. Science-based exposure standards establish SAR and power density limits intended to keep exposures far below levels known to pose any adverse health effects. In view of these large, built-in margins of protection, differences in SAR or power density within accepted limits have no health implications.

What specific studies prove that Motorola products are safe?

A large number of expert scientific reviews have concluded that no adverse health effects have been confirmed below the current international RF exposure guidelines and standards (ICNIRP and IEEE). The online database maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers lists more than 2,600 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 support research on this issue?

Yes. Motorola, Inc. previously funded or jointly sponsored independent research concerning RF energy in many countries, including Canada, China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union. The scientific knowledge in this area is substantial and has grown significantly in recent years. Today, Motorola Solutions continues to sponsor independent studies through the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) to increase scientific knowledge about the safety of RF energy. Motorola Solutions believes that additional research that meets accepted rules for scientific rigor and quality 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 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and click on the "Project Database". For more information about Motorola-commissioned research, select "Motorola" under the "Funding Agency" category.

Can wireless device 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 unfortunate truth is that brain cancer occurs naturally – and often without ready explanation. Though tragic, the statistical occurrence of brain cancer is not and cannot be related by sound science to the use of wireless products. In fact, the brain cancer occurrence rate in the US and Scandinavian countries actually showed no obvious change or a slight decrease during the last 30 years.

What do the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization EMF Project say about RF energy?

Based on an ad hoc committee evaluation, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields, which are emitted by mobile phones, wireless devices, radars, and radio and television broadcasts, as possibly carcinogenic to humans (classification 2B). Following the May 2011 IARC announcement of the classification, the World Health Organization EMF Project, which is specialized in EMF safety issues, posted a fact sheet (#193) on the safety of mobile phones. In this document, under the question “Are there any health effects?”, WHO says: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.” They also indicate: “While an increased risk of brain tumors is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk.”  Research into RF energy effects stretches back about 60 years. Expert groups and health authorities around the world who have regularly reviewed RF electromagnetic fields consistently agree that there is no proven evidence of adverse health effects at exposure levels below the internationally accepted limits. In a recent review paper from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, it concluded “Although there remains some uncertainty, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile phone use can cause brain tumours in adults.”

Are base stations and other radio transmission sites safe?

Stationary and mobile 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 (for example, because they are not located next to people), 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 adverse health effects.

Do wireless devices or base stations pose special risks to children?

The safety of children is important to everyone. Motorola Solutions products adhere to internationally recognized science-based guidelines that take into account the welfare of all members of the population, including children. The World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Health Council of the Netherlands and others, have found no health-related reason to adopt special precautionary measures for children’s use or exposure to wireless devices or base stations.

Do wireless devices interfere with heart pacemakers, hearing aids or other medical devices?

As noted 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.

It is recommended that persons with pacemakers, hearing aids or other medical devices review all advice provided by, and consult with, the manufacturers of their devices concerning the use of wireless devices. Often, there are steps users can take to minimize or prevent any potential interference.

Do technologies, such as TETRA, GPRS or UMTS, pose any health concerns?

These “new technologies” are also covered by the same rigorous, science-based exposure guidelines – incorporating substantial margins of protection for users and the public – as current technologies. Motorola Solutions tests all product models that send out radio waves in order to assure that they comply with the RF exposure limits adopted or recommended by regulatory agencies around the world. While tomorrow's products may differ from today's products in some respects, they will continue to be designed, manufactured and tested by Motorola Solutions using methods specified in international assessment standards to meet all applicable human exposure guidelines based on the large and ever-growing body of scientific knowledge.

What has Motorola Solutions done to address the issue of interference?

Motorola Solutions 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.

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 Solutions 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.

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 Solutions portable product models and their accessories, whether handheld or worn on the body or head, are evaluated to ensure that they meet the RF exposure limits adopted or recommended by regulatory agencies around the world. Motorola Solutions recommends that portable products always be placed in or used with Motorola Solutions-supplied or approved accessories to ensure compliance with exposure guidelines.

What research has Motorola Solutions funded on this topic?

Motorola, Inc. previously funded or jointly sponsored independent research concerning RF energy in many countries, including Canada, China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and the European Union. The scientific knowledge in this area is substantial and has grown significantly in recent years. Today, Motorola Solutions continues to sponsor independent studies through the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) to increase scientific knowledge about the safety of RF energy.

Research of wireless technologies is likely to continue as expert health agencies such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and national health agencies conduct ongoing evaluations of the latest research. Occasionally, studies produce results that are inconsistent with previous research. Such findings may warrant further research to determine their validity and significance. However, no single study can answer any scientific question, and no study should be viewed in isolation. The online database maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers lists more than 2,600 peer-reviewed publications on possible RF bioeffects. Public health assessments, like those conducted by ICNIRP, depend on comprehensive evaluations that consider all relevant research. These experts continue to reach a common conclusion: RF exposure within established guidelines poses no known adverse health effects.